Committing to owning a dog is an exciting step but also a huge responsibility.
The average life span of a dog can be anywhere between 12 to 14 years. Owning a dog, like any pet, can be an extremely rewarding experience. Your dog with their energetic personality and loyal and committed nature will become an important member of the family and a life long friend. However, it is important to remember the commitment and responsibilities that come with owning a dog and the amount of care they will require throughout their life. Once you are certain you and your family can provide a loving, long-lasting home for your dog you must consider the following.
Adopting a Dog or your puppy?
Adopting a puppy or dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences you have. There are a large number of abandoned puppies and dogs in need of loving and caring families for life. If you have the opportunity to provide a loving home to a new pet consider adopting a rescue puppy or an adult dog from an animal re-homing centre.
Male or female puppy?
Female dogs generally come into season up to 3 times a year. In this time they must be separated from males to ensure any unwanted pregnancies. Male dogs can become irritated if they are not separated from females during their season.
Can you afford a Dog?
Keeping a dog is priceless. However, the responsibility of keeping a pet should mean that they are kept happy and healthy. You must take into account the cost of food per month, toys, accessories and bedding. On top of that, you have flea and worm treatments, grooming, kennel and daycare requirements, vet bills and pet insurance to name a few.
Do you have the time to exercise your Dog?
It is not advised to leave your dog for more than four hours at a time as this can result in separation anxiety and bad behaviour. Regular walks and exercise are an essential part of your dog’s development. Your dog will require a lot of your time so be sure you have it to offer.
Have you done your homework?
Have you researched all breeds and found a reputable breeder that you trust. If you buy a pedigree dog then you should receive kennel club registration papers
Pedigree or crossbreeds?
The Kennel Club recognises over 188 pedigree breeds, which does not take into account the variety of crossbreeds available. Consider the sizes, grooming requirements, how energetic they are and their temperament and personality.
Spaying or neutering your puppy or dog?
To help avoid unwanted pregnancies it is advised to have your pet sterilised. This will not have negative effects on your dog. It will not alter with their personality, behaviour or weight. It has been known to decrease aggression, roaming and increase concentration.
At Home with your Dog
You are finally ready to take your new dog home. It is important that you have your dog checked by the vet as soon as possible. It is also advisable to ensure your dog. This will provide financial assistance if needed in the future.
It is important to make your new dog feel comfortable in their new surroundings. A bed or basket will provide a safe place where your new dog will feel happy and secure and recognise this area as a specific place.
Dog toys and chews
Dogs of all ages love to play with toys and chew on things. Provide your dog with a variety of toys designed specifically for chewing which will also keep them entertained for hours.
Your Dog's Diet and their Health
How much food should I feed my Dog?
Follow the guidelines on the pet food packaging. It is important not to overfeed your dog as this can lead to obesity. Obesity in dogs will cause serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
How often should I feed my dog?
Your dog will require two meals a day.
What food should I feed my dog?
Your dog will require a healthy and balanced diet that meets all their nutritional requirements. It is advisable to feed your nutritionally complete dog food rather than a homemade diet.
Can I give my dog treats?
Treats are a good way to train your dog by rewarding them for good behaviour. Offer treats in moderation, as they are high in calories, which will turn into fat if your dog does not receive enough exercise.
Access to water
Your dog should have access to fresh clean water at all times.
How important are vaccinations?
Vaccinations protect your dog against many diseases that can in the most extreme cases cause fatalities if not treated. They need their first vaccination at 8 weeks followed by numerous booster vaccinations throughout their life.
Dog fleas and worms?
Your dog should be treated for fleas and worms on a regular basis. Effective treatment can be bought at you local Jollyes, please ask an assistant for advice.
Signs of fleas in your dog?
Look for redness, constant itching, balding, scabs, any black specks near the ears. If your dog has fleas it can cause excessive chewing and licking. The skin can become irritated and inflamed. If your dog has these symptoms it is important to act straight away. Taking your dog for regular vet checks helps control and prevent this from recurring.
What to look for if your dog is sick?
Always look for symptoms which include: sickness or diarrhoea, weight loss, lack of appetite, not drinking, little energy, sleepy, skin conditions, swellings, limping and signs of pain. If you think your dog has any unusual symptoms then seek the advice of your local vet as soon as possible.