What type of dog should I buy ?
a new puppy or adult dog is a serious business and, to quote the National
Canine Defence League in the UK " A dog is for LIFE not just for
Christmas". So, the first thing to do is to satisfy yourself that you
really do want a dog, and that you are willing and able to look after it
properly for the duration of it's life (10 years plus ! - where will you be in
10 years time ?). AND, of course, you will have to look after your companion
through sickness as well as in health ! Preventive medicine such as
vaccinations, worming and flea control is not cheap and veterinary bills in
times of illness can make a significant hole in a families budget.
you take the plunge and commit to a new puppy or adult dog you must be
sure that your lifestyle allows you to meet your pet's requirements . Consider
the following :
- Are you (or one of your family) available every
day to feed, water and exercise your new family member ? Remember
large working dogs are healthier if they get a substantial amount of
exercise every day !
- Can you afford to feed your new companion ?
Large and giant breeds of dog eat a lot more food than small and toy
- Dogs need companionship. Are you out at
work all day ? If so what happens to your dog ? Will it be happy living
alone - or will it be stressed and develop abnormal behaviour patterns ?
Many dogs kept at home alone bark all day from the time their owner leaves
home in the morning until they return in the evening. Others
literally destroy the home by chewing up furniture. Medication is
available to treat these problems now, but is it fair to keep dogs like
- How often do you go away for
weekends/holidays/on business ? Who will look after your dog when you are
away. Can you afford to pay for boarding kennels ?
- Can you afford to protect your new dog from
common diseases through regular vaccinations,
and flea control
- Could you afford unexpected veterinary fees
if your pet is suddenly taken ill , or involved in a road traffic accident
- Can you afford Pet
Insurance to offset the majority of
the costs if your pet is ill or involved in an accident ?
- Remember, you and your young family may be
keen to get a puppy now, and make promises to share looking after it,
....but how long will it be before the novelty wears off and the computer
games take priority again ?
new pet will have various needs that must be met. Are you sure that you can provide
- Food - fresh, every day. Costs money. Large
and Giant dogs cost a lot more to feed than small toy breeds.
- Water - drinking water should be provided
fresh every day.
- Warm dry environment with shelter from the
- Access to dog toilet areas. It is no longer
socially acceptable for owners to allow their dogs to defaecate on
pavements or other public areas - particularly children's play areas
because of the unpleasantness of accidental contact with faeces - but also
because of the potential risk of transmission of disease from dogs to
people (see Zoonoses).
If you live in an urban area and have to allow your dog to defaecate in
public make sure that you clear up the mess after you. Most authorities
now provide strategically placed special bins for the disposal of pet
waste, in areas approved for exercising dogs .
- Regular exercise. Whilst some dogs are kept
indoors for most of their lives, most dogs do benefit from exercise and
should be exercised daily.
- Dogs with long coats need regular grooming
and coat care eg shampooing
- All dogs need regular cleaning after
soiling in mud and other smelly concoctions !
- Your pet should be protected by annual vaccinations,
twice yearly worming
costs and regular flea
- Your pet will need veterinary treatment
when it is ill.
- Some dogs will require special training -
are you prepared for it ?