guide to choosing the best pet dog or puppy for you and your family.
you are already a dog owner or have owned a dog before,
your choice will be made easier. If you are thinking of buying
your first pet dog or a breed new to you there are many factors
to take into consideration before choosing
Choosing your pet - which dog type would suit your lifestyle best?
Probably the first decision to make, is whether you want
a Pedigree or Cross Breed dog.
Choosing a pedigree dog will make some of your other decisions
easier, especially if you intend buying a puppy.
Pedigree dogs will have a "history" this helps ascertain
many of the basics :- what they will look like, what their temperamant
might be like, how active the breed is and if you buy the dog
from a breeder you will most likely be able to see the parents,
a good indication of what to expect.
If you choose to buy a cross breed or mongrel it usually means
that many of the characteristics and temperament are less certain
and if buying a puppy what you can expect becomes even more
difficult to judge, even the size of the adult dog will be a
guess, although knowing its parentage can help.
points to consider when buying any dog or puppy: -
can take up a lot of your time and commitment, they impact upon
the lifestyle of you and your family, coming with both a financial
and emotional cost. Having decided you want a pet dog there are
some general areas about you and your new pet you will need to
Cost of keeping a pet dog: - (some unavoidable costs
you must consider )
- What your dog eats affects many areas of its life and can
effect its behaviour and general wellbeing, the quality of its
coat, even its life-span. The amount and cost of food will vary
according to what stage of development your dog has reached,
his appetite, his size and the type of food used ( dry dog food
or tinned meat and biscuits) but it is not unreasonable to expect
a cost of around £20 per month.
- Some of these items may be necessary rquirements (leads, muzzles
etc.) and some will be your preference as an owner. Some example
will be: -collar and lead, identification, bed and or bedding,
feeding equipment, toys, clothes, gifts
- There will usually be a small outlay for grooming equipment
but some dog breeds have coats that need specialised grooming.
(Check our Dog Types and Dog
costs: - These can vary enormously there is not usually
a fixed set of charges applied by all vets. Dicuss this with
friends and other dog owners to find a vet that has a good reputation
and charges that fit your budget.
All young puppies wiil need a range of vaccinations which can
cost around £100-£150 initially and then annual
boosters will be required at a cost of £40-£60.
other vet fees your dog might incur are spaying or neutering,
There will also be the unforseen costs of illness and accidents.
- Some form of insurance policy will be necessary, vets fees
alone can be costly. It may be useful to dicuss this with your
vet, but a likely cost may be in the region of £5 - £20
possible costs you may need to consider: - Boarding
fees, regular worming treament (usually quarterly),
training aids or specialist training requirements,
travelling crate and there might well be other costs that are
specific to certain breeds.
and energy commitments you will need: -
like small children, may initially require a lot of your time
for house training and behaviour traning, they will eventually
grow out of this and learn to play by themselves. Lots of exercise
will help burn up much of this excess energy and encourage quiet
times and naps.
dogs will also require exercise, how much will depend on the
breed type you choose. Many dogs will require two exercise sessions
per day when they can run free, others may require to be on
a lead when exercising (Greyhounds, Afghans) so a lot of walking
will be required it all comes back to choosing the cottect breed
for your lifestyle.You must expect to spend some time grooming,
bathing and feeding your dog and even taking him to the vet.
the right environment for a new dog or puppy: -
your new dog home may be your first consideration, you may need
a travel box or special equipment for carrying a dog home in
your car.If you are buying a puppy a box or travel container
will be needed for older dogs a travel container, dog guard
or car harness might be necessary. It
is often a good idea to bring some toys for your new dog to
distract him in the journey and maybe a blanket or old garment
to familiarise him with the new smells he is going to encounter.
will be necessary to make sure your home is ready for your new
pet. Basics such as a collar and lead, feed bowl, water bowl,
dog food, a dog bed or blankets and a few suitable dog toys
will all be required.
to make sure the new environment is suitable and safe for the
new dog (especially if it is a puppy).
