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Should you get a dog for Christmas?

Should you get a dog for Christmas?

December 12, 2017

The Council’s Enforcement Officers would like to urge people who are thinking about buying a puppy or dog as a Christmas gift, to stop and think before doing anything.

Joanne MacAskill, Senior Enforcement Officer, said: "The Christmas period is often an unsettling time in the home and is not ideally suited to introducing any new pet to a family.  I would encourage everyone to think carefully before giving a dog a home at Christmas as sadly we often find dogs are abandoned after the first few weeks or months in a new home.”

If you are absolutely sure that your family is ready to take on a dog the Council’s Enforcement officers would ask that everyone consider the following points:

  • Where do you live?
  • How large is your garden?
  • Do you have children?
  • Are you at home during the day?
  • Will you walk your dog?
  • Can you afford it?
  • Tips for Caring for your Dog

“With a pet come responsibilities” says Joanne “Every animal should be provided with a constant access to clean fresh water; a regular supply of good wholesome food, a clean sleeping area and freedom to move around their own property as much as possible. Depending on the dog’s breed it should receive between 30 to 60 minutes exercise every day. If it becomes stressed it will behave in a way to attract human attention, for example barking, biting, chewing, chasing, digging and forgetting its house training.  These behavioural signs are an indication that a dog is not at ease with its environment,” she concluded.

If after reading the above information you still plan to buy a dog as a Christmas present please:

Don't make it a surprise gift - Talk to the recipient and find out if they're ready to commit as much as 15 years of their life to caring for a new family member.  If your children are asking for a puppy, consider yourself as the dog owner, not the children.
Let the recipient select the dog - Don't take a chance on picking out a dog you think he or she would like.  Even if you know the breed of dog they want, you still can't determine which particular dog they feel something special with
Take them to the dog pound - Instead of buying a puppy, adopt a homeless dog.

Alderman Tommy Jeffers, Chairman of the Council’s Environmental Services Committee added: “The Council’s Dog Pound is a temporary home for stray or abandoned dogs.  It frequently has both unwanted pedigree dogs as well as lovable mixed breeds so you don’t have to pay hundreds of pounds for a pedigree pooch.  There are also a number of older and mature dogs that may be easier to settle instead of introducing a new puppy into your home; the Council has plenty of options available for the public.  Please contact the Dog Pound if considering a pup or dog to see which dogs are looking for a new home.”

Such dogs can be viewed when visiting our dog pound at Altona Industrial Estate, Hillsborough Old Road, Lisburn.  It is open between 12:30pm and 2:30pm Monday to Friday or dogs can be viewed between 9.30am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday by prior appointment with the Enforcement Officers.  We always have dogs that desperately want a good home.

If you believe you can care for a dog remember to buy a dog licence.  This is your first step to being a responsible dog-owner.  A licence costs only £12.50.  Residents within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area can now apply for a dog licence online at