Get Patrick’s checklist for your new canine friend
June 14, 2022
Bringing a new pet into the family is an exciting time but there is much to consider before bringing them home.
Patrick recommends that one of the first things to do as a family is to sit down and have a discussion. Set out what the responsibilities of owning a dog are and how each member of the family needs to contribute. Having this initial discussion can ensure everyone understands the work that is needed for a new dog and what they would like to get out of having a dog. It will also enable everyone to discuss what type of dog they’d like and if they’d prefer a rescue (puppy or adult) or a puppy from a breeder.
Things to think about may include:
- Breed of dog
- Rescue or puppy
- Breed specific exercise requirements
- Training needs
- Financial factors such as food costs, routine veterinary care, and insurance (this will vary for different breeds/ sizes of dog)
- How will a dog fit into your lifestyle
One of the hardest questions may be whether to go for a puppy from a breeder or a rescue dog. There are advantages and disadvantages to both but Patrick advises that you should make the decision based on what is important as a family.
Choosing a rescue dog
There are many rescue centres in Cambridgeshire and further afield, full of loving dogs desperate to find the right home. Rescue centre staff can help you by discussing what your family wants in a dog and identifying those that meet your requirements. Puppies and adult dogs in rescue centres will come from all kinds of different backgrounds. These might include dogs involved in abuse or neglect cases, or dogs whose previous owner could not care for them any longer for many different reasons. With most rescues you will go through a process of bonding with that dog to ensure they are a suitable fit for your family before fully committing. Adopting a rescue animal can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but one that may require a lot of patience and some behavioural support.
Choosing a puppy from a breeder
Patrick advises that whilst puppies are very cute, they take an incredible amount of work initially. Much of this involves different types of training, such as toilet training, walking on a lead, recall, and general behaviour. This can be a very long and challenging process so it is important to have a full understanding of what is required to look after a puppy before buying one. You will also need to research the breeder’s advertising to ensure you are purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder and avoiding any puppy farms where welfare is compromised.
Which dog breed is right for you?
Consider the breed of dog you would like; different breeds have different requirements for exercise, food, healthcare, and enrichment. According to Patrick, some breeds have typical character traits and temperaments, so not all will be suitable for your family. A working dog will need a lot more exercise than other breeds so if you are a very active family, having an active dog would be a suitable fit. If you are not very active then looking at breeds that do not have the high working drive would be a better option.
How much does owning a dog cost?
You also need to consider that everything your new dog needs comes with a cost, so be sure you are comfortable with those figures before committing to any pet. Typical costs include routine health care, pet insurance, food, bedding and the costs of dog sitters or kennel when you are on holiday. Generally, the larger the dog, the more it will cost to feed and any treatments and procedures are likely to cost more too. Some breeds are associated with particular health problems so if you are considering a particular type of dog be sure to check if that breed suffers from any specific health problems before you commit to a lifetime of care.
If you have more questions about owning a dog, feel free to give us a call for further advice on (01223) 359021