Are you a dog lover thinking about becoming an owner?
Here’s a checklist from veterinary professionals David Cuffe & Associates on what to think about before getting a dog of your own.
Dogs add an extra dimension to people’s lives and having a doggy companion is a true pleasure; however there is lots to consider before committing to getting a dog of your own. For total doggy and human happiness, it’s important to talk to your local vet and carefully consider a variety of factors.
- You’ll need a secure garden with free access. If this isn’t possible, then regular trips outside are necessary, preferably to somewhere that has grass.
- When your dog will be home alone, you need to decide whether they’ll be kept inside or outside. If it’s the latter, will your neighbours mind if your dog barks and will there be comfortable shelter?
- Many dogs learn to cope with being home alone, but research suggests that these dogs are more likely to develop ‘bad habits’ or stress/anxiety related disorders.
- While some breeds may require or tolerate less exercise than others, it is absolutely vital that every dog is taken out every day to keep them happy. The mental stimulation is essential for your dog.
- One-off costs: the purchase or adoption of a puppy or adult dog, microchipping and neutering.
- Ongoing costs: food, flea and worm treatment, vet bills, annual vaccinations, insurance, grooming, pet passports if you travel abroad, Kennel Club registration for a pedigree and training sessions.
- Accessory costs: collars, leads, shampoo, brushes, comfortable bedding, feeding bowls, poo bags - the list goes on!
- Be sure to choose a breed with temperament and exercise requirements that fit your lifestyle. Base your decision on how much time you have and whether you live in the country or city. Sporting and working breeds, such as gun dogs, farm dogs, hounds, etc, require a lot more exercise and stimulation than others. Similarly, a smaller breed is not going to be the pawfect running partner.
- Read through BorrowMyDoggy's guide to dog breeds to see what would suit you and your lifestyle.
- If you have children, choose a breed that’s patient and even tempered.
- Consider your own experience with dogs as some are more responsive or easier to train than others.
- Look back at what a breed was originally bred for. For example, a Border Collie was bred to run around the farm all day and Beagles were born to sniff.
- Size matters, so consider how much space your home and car has, along with your handling skills, before committing to a dog. Larger breeds tend to be more expensive to house, feed, insure and care for medically, so be sure to budget for this.
- Think about their coat - would you prefer a dog with a non shedding coat that requires regular grooming and clipping or do you prefer a shorter, more easy care coat that sheds naturally.
- Research common maladies that can affect certain breeds so you’re aware of what to watch out for.
- Insurance companies often won’t provide cover for specific physical ailments that are common within certain pedigree breeds (for example, hip dysplasia in an Alsatian or soft palate surgery in a brachycephalic breed). Crossbred dogs are more likely to receive broader policy cover so this is also something to consider.
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