Selecting Pet

Introduction

Owning a dog is a big responsibility and giving your dog the best care and attention can help to improve the quality and length of your dog’s life. Feeding your dog a well balanced diet is clearly necessary to keep him fit and healthy, and there is a whole variety of different types of products to choose from, including diets designed for specific stages of life and foods which deliver additional health benefits. Other activities such as exercise, training, grooming and regular visits to the veterinarian are equally important to keep your dog happy and healthy. Maybe one of the most important aspects to ensure a happy relationship between you, your family and your dog is to ensure that your dog’s requirements can be matched by your lifestyle and environment.

Dogs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, all with different characters and temperaments. If you are looking for an affectionate and loyal companion and you are sure you can devote the time and provide the resources to satisfy his needs, then a dog is the pet for you and your family. A little careful thought at this stage will help avoid impulsive decisions you may later regret. Choosing a dog is an important step as he will soon become an integral part of your family. So some careful thought at this stage will help avoid impulsive decisions you may later regret. If you have no idea of your ideal dog, take a look at some breeds by visiting dog shows, talking to breeders and other dog owners, and by reading dog books and magazines. Animal welfare shelters and charities always have many worthy dogs of all ages seeking a stable home. You may also find a dog through one of the breed rescue societies or you may know someone whose bitch has recently had a litter. Consider your own environment and the characteristics of your chosen breed and try to match up the two. The best place to obtain a Pet food puppy is from a recognised and reputable breeder. You may find breeders through other dog owners, your veterinarian, advertisements in newspapers and dog magazines or by visiting dog shows. National organisations that govern breed standards can usually provide useful information. It is always best to see the mother if you are buying a puppy so you can check that she is healthy and has a good temperament. Don’t buy from a dealer who has bought in puppies from several sources (a puppy farm). These puppies may have been weaned too early and may have travelled long distances before reaching their destination in a state of fear and confusion. The risk of disease and stress-induced illness is greater for these puppies and this type of trade should not be supported.

Dogs are social animals. They need a lot of attention, especially when young, and sufficient time must be set aside for their training, exercise and grooming. In particular, toilet training puppies will be difficult if you spend a lot of time away during this critical period. If your lifestyle means your dog would be on his own for most of the day, then perhaps you should reconsider your choice of pet. Another choice of animal may be more suitable.

The size of your house and garden, and more importantly, the availability of open spaces nearby for exercise will influence the type of dog you should choose. For instance a Great Dane or Newfoundland would be cramped in a small apartment and an Irish Wolfhound, which needs plenty of space, might be unhappy in the middle of a town, whereas Boston Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Dachshunds may be better suited if space is limited.

Are you physically able to give a dog the exercise he needs? Some breeds, such as the German shepherds or Doberman need more exercise than others such as the Pug or some of the toy breeds. However, size is not always a good reflection of the amount of exercise needed. Some giant breeds, such as the Mastiff for example, need less exercise than smaller breeds such as the Terriers.

The initial cost of your puppy must certainly be taken into account, but be aware that other costs continue for the rest of his life. The daily cost of feeding a small dog such as the Yorkshire terrier or the Pekinese are obviously less than those for giant dogs such as the Irish Wolfhound or St Bernard. Budgeting is also needed for veterinary visits (for both routine check-ups and unexpected problems), kennelling during holidays and regular grooming sessions for certain breeds. You may be able to take out an insurance policy, which covers unforeseen expenses such as veterinary fees and third party liability.

New dog owners should not opt for breeds which are difficult to train or which easily intimidate their owners. Breeds renowned for being loyal and trainable companions include the Rough Collie and the Labrador.

Be sure that you can offer your dog the sort of lifestyle that suits his nature. An unhappy dog is more likely to have behavioural problems. For instance, a Border Collie which has been bred to work sheep may be easily bored and frustrated if left alone or inactive for long periods, and guard dog breeds should only be chosen if you are absolutely certain that you will be able to control your dog at all times. Be sure that you can offer the dog the sort of lifestyle that suits his nature.

Most people choose to keep a dog for companionship, but your choice may be influenced by whether you expect your dog to have a protective or working role, or if you intend to show or breed from your dog. If you need further help, look at our Select-a-Dog questionnaire to help match up your own circumstances and preferences with the characteristics of certain dog breeds.

