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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.

Key things to consider before adopting or buying  a dog at home by Perfect Fit


Buying a dog from someone privately

There are also many individual people that raise pets privately. They may not deal specifically with one breed, but this can be a great option if you can adopt from a person you know. Perhaps you even already know the dog and feel that he would be a welcome addition to your family. Knowing your dog’s prior history can make it easier to transition him into a new environment.

If you’re buying privately from a person you don’t know, the important thing is to visit and spend time with the dog prior to taking him home, to get to know him. Try to find out as much as you can about him and his history.

In any case, regardless of his history or current situation, if you adopt a puppy that is less than 16 weeks old, there is plenty of time for him to learn to socialise and adapt to a new home.

Wherever you go to find your new dog, remember that pet ownership is primarily about companionship and love. If you come across a puppy or dog that seems like a good match for you, and that you love straight away, he’s probably the one for you!

Documents to ask for

Whatever choice you make it’s important to gather some important documentation about your dog from his previous owner. Such as:

  • An invoice or record of the change of ownership, this may be required for registering your pet’s identity
  • His original microchip or electronic identification card
  • A veterinary certificate, or pet passport, prior to transfer
  • His birth certificate (and if he is a pure-breed dog, formal breed documentation, or the final pedigree certificate if he is a confirmed pure-breed adult dog).
  • The basic information on your dog and any of his specific needs or preferences.

Also, ask for some of the food he has been eating. Feeding him familiar food in the early stages can help ease him through the transition into a new home. 

How to be a responsible dog owner

Once you have chosen your new dog and brought him home there are a few simple steps to take to help with him transition and to ensure he has a long happy life with you. For more information on this important moment in your dog’s life please see our article “Bringing a new dog home”.

There is also excellent specific information on other parts of dog ownership on our site, such as our articles on the benefits of sharing your life with a dog and how much exercise your dog will need. The more you learn about dog ownership, the more rewarding your connection will be, and the more joy he will bring to your family.

Man’s best friend

The moment you invite a dog into your life something wonderful happens. Dogs love to be with humans and have been our loyal companions for thousands of years. No matter what sort of day you’ve had they will greet you with a wag of their tail and an eagerness to get outside and be together. Dog ownership has also been shown to help with stress reduction, socio-emotional and cognitive development in children, and general well-being.

Once you have decided it’s time to experience the joy of dog ownership, the next decision is where to find your dog. Learn as much as you can about the different choices in your area and what sort of dog would be best for you and your family. Once you have made that decision, enjoy your dog and your life together. They truly are man’s best friend!



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