Over the last year, we have seen an influx of new puppies being adopted in our area. It’s been lovely to meet all of the adorable, furry additions that have been brought into the practice – it’s an exciting time for everyone!
As you’ll know if you’ve had a dog before, dogs are a long-term and often very expensive commitment. They are also wonderful, fun and continuously loving companions.
If you are thinking of adopting a puppy in the near future, consider some pointers we have pulled together to help you decide if a puppy is right for you, your lifestyle and your household:
1 – Consider your lifestyle, your home and the time you will have to dedicate to a dog.
A dog’s requirements vary widely depending on their breed, age, size and temperament. It’s important to consider what size and breed of dog could suitably live in your home. For instance, if you live in a small tenement flat with a shared garden, this would likely be unsuitable for a large husky, or an energetic spaniel. It’s also important to consider how much time you will have to spend with your new furry friend – active working dog breeds require much more time than many others, for instance.
Dog’s are sociable animals and require a lot of attention throughout their lives. The whole family should be willing to commit to this before bringing a dog into their lives. Puppies, in particular, will need a lot of one-on-one time for play and training, as well as exposure to as much of the outside world as possible from an early age.
2 – Research
Once you have an idea of a breed or size of dog that would work for you, we would strongly advise all new dog owners – regardless of whether or not they have had dogs in the past – to research.
There are thousands of online articles and breed-specific websites detailing the needs, temperaments and requirements of pedigree dogs. Consider looking at The Kennel Club website as a good starting point. There are also regular local dog shows and events in the UK where you can meet a variety of dog breeds and talk to owners to figure out if they could be the right fit for you.
Finally, look into any common health problems relating to your chosen breed. For instance, if you are considering a brachycephalic breed (short-snouted) we would recommend that you look into their specific health requirements and only consider licensed breeders to reduce the risk of future health complications.
3 – Cost
Prior to getting a puppy, we would strongly advise that you consider the long-term costs of a dog. Most healthy dogs will live far longer than ten years, so the investment in a pup is a long term one, which they will be relying on you to maintain.
Beyond the initial cost of the puppy – their toys, bed, food, harness and lead (etc.) – your dog will require annual vaccinations, parasite protection, neutering, insurance and access to vet care when they need it, as well as regular grooming (depending on breed), and potential boarding costs should you want to travel.
This, again, will vary depending on the breed and size of your dog. A good rule of thumb is that larger dogs tend to cost more than smaller dogs, however, smaller dogs generally live a good number of years longer than their larger companions. You might also consider which breeds are more prone to developing health conditions which can be costly to treat.
The Veterinary Centre does offer a Pet Health Club which helps to spread the cost of routine preventative healthcare, such as parasite protection and vaccines. This also includes a number of veterinary discounts to make the long-term cost of owning a pet much more manageable! However, we always recommend pet owners also take out a good insurance policy to cover unexpected illness, accidents and emergencies.
You should also explore the various insurance policies on offer to consider which, if any, are right for your pet. Petplan offers a four-week free insurance policy to all puppies under 18 months, which you can take out whilst considering the options. We would strongly recommend all owners look into lifetime policies for their pets – paying particular attention to the fine details and exclusions.
Still on the Fence?
If you are unsure whether or not a dog is the right pet for you, consider signing up for Borrow My Doggy, where you can walk or dog-sit a local dog in your area. Alternatively, many local rehoming organisations are looking for pet fosterers. This can be an excellent way of figuring out if a pet is suitable for you, your family and your home in the long-term.
Whatever you decide, you are welcome to contact the practice for medical or care advice on 0141 339 1228.
Read on for Thinking of Buying a Puppy: Part 2