Dogs aren’t called man’s best friend for nothing. They offer so much joy and unconditional love, wrapped up in a cute and furry package. However, it’s not all playing fetch and snuggles – adding a puppy to your household is a big responsibility, and a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly.
If you’re thinking about getting a puppy, we recommend that you consider these 5 things first:
- A dog is a long-term and costly commitment
Dogs live for an average of 13 years, so when you buy a puppy, you’re in for the long haul. If you rent, you’ll be more limited in the properties available that will take a dog and will face an even more challenging task if you decide to move to an apartment.
There is also a significant financial commitment required when getting a new puppy. Registration, food, vet bills, vaccinations and boarding costs all add up, and continue throughout your dog’s life.
- The puppy stage is hard
It’s not surprising that people often compare getting a puppy with having a baby or toddler. Between the sleepless nights, lots of crying, separation anxiety and plenty of toileting accidents, having a puppy can be a lot of hard work. While puppies sleep for around 16 hours of the day, the rest of the time they want – and need – your attention while they get used to your home and are house-trained.
But if the puppy stage doesn’t appeal, that doesn’t mean you have to rule out getting a dog. There are plenty of adult dogs in animal shelters that are just waiting for a new home – allowing you to skip the puppy stage and enjoy a house-trained pooch.
- Don’t rush – you need to do your research
If you’re not fussed on the type of breed, then your best bet is getting a puppy from a pound or an animal rescue organisation. The cost is much cheaper, and you’ll be saving a puppy’s life at the same time. If you decide to buy from a breeder, then it is important to do due diligence – not just about the breeder, but about the breed itself.
Each breed of dog is more predisposed to certain conditions – some more serious and life-altering than others. Talk to your breeder about any concerns you may have and ask about the bloodline of their dogs to find out the severity of the issues in the parents and grandparents. Some dog breeds will also require regular grooming done by professionals. If this is a commitment or cost that is off-putting, it’s worth considering another breed.
And make sure you research the breeder itself. Try to go with one that has been personally recommended to you and ask plenty of questions. How many litters has the mother had, when was the puppy weaned, what paperwork will be provided for the puppy and the parents? These are all good questions to ask.
- Does your lifestyle suit the puppy you want?
The breed of dog you have your heart set on mightn’t be the best fit for your lifestyle. What size yard do you have? How much time do you spend at home? How much time can you commit to exercising a dog? Who will look after your dog when you are away? Your answers to these questions will have a big impact on the type of dog that will best suit your lifestyle.
- Can you commit the time to looking after a dog?
From the moment you bring home your puppy, through each of their life stages, you will need to commit a decent amount of time to looking after your dog. After the initial – and time consuming – house training stage, you’ll need to dedicate plenty of time to socialising and obedience-training your dog, so you can enjoy taking your new pet out and about with you. Daily exercise will also be important – a walk around the block will be enough for some smaller dogs, but longer walks or runs will be needed by more active breeds.
You will also need to commit to looking after the health of your dog. This includes regular worming and tick applications, brushing their teeth a few times a week and yearly check-ups with a vet.
We love dogs at CVS!
While dogs can be quite time consuming and costly, having pets in your life can offer endless amounts of joy. Just ask the Cameron Veterinary Services’ Dr Lachie – he has five dogs himself! You can find out more about his dogs on our Facebook page.
However, it is important to take your time and consider the impact a dog will have on your life before going ahead and getting a puppy.
If you do decide to find yourself that perfect pooch, the Cameron Veterinary Services team will be there to look after them throughout all their life stages. Our brand-new small animal clinic is opening at the end of July in Springwood Place in Gawler East, and we can’t wait to look after your pets.