Advice on buying a puppy or getting a dog Buying a puppy or getting a dog is an exciting time. Before you welcome your new canine friend into your family, here are some key things to consider: Can I make a lifetime commitment? Dogs can live well into their teens if cared for properly. This means dedicating up to 15 years of your life to the care of your best friend. Ask yourself if you are able to make this lifetime commitment? Consider your lifestyle Are you able to find time to appropriately love and care for your dog? This includes time for feeding, grooming, exercise and playing. Don’t forget, your new canine friend will need walking at least twice a day, come rain or shine! You also need to think about training if getting a puppy – will you have the time and patience to continue the training for your puppy to ensure that they grow into an obedient respectful dog. Do I have the financial means to provide for a Dog? (Remember – this could be up to 15 years!) Can you afford to have a dog? You will have ongoing expenses such as food, accessories, insurance, as well as any unexpected trips to your vet to keep your dog happy and healthy. Below are the expenses to bear in mind that you will need to pay out for when getting a dog: Dog accessories (leads, beds, bowls, toys etc) Dog Food Regular worming Flea Treatment Vaccinations and boosters Neutering Microchipping – It is now the law to microchip your dog Pet Insurance Kennel fees if going on holiday Professional grooming On average it costs £1,200 a year, but with costs rising this will go up over the lifetime of your pet. Do I want a puppy or a dog? Buying a puppy is an exciting prospect, but is very hard work with lots of responsibility. Puppies need lots of attention to keep them out of trouble. Time needs to be taken for training and socialisation, but can be frustrating, but a very rewarding experience when done correctly. With all this in place, you and your puppy will have a strong relationship, which will go on for a lifetime. However, you may want to consider getting an older dog. There are lots of rescue centres across the UK with dogs looking for homes. It’s important that you choose the correct dog, so that they don’t end up back at the centre due to being unsuitable. Adopting a dog is still a rewarding experience, as they will still give unconditional love and be eager to please. Training your puppy Training and socializing your puppy in their early stages of life is very important. This will teach them good manners and stop them from gaining bad habits, as well as being happy and social around other dogs. But it doesn’t stop there – training should be ongoing throughout the life of your dog. Here are a few tips for when you bring your puppy home. Is my house big enough? The size of your home depends on the size of the dog. It would be unfair to get a Great Dane if you live in a one bedroom studio flat! Dogs, whatever the size, require space to be able to live a happy healthy life. Ideally, a decent size garden is also preferred so your canine friend is not cooped up inside all the time. How will my other pets respond to having a new dog in the home? Before bringing your new canine friend home, whether they be a puppy or adult, you need to consider any pets you may already have. If you have another dog, see if you can introduce them on neutral ground, such as a park. Keep it brief, but intervene is play gets rougher, and tension rises. If you have a cat, beforehand bring a blanket home with the dogs scent on, so the cat can get accustomed. Introduce the new member of the family slowly, with supervised ‘meetings’ then gradually they can become used to each other and learn how to co-exist. How will my children respond to having a dog in the home? A new furry member of the family is an exciting time for children, but teaching your children how to handle it in its early and most vulnerable stages is essential. Sometimes a dog just wants to be left alone to rest, otherwise they may act out if provoked – educating your child to give the dog space is important. Apart from this, your children and dog can be great friends, and enjoy growing up together. Do I need Pet Insurance for my dog? As part as being a responsible dog owner, pet insurance should be put in place for the unfortunate event that your dog falls ill or has an accident. You can compare pet insurance to find the best policy to suit your individual needs and budget.