Choosing Puppy

Dogs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, all with different characters and temperaments. If you are looking for an affectionate and loyal companion and you are sure you can devote the time and provide the resources to satisfy his needs, then a dog is the pet for you and your family. A little careful thought at this stage will help avoid impulsive decisions you may later regret. Choosing a dog is an important step as he will soon become an integral part of your family. So some careful thought at this stage will help avoid impulsive decisions you may later regret. Try to answer the following questions that help you to choose a suitable puppy for you

How much time can you devote to a dog?

Dogs are social animals. They need a lot of attention, especially when young, and sufficient time must be set aside for their training, exercise and grooming. In particular, toilet training puppies will be difficult if you spend a lot of time away during this critical period. If your lifestyle means your dog would be on his own for most of the day, then perhaps you should reconsider your choice of pet. Another choice of animal may be more suitable.

How much space do you have?

The size of your house and garden, and more importantly, the availability of open spaces nearby for exercise will influence the type of dog you should choose. For instance a Great Dane or Newfoundland would be cramped in a small apartment and an Irish Wolfhound, which needs plenty of space, might be unhappy in the middle of a town, whereas Boston Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Dachshunds may be better suited if space is limited.

How much exercise can you and your family give a dog?

Are you physically able to give a dog the exercise he needs? Some breeds, such as the Border Collie or Labrador need more exercise than others such as the Jack Russel or some of the smaller spaniels. However, size is not always a good reflection of the amount of exercise needed. Some giant breeds, such as the Mastiff for example, need less exercise than smaller breeds such as the Terriers. If you need further help, look at our Select a Dog questionnaire to help match up your own circumstances and preferences with the characteristics of certain dog breeds.

How much can you afford?

The initial cost of your puppy must certainly be taken into account, but be aware that other costs continue for the rest of his life. The daily cost of feeding a small dog such as the Pomeranian, Pug or the Pekinese are obviously less than those for giant dogs such as the Irish Wolfhound , Great Dane or St Bernard. Budgeting is also needed for veterinary visits (for both routine check-ups and unexpected problems), kennelling during holidays and regular grooming sessions for certain breeds. You may be able to take out an insurance policy which covers unforeseen expenses such as veterinary fees and third party liability.

How much experience of dogs do you have?

New dog owners should not opt for breeds which are difficult to train or which easily intimidate their owners. Breeds renowned for being loyal and trainable companions include the Rough Collie and the Labrador. Be sure that you can offer your dog the sort of lifestyle that suits his nature. An unhappy dog is more likely to have behavioral problems. For instance, a Border Collie which has been bred to work sheep may be easily bored and frustrated if left alone or inactive for long periods, and guard dog breeds should only be chosen if you are absolutely certain that you will be able to control your dog at all times. Be sure that you can offer the dog the sort of lifestyle that suits his nature.

Why do you want a dog?

Most people choose to keep a dog for companionship, but your choice may be influenced by whether you expect your dog to have a protective or working role, or if you intend to show or breed from your dog. If you need further help, look at our Select-a-Dog questionnaire to help match up your own circumstances and preferences with the characteristics of certain dog breeds.

Pet food or Non-Pet food?

Although each dog has it’s own character, some generalisations can be made about each breed giving an idea of how a puppy will be as an adult. A crossbred or mongrel puppy can be very appealing but it may be something of a mystery in terms of adult size and temperament, especially if you can’t judge the parents.

Long or short hair?

Long haired dogs like the Yorkshire terrier or the Old English Sheepdog can be very attractive, but they need regular grooming to keep their coat clean and in good condition. The coats of smooth haired dogs like the German Shorthaired Pointer and Daschund, need less attention and are more manageable in wet weather. 

Male or female?

Male dogs tend to be larger than females of the same breed and may be a little more extrovert. Some people think that bitches are more affectionate and home-loving and may be better with children, but remember they come into season twice a year as part of their reproductive cycle and unless you are prepared to have her neutered, or use some other form of oestrous control, this could be an inconvenience. 

Do you really want a puppy or could you give an adult dog a home?

Most people would prefer to raise and train their dog from an early age, but don’t dismiss the adult dog. Animal shelters are full of older dogs desperate for a good home. These dogs are still capable of giving tremendous loyalty and affection and they have the advantages of usually being trained, having an apparent temperament, and having passed the most destructive phase of puppyhood. However, before you take on an adult dog try to ascertain why he has become available in the first place, as he may suit you no more than he did his previous owners. However, this is an option always worth considering.

If you need further help, look at our Select-a-Dog questionnaire to help match up your own circumstances and preferences with the characteristics of certain dog breeds.

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