Things you need to consider before buying a puppy

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Are you about to take a step into the world of dog ownership for the first time?

You probably feel rather bombarded with information.

Nearly everyone has an opinion on whether or not you should ‘take the plunge’

Here are the main points you may want to consider before making that final decision on whether or not to bring a puppy into your life

  1. Do you have the right space for a large dog?
  2. Do you have time for a dog, how long is the puppy going to be alone?
  3. Can you afford a dog?
  4. What about your lifestyle?
  5. Will a dog fit in with your family?
  6. Is a Labrador or Golden Retriever the right dog for you?

1. Do you have the right space?

Dogs, even small dogs, need space, indoors and out.  Labradors & Golden Retriever’s need quite a lot of space.  They also need to go outside regularly for ‘bathroom breaks.  With small puppies this will be very often indeed.  If you live in a flat, or do not have a garden, this will be difficult for you, think about that long week of rain or hard day at work, normally you would come home and rest, but if you have a dog you can’t you have a dog that needs exercise and toileting.

Ideally you need a part of the garden which your dog can use as a bathroom and you will need some kind of system for clearing up after him/her hygienically.  Puppies should not be allowed to ‘toilet’ where children play, as their faces can pass on some horrible parasite.

2. Do you have time for a dog?

It is always sad to hear from new puppy owners that are struggling to juggle the needs of a puppy with their need to work.

It may seem obvious to many of you, but a lot of people don’t realize that you cannot bring a small puppy into your life and leave it alone in the house all day.  Even with a visit at lunch time.

An older dog may cope with being left for four hours in row on a regular basis, but puppies need more attention than this.

The truth is, you can’t leave a young dog alone for hours on end and expect him to remain quiet and well behaved.  Lonely dogs bark, chew and wreck things.

If you work all day, can you afford to pay someone to come in and let him out to stretch his legs and empty him/herself?   Or do you have a relative or friend that would be prepared to do this on a regular basis.  Bear in mind that this is quite a lot to ask of anyone in the long term (It is not someone else job, they do have their own life to juggle.)

The biggest long-term time commitment in owning a dog is in the form of training and exercise.

All dogs need training in order that they can rub along in human society without being a complete nuisance.   This means a regular daily commitment of ten to twenty minutes training from you, in addition to your regular interaction with the dog.

Training cannot be saved up for the weekend, your dog will have forgotten most of what he/she learnt the weekend before,  and he/she does not have the attention span to concentrate on you for an hour and a half.

Exercise is required on a regular basis, for some breeds of dog this means at least an hour a day of walking or jogging to keep your dog fit and healthy.

Whilst your dog will not come to any harm if you miss a day occasionally, a daily routine is often the best way to ensure that you build this important habit.

3. Can you afford a dog?

Dogs can be quite expensive to run.  Perhaps you know a friend that has a litter of puppies and they are going to let you have one for free.  However,  the purchase price of a dog is almost irrelevant.  It is such a small part of the final cost.

You are also going to need to fork out a chunk of your wages each week on keeping your puppy happy and healthy.

Obviously, you will have taken the cost of food into consideration, but it is a good idea to budget for insurance too.  Modern veterinary treatment has simply gone ‘off the radar’.   Not because it is unreasonably priced, but simply because it is now so advanced.

You can fix a lot of problems these days.  No longer is ‘put to sleep’ the option of choice for most serious ailments.  We can-do open-heart surgery, mend complex fractures, treat cancer with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

Pretty much anything you can treat in a human; you can now treat in a dog.  And the catch?

It costs.

The cost of treating your dog for cancer will blow your mind, and if you don’t have access to substantial savings, one way to avoid the burden of huge vet fees is to make sure your dog is insured.   Veterinary insurance will most likely set you back a week’s wages or so, each year.

You will also need to vaccinate your dog against common canine nasties and this will probably need to be done each year too.

There will be a few other one-off costs such as a crate for your home for when your dog is young, another for your car if you have one,  bowls, bedding,  collar, lead etc.   But you may be able to borrow a crate or get one second hand.

If you like to holiday abroad or anywhere that the dog can’t come, unless you have helpful relatives, you will also need to think about the cost of putting him/her in boarding kennels for a week or two each year.

4. What about your lifestyle?

A dog will change your life quite drastically.  If you work away a lot, unless you can take your dog with you, a dog is probably not a good idea for you right now.   Likewise, if you If you travel a lot, a dog may cause problems for you.  If you spend two months each year exploring the Amazon jungle, a dog is almost certainly not for you.

What are you like at early mornings?   And at getting up in the night?

Long lazy Sunday lie-ins will be a thing of the past once you have a dog.   In addition, for the first few weeks when puppies are small, they may need to be taken outside to toilet during the night.

Maybe more than once.  You need to be comfortable coping with that.

5. Will a dog fit in with your family

If you have three children under five and your wife is expecting twins, you probably don’t need me to tell you, that you don’t need a dog.   But it is surprising just how many people do take on a puppy when their kids are tiny and then struggle to cope.

Having a puppy is a bit like having a toddler, and whilst some dogs and kids do rub along very nicely together, it can be very tough in the early years.

Pushing a buggy whilst trying to lead train a large or even a medium sized dog is no joke.  And tiny puppies are easily broken by small children as they step on them, climb on them, and trip over them.

A toddler, expensive veterinary treatment, and a puppy with its leg in plaster is not a great combination.

However, if your kids are all over five, able to walk for an hour or so without needing to be carried, and to understand what a dog’s basic needs are, the chances are you will all enjoy and benefit from your new companion.

Is your family vegetarian? Dog’s are carnivores, they eat meat, are you prepared to handle fresh meat/cut it up and feed it to your dog? Dog’s need their meat.

6. Is a Labrador or Golden Retriever the right dog for you?

If you are certain that the time is right for you to bring a dog into your family, it is also worth considering whether a Labrador or Golden Retriever is really the right breed of dog for you and your family.xt to go here.


Contact Details

Amanda Smith
Newcastle / Dubbo, NSW, Australia
Email : [email protected]