Getting a pet during the holidays is often a polarising discussion, so it’s hard to get a grip on the pros and cons. If you’re about to dash out and get a pet, do consider if you’re ready.

1 A pet is a burden. Having a dog is like having a toddler – for 16 to 20 years. It means being home every day, vet bills at least twice a year, and an extra food budget. Want to go on holiday? You have to board your pet – and it can cost a bomb. Also, you have to walk a dog twice a day at least, rain or shine, and even when you are sick.

If you’re thinking, “Ouch”, then don’t get a pet.

OK, still interested?

2 Do you offer a stable home life? As a dog “owner”, you may think your pet follows you, but actually, you have to think of your pet’s needs because you are a pet “parent”. That means you can’t move into a condo that bans dogs, or move to an exotic country for work without having to do miles of paperwork and forking out tonnes of cash.

Not planning any major life changes? OK, then think about this …

3 It takes time to bond. If you’re having a really busy holiday, you may not have time for a new pet – especially if you have a shy pup. But if you’re planning to spend a few weeks at home quietly, then it may be an ideal time. However, do think: when you go back to work, will your pet be alone? Dogs are social so being alone is heartbreaking. If you don’t have anyone in the house, consider adopting two dogs.

And finally, if you have any doubts at all, then wait. You don’t want to be one of those people at the shelter in January dumping a loving pet because, “I can’t cope.” Really, that does nobody any good, least of all the dog.

Still want one? Shelters are full of puppies of all ages and sizes. Go and adopt one. Or two, if you can afford it. Because every puppy deserves a loving forever home.