If you are thinking of getting a new puppy or dog there are lots of important things to consider as getting a new pet is a huge responsibility. Our guide will help you make the right decision for your family.
Dogs require a significant amount of care, time and investment, with puppies requiring even more time and investment than an adult dog. They need almost constant supervision, interaction and feeding – it’s a lot like having a baby!
While having a puppy or dog can be a great and rewarding experience it is important to make sure you have plenty of quality time to spend with them to ensure they stay happy and healthy. Use our checklist to see if your lifestyle will fit with having a dog.
- Do I have the time to:
- Walk my dog twice a day? Most dogs will require over an hour of exercise daily
- Go to puppy training classes? For basic obedience and socialisation
- Train at home? Toilet training and basic tricks
- Socialise my dog? Exposure to new objects and situations is very important
- Play with my dog? Suitable play to expel energy and interact with family members
- Do I have the money to:
- Feed a good quality diet?
- Cover routine vet costs including vaccination, flea and worm treatment, neutering?
- Cover unexpected vet bills? – pets can get ill or have accidents that may require veterinary treatment
- Do I have the ability to:
- Provide a suitable environment for my dog including bedding and a safe area?
- Provide suitable interactions with people and other animals?
- Teach my children how to interact safely with my dog?
- Be with my dog for the majority of the day? Dogs shouldn’t spend more than 4 hours on their own
Some of the initial items your pet will likely require are:
- Food and water bowls
- Bed and blankets
- Collar and lead
- Identification tag
- Training aids
- These are also some common conditions seen at vets that your pet may develop as they get older:
- Ear infections
- Skin allergies
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Anal gland problems
- Heart problems
- It is always recommended to insure your pet so they are covered for accidents and illnesses.
If you do decide to get a puppy or dog there are a few important things to consider:
- Research the breed – different breeds have different energy levels, motivations and characteristics that may not suit everyone! It is important to pick the right breed for you and your family
- Research the breeder – while some breeders are responsible there are many questionable people supplying puppies from puppy farms either in this country or abroad. These puppies tend to be transferred to a “home” environment when they are ready to be sold – if there is no sign of mum or dad then think twice about buying
- Think about rescue! – There are thousands of dogs and puppies in rescue centres desperately in need of homes. Adult dogs are often already trained making life a bit easier
- If you do plan to buy a puppy from a breeder then we would recommend using the RSPCA’s puppy contract – this requires the breeder to fill out detailed information about the puppy including details of mum and dad
- Dog’s Trust and RSPCA as well as many other animal charities have numerous resources to help you make the decision about getting a pet.
Feel free to come to talk to us before getting a pet and we can advise on the best option for you and family.
Some useful links:
Choosing a puppy – RSPCA puppy contract – Basic needs of dogs – Socialising your puppy – Information on puppy farming