Check for obvious dangers, steep and accessible stairs (you
may require a stair gate), trailing electrical cables and any
exposed fixtures (remember dogs like to chew and sniff), dangerous
kitchen/bathroom equipment (especially cleaning materials and
chemicals).Food cupboards if at a low level should be secure,
a dogs sense of smell is acute and before they are properly
trained they imagine everything in your house is theirs also.
your dog will have access to an outside area this must also
be safe and suitable.
Fences should be checked, many dogs like to run away or at least
If you have a garden pond make sure puppies cannot accidently
Any neighbours should be aware of your new pet and the possible
noise level increase.
Any other pets or livestock must be made safe from your dog
and vice versa.
dog is allowed to use your garden you mast be
prepared for a certain amount of damage, dogs like to dig and
will often bury bones or toys. Dogs using your garden as a toilet
may not be to your liking and this can often cause yellow patches
on your lawn
your dog or puppy arrives home.
at his new home will be a big event for your new dog, more esprecially
for a puppy. If you have a garden he can use try taking him
out there on arrival, he will probably want to relieve himself,
if he does give him lots of praise, this will be the first
step in his toilet training.
possible try and let your dog or puppy investigate his new home
at his own pace, do not over-fuss or over-crowd him he will
need time to investigate and familiarise himself with his new
surroundings and all the new smells and sounds.
him slowly to any new toys and where he is going to sleep, if
he shows reluctance to engage with any family members try using
"treats" but patience will be required at this stage.
there are any other pets in the household you will need to supervise
their first attempts at socialising, what to one animal is playfulness
may appear threatening to another.
puppies cannot always be exposed to other animals until they
have received their first injections. This is especially true
for outside areas which may be soiled by other pets and therefore
an infection risk. If you pet has not received any injections
yet an early visit to the vet is reccomended, where you can
seek advice about when they will be safe to socialise with other
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the right dog or puppy: -
decided a dog is the right pet for you and your lifestyle you
will probably also have some idea of the type or breed of dog
you would like..
(As mentioned above much of this is
made easier if you are choosing a pedigree dog breed.)
The type and dog breed you choose is very important, it must
be a good match for your family, your lifestyle and the environment
the dog will be entering. Our Dog Breed
Guide gives more information about breeds characteristics
and what they can offer you..This used in conjunction with the
checklist below is a good starting point for choosing the best
pet dog for you.
dog or puppy
will require more training and attention, especially over the
first six months. They will need to be housebroken, have to
get used to a collar and lead. Pups often chew furniture and
other belongings, this will require time and training to overcome,
you must be prepared for acidents through clumsiness, excitement
and lack of housebreaking. These problems will gradually disappear
with suitable dedicated training, however you will require patience.
Another factor you should keep in mind when buying a puppy is
that it could grow up to be different to your expectations,
especially if you acquire a cross-breed dog.
Acquiring an adult dog may save you some of these problems,
lead behaviour, destructive chewing, housebreaking may not be
a problem anymore, your new dog may be more settled and have
received some training. This can of course be a disadvantage,
your dog may have acquired bad habits from his previous owner(s),
had training you may not find suitable, all this needs to be
size of dog to suit you, your family and his new environment
The size of dog can also impact on other considerations,
big dogs do not necessarily require more exercise, small terriers
are by nature lively and can need a lot of exercise and outdoor
activity, but bigger breeds like St. Bernards or Great Danes
may be quite happy relaxing at home.
activity level will your dog have and what will he expect of
of these decisisions may seem obvious but it is important you
consider them to end up with the best match possible.
If you, as the owner, spend much of your time at home
then it is unlikely you will want an active breed that
requires lots of exercise and long walks. Many toy dogs were
bred to be house dogs, enjoying human company, cuddles and performing
More active owners would probably benefit from a similarly
active breed of dog Most dogs love outdoor exercice so if you
like walking or have access to open spaces there are many breeds
you can choose from.
