Choosing a Dog: What’s Best For You?
So you want to get a dog!
That’s amazing, and having a bundle of fun, and new best friend running around the house can be rewarding, exciting and life changing! But before you start searching for the perfect puppy, there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration.
Before you make that final decision, it’s important to do your research, and make sure you’re ready for a puppy pal by asking yourself the following questions:
Are You Prepared For A Long Term Commitment?
Dog ownership can be very rewarding and whilst puppies are very cute, they do grow up into larger dogs, who need your love, care and commitment for years to come.
Depending on the breed, dogs can live for 10 years or more, so you need to be comfortable welcoming them into your home and family for the long term!
Do You Have the Right Environment?
Make sure you choose a dog that will fit in with your lifestyle and your living environment.
Some dog breeds are known to be placid, and should fit in well with children and visitors, but other breeds might be a little more nervous!
It’s important to consider space when choosing a breed. If you live in a small flat, it would be unfair to you and your new pooch if you chose a larger breed - you would both quickly feel claustrophobic and your dog would have no space to call its own! Be sure to consider how large your dog will be once they are full grown, and whether you have the space to accommodate them. If you have other pets already, be sure that everyone will have enough space of their own!
Does A Dog Suit Your Lifestyle?
Are you very active and do lots socialising, or travel away from home? Can your dog accompany you? Or will they often be left home alone for long periods of time?
It’s important to balance your dog’s requirements with your own - and those of other members of the family. Some breeds like their own company more than others, so don’t just choose a dog because it’s a cute puppy. Make sure you choose a breed that will fit with your lifestyle and your activity levels - and still be prepared to give your pet regular exercise, lots of love and plenty of attention according to their requirements.
You’ll also need to consider how a dog may affect your home. Are you ready to clean up after your pooch if they have the occasional accident - or shed lots of hair? Some dogs will shed a lot of hair, some will shed no hair at all - but all dogs will need you to be there to clean up after them in one way or another!
Do You Have the Time to Dedicate to Your Dog?
All dogs need mental stimulation, whether it is taking them for a long walk, throwing a ball for them or playing with toys. So you must ensure you have time to dedicate to your pooch, particularly when they are puppies! When your dog gets older, you may find that they slow down - and may not need such long walks, but they will still require your time and attention in other ways!
Puppies especially need time for training and mental activity so be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to them, particularly when they are very young. Put in the time at the beginning and you will reap the benefits by having a well behaved, happy pooch for life!
Have You Considered the Financial Side?
Dogs do cost time and money! Apart from food, you must be prepared for vets bills for regular health checks; they will also need items like bowls, toys, treats, beds or crates. Research here is important - some breeds will also need regular grooming to keep them healthy, or they may be prone to disorders that can have financial implications in the future.
You should also think about taking out pet insurance to guard against future vet bills!
Which Breed Of Dog Is Best?
If you think a dog fits your lifestyle, and you’ve considered if you can provide the right care and environment for them, think about which breed may be best.
All dogs are different and all have different personalities! Often, a rescue dog can be a fantastic choice - providing a dog in need with a loving home. You may want to consider that different dog breeds have differing health concerns - and some pure breeds suffer with very specific health complaints. If this is a concern for you, a mixed breed dog may be a healthier dog to choose.
If you are buying from a breeder, always check out the condition and health of the parent pooches and ask lots of questions about their background and how many litters they have had.
You should also be prepared that the breeder might reject you as an owner! A good breeder will want to be absolutely sure that their pups are going to the perfect home, so make sure you’ve considered all the options and can meet the requirements!
Remember, just like humans, dogs are all individuals. Although you may choose a pooch because their breed has certain traits, this is not guaranteed! However, dogs are very adaptable creatures and if you look after them well, give them lots of love and attention, you will quickly reap the benefits back - they will soon become a very important member of your family!
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