Is Madonna’s New Birthday Gift a Responsible Idea?

by Patrick Mahaney on November 10, 2015

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on as Is Madonna’s New Birthday Gift a Responsible Idea?

madonna-birthday-gift-dog.lgAs a fellow Leo and admirer of her ability to continually intrigue her fan base over the decades, I have to give Madonna a belated 57th birthday shout out.

This year, she received a new dog for her birthday. Gypsy Rosa Lee, a French Bulldog like Madonna’s other pooch Olga, joined the Ciccone family fold at the Material Girl’s gypsy-themed birthday bash. Madonna took to Instragram to share an interestingly blurred photo of her cuddling Gypsy with the caption “Gypsy Rosa Lee……… birthday present ever!” The photo has been liked 87,000 times so far and Gypsy is rising the proverbial ranks of canine celebrity on Instagram.

Apparently pooped from her busy schedule, Gypsy was also snapped napping in a belly-bearing shot and shared by Madonna with the caption, “Power nap!! #gypsyrosalee #unapologeticdog.”

Although it’s nice to see Madonna enjoying her new canine companion, giving a dog as a surprise birthday gift isn’t always a responsible or appropriate plan. Providing care for another being isn’t suited to everyone’s abilities or desires.

Choosing to incorporate a pet into your household is an undertaking equivalent to caretaking for a human child—one that is stuck in a permanent adolescent state. The decision is never one that should be made spontaneously or simply because “that dog is so cute.” Pet ownership is a serious emotional, financial and time commitment that is not suited for all people’s lifestyle or budget. Here are a few things that potential dog owners must consider before deciding on a dog that will be incorporated into a forever home:

Large versus small: In my veterinary practice, I observe a trend of ailments relating to the size of a dog and how that size correlates with his lifestyle. Large dogs tend to be more affected by conditions of their musculoskeletal system (ligaments, tendons, joints, bones, etc.), like hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis and traumatic ligament (cruciate, etc.) tears. Large dog households that have slippery surfaces or many stairs to climb ultimately become detrimental to better health due to the physical demands placed on the body. Smaller dogs are more prone to periodontal disease, endocrine disorders (Cushing’s disease, diabetes), eye diseases (glaucoma, cataract, etc. and others).  Small dogs are easier to pick up and help transport if they have compromised mobility or aren’t as nimble due to advanced age.

Pure versus mixed breed: Mutts generally have the reputation for being healthier than purebred dogs. Yet any dog, regardless of pure or mixed breeding, can be less than ideally healthy as a result of genetics or lifestyle influences including their nutrition, stress, infectious organisms or lack of veterinary care. With pure breed dogs, owners have the benefit in being aware of specific health conditions that are known to occur based on the observations of years of breed-specific mating.  For example, the West Highland White Terrier is known to develop copper storage abnormalities (liver disease) and the Doberman Pinscher commonly develops a liver disease called chronic active hepatitis.

Mixed breed dogs are really a grab bag of two or more pure or mixed breeds contributing to a unique genetic concoction and are thereby less likely to have a breed-specific ailment. Mixed breed dogs are also more plentiful in the shelter system, so adopting one helps save a life and sends the message that pure breed dog ownership isn’t a necessity to have a great canine companion.

Shedding versus non-shedding: All pets shed skin cells (dander) and hair, but some do so more than others.A non-shedding dog will leave less hair around your home and car, but he’ll require more frequent grooming. Non-shedders can be considered hypoallergenic (“less allergenic”), but they still accumulate environmental allergens and debris on their coat and can elicit an allergic response in a person or another pet having environmental allergies.Examples of non-shedding dogs include Poodles and Poodle-hybrids (like Goldendoodles and Labradoodles), Bicon Frises, Welsh Terriers and others. Shedding breeds include Madonna’s French Bulldog, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Rottweiler.

Active versus less active: Some dogs have a significant need for daily exercise to keep them mentally and physically fit, while others are more suited to casual walks around the neighborhood and lounging on the dog bed.Active dogs like Border Collies, Weimaraners, Viszlas and Jack Russell Terriers require more time and effort on behalf of the owner. If you live just inside a high-rise apartment and don’t have a backyard where a Border Collie can manage his imaginary or real-life flock, then this breed is really not for you.Less active breeds like English Bulldogs and Pugs require less of the owner’s time and effort to their energy needs and are suited for a calmer lifestyle and close-quartered urban dwelling.

There are many more considerations that should be evaluated before a dog is brought home, including:

- Your financial ability to provide veterinary medical care, food and travel or boarding expenses.

- Your job security, as without the ability to pay for your dog’s needs you become a much less-fit pet owner.

- Your tendency to travel either professionally or personally. People who spend much of their time on the road either need to have a responsible family member or friend to watch their pooch or much pay for a caretaking service.

As Madonna comes across as a true dog-lover from her affectionate posts of Olga and she’s financially well-off enough to pay for sufficient care for both Olga and Gypsy, I feel she’s suited to receive the gift of a new pooch for her birthday. Happy belated birthday Madonna!

Image: Liliya Kulianionak via Shutterstock

Thank you for reading this article.  Your constructive comments are welcome (although I may not respond).
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Copyright of this article (2015) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format
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