Consideration should be given when choosing a breed
to how they will affect any small children or elderly people
living in their new environment.Large boisterous and even noisy
dogs may not always be the best choice.
Even the seemingly most inactive dogs will benefit from regular
exercise (remember dogs develope extremely accurate body clocks,
they will know when it is time for a walk). Exercise does not
have to been seen as a chore, it can be part of a game (dogs
love to chase things) and they are not often put off by the
weather conditions (extreme cold or heat being possible exceptions)
Will your dog have garden space.
Are you near parks or suitable open land.
All dog breeds will need some outside space at various times,
how much and how often will depend on the the type of dog you
are thinking of buying (see Dog Types
for more help).
dogs are good with children.
It is safe to say that not all dogs are right for children
and not every child is right for a dog. Choosing the right dog
that you can introduce to children or will be prepared to accept
new children being introduced into his enviroment needs much
consideration. Size, signs of aggressive traits and biting,
how boisterous they are, do they bark a lot are just some of
the points to establish. (more detailed information on our Dogs
and Children page)
Grooming: - All dogs need a certain amount of
grooming (even the hairless breeds). Many dog owners
can achieve this themselves with the minimum of equipment but
some dogs need specialist grooming to keep their coats in control.
Bathing presents the same problems and it often easier to make
use of the many Dog Parlours and Grooming Services available.
Shedding hair: - Dogs shedding hair can cause
problems for many owners, so care should be taken to select
a dog breed that have coats that shed very little hair.
other relevant points to be considered
There are dog breeds who love water and this may need to
be taken into consideration. Coming home regularly from a walk
with a wet and often smelly dog may not be appreciated by everyone.
dogs like to dig and bury things, if you are a proud gardner
be aware of this
It is not all the dogs fault it just might be that you are allergic
to dogs it would be useful to check this out before you acquire
a new pet.
Dog Breed should I choose?
We have detailed the attributes, requirements, what you expect
from and what you can give to many different dog breeds on our
Popular Dog Breeds pages. These
pages are packed full of detailed information about various
dog breeds, essential for anyone choosing a pet dog or puppy,
but remember these are just guides, no two dogs will be exactly
the same. Try to observe dogs when you are out for walks, talk
to other owners and read books and remember just as similar
dogs have different rquirements so do owners. A good relationship
between dog and owner(s) will require a lot of patience and
to some extent compromise.
which dog type you would like to buy? Where is the best place
to buy your Dog Or Puppy
selecting a dog or puppy as a pet there are three main sources
You can find Dog Breeders in you local press, listed in Yellow
pages, via dog clubs and shows. Vets may often recommend breeders,
friends or family may have useful experience and advice and
you can always try the internet.
Many breeders breed to show and will usually have first pick
of the litter and sell any remaining.
When you buy a puppy from a breeder always try to see the dog
first then you will some idea of the environment and the parents
helping you get some idea of what your dog will look like.
Breeders sometimes have cross bred dogs available, again you
can get some background information and advice on their suitability
as pets (as an added bonus they are usually less expensive)
Rescue homes generally have older dogs and cross breeds available.However
some do specialise in pedigree dogs and even specific dog
It is probable that most rescue homes will have no history
of the dog you may be buying which
leaves an element of guesswork involved if you buy a puppy.
Some elements of the dog will have been assessed however which
will make your decision to adopt easier.
Some rescue centres may ask for details of your family set
up, what the dogs new
environment will be like and even make a home visit to assess
Often you can buy dogs (usually puppies) from pet shops. They
may look cute in the pet shop but again you will be buying
blind, what they grow up to be nay not be what you expected.
These puppies have quite likely come from a private owner
trying to dispose of a larege litter bur often they come from
what are now called "puppy farms".
It is up to you to find out as much information as possible
about any dog you buy.
Information To Help You Choose Which Is The Right Dog Breed
and Pages of Interest on www.pettrendy.co.uk
For Your Lifestyle.
Breeds that will best suit your
needs (little or lots of exercise, little grooming, elderly
owners, easily trained, suitable in flats etc.)