Looking for a new dog, where to start?
Dogs have been loyal companions to mankind for thousands of years. They are generally friendly, enthusiastic and loving, and most dog owners think of their dog not as a pet, but as true member of their family. There’s a reason they are considered to be man’s best friend!
But before you go out to find a dog to bring into your home, let’s look at a few key things to consider first.
A few things to consider before welcoming a dog into your home
Inviting any pet into your home is a decision that should be made by everyone in the family. You all need to live together in harmony, so it’s important that everyone is aware of the responsibilities of pet ownership and happy to welcome a new family member into your home.
Dogs can live for more than 13 years, so choosing to bring a dog into your life should never be an impulse decision. It’s a long-term commitment that should be carefully considered and discussed. Keep in mind; even if your kids are begging you for a pet, it’s probably going to be you that ends up taking the bulk of responsibility for its care.
Before you welcome a dog into your home, you should also consider:
- Your home: dogs need space to run and play and explore. Space limitations, both indoor and outdoor, need to be considered when choosing between a small, medium or large dog. Remember: small size doesn't necessarily mean low-level energy expenditure!
- Your time: at the very least, dogs need a few walks a day for exercise and to go to the toilet. Time spent together is also important for their education, mental stimulation, and for developing your bond. The more quality time you spend together, the closer you’ll be.
- Your budget: every dog requires veterinary care and will have basic needs such as feeding, vaccinations, parasite prevention treatments, playing with toys, grooming etc. Make sure to include these expenses in your family budget to ensure your dog’s lifelong health and happiness.
- The best fit: there are many different dog breeds, all with their own unique traits. There are also other factors to consider, like age, sex and personality. Do some research and work out the best fit for your family and household.
Once you have discussed all these factors with your family, and everyone is excited to welcome a new family member into your home, where do you start? Where’s the best place to find your new dog?
Buying a dog from a reputable breeder
Reputable, professional breeders guarantee the origins of their dogs. They will often deal with one particular breed such as Labradors, German Shepherds, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Malteses and Australian Shepherd Dogs. Generally, dogs from reputable breeders will have been screened for genetic issues, and you know you are dealing with a professional whose business is based on caring for and respecting the long term health of their dogs.
Trusted breeders will be able to discuss the responsibilities of dog ownership with you in advance, and help you decide if their particular breed would be a good fit for your family and household. You are able to visit and inspect puppies with their mother, prior to taking them home, and the breeder will be there for advice and follow-up once you have brought your new dog home.
For more information about breeders in your area, visit your local and national dog breeder’s association website.
Adopting from an animal rescue association
Adopting a dog from an animal rescue association or charity is the ultimate good pet deed.
There is usually a wide variety of choice of dogs – different breeds and ages and personalities – and rescue volunteers know their animals well, they will be able to advise you on a dog that’s a good fit for your family.
Dogs from animal associations may have generally been vaccinated, neutered and checked out by a vet.