What type of dog should I buy ?


Buying 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. 

Before 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 :

Your Lifestyle

  1. 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 !
  2. Can you afford to feed your new companion ? Large and giant breeds of dog eat a lot more food than small and toy breeds !
  3. 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 this ?
  4. 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 ?
  5. Can you afford to protect your new dog from common diseases through regular vaccinations, worming and flea control
  6. Could you afford unexpected veterinary fees if your pet is suddenly taken ill , or involved in a road traffic accident ?
  7. Can you afford Pet Insurance to offset the majority of the costs if your pet is ill or involved in an accident ?
  8. 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 ?

Animals Needs

Your new pet will have various needs that must be met. Are you sure that you can provide them ?

  1. Food - fresh, every day. Costs money. Large and Giant dogs cost a lot more to feed than small toy breeds.
  2. Water - drinking water should be provided fresh every day.
  3. Warm dry environment with shelter from the weather
  4. 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 .
  5. Regular exercise. Whilst some dogs are kept indoors for most of their lives, most dogs do benefit from exercise and should be exercised daily.
  6. Dogs with long coats need regular grooming and coat care eg shampooing
  7. All dogs need regular cleaning after soiling in mud and other smelly concoctions !
  8. Your pet should be protected by annual vaccinations,  twice yearly worming costs and regular flea treatment
  9. Your pet will need veterinary treatment when it is ill.
  10. Some dogs will require special training - are you prepared for it ?

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