A dog can become your closest friend and constant companion. Owning a dog is even good for your heart health, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), since dog owners tend to lead a healthier lifestyle and dogs help to lower your stress levels. But owning a dog is also a long term commitment. It takes time out of your day tending to the dog, so make sure you have the means to look after a dog before you buy one.
If you don’t know what to look for, buying a dog can have many pitfalls. These tips from The UKs Dog Lead Shop will help you make an informed decision when you need to choose your puppy.
1. Consider Your Space
Each breed of dog needs different amounts of exercise and the garden space available to them dictates which dog you’ll choose. Keep in mind that larger dogs need more space, and even a small dog needs a decent area to play in.
2. Choose a Breed That Fits Your Lifestyle
All dogs need time and attention from you, some more than others. Dogs need exercise, training, playing, and grooming. Dogs have different personalities and characteristics. If you have a family with small children, don’t choose a vicious dog. If you’re often active, pick a dog that likes to be active too. The Kennel Club has a handy questionnaire to help you choose from 215 different breeds.
3. Finding the Right Breeder
Not all breeders are created equal, and some dealers will even claim they’re breeders when in fact they’re not. You can find a trusted breeder registered with the Kennel Club Assured Breeders. A good breeder will have a waiting list and will want to meet and interview you beforehand. This is also a good chance for you to see the conditions the puppy is raised in. Puppies should be at least seven weeks old before they leave their mom, but some breeders will keep them up to 12 weeks. When you collect the puppy, the breeder should give you the dog’s registration certificate, including their pedigree. Avoid breeders that advertise more than three different breeds, and never buy from a pet shop.
4. Mum’s Health and Personality
Puppies can inherit their mother’s temperament, so make sure she’s a friendly dog. Keep in mind that she might be defensive of her pups, though. Also, check whether she looks healthy; otherwise, there’s a good chance her pups will be unhealthy. Make sure you see the mom and puppies together. If the breeder refuses, he may not be a breeder, or the mom is ill-treated. If this is the case, report them to the RSPCA to stop a cruel trade.
5. Have the Puppies Been Wormed?
All puppies have worms at birth. The worming process starts two weeks after birth, and then every two weeks after that.
6. Did the Puppies Receive Their Vaccinations?
Puppies should be vaccinated for the first time between six and nine weeks, and again between 10 and 12 weeks. If the breeder did not do the vaccinations, remember to do it.
7. Look for Healthy Puppies
Does the puppy look healthy? Does he have clean eyes, ears, and bottom? If the animal looks unwell when you go to pick him up, rather collect later. If the puppy is still sick, don’t take him.
8. The Puppy’s Diet Sheet
A good breeder will give you food for few days to continue the puppy’s diet, as well as a diet sheet that shows how the feeding will change as the dog grows.
9. Consider Their Socialising Experiences so Far
Choose a dog that was raised in a similar environment as your home with traffic and house noises. Also, consider whether she has met other dogs, animals, and people. A dog bred in isolation might need more training to gain confidence and get used to her surroundings.
10. Consider Adopting a Rehomed Dog
The RSPCA has a lot of dogs rescued from cruelty or abandonment. By adopting one of these dogs, you’ll be able to give them a happy ending. These dogs are usually grown and come in all shapes, sizes, breeds, and personalities. The RSPCA cares for them till they can find an owner, and they come spayed, vaccinated, snipped, and micro chipped. If you’re up for the challenge, visit your nearest RSPCA. And remember, you don’t choose a dog – they find you.