Should We Get A Puppy?
A dog is for life, not just Christmas
This slogan was the brain child of Clarissa Baldwin to reduce the thousands of puppies being abandoned post-Christmas having been purchased as Christmas presents. Unfortunately, this problem still remains and many puppies are purchased during the festive period without careful thought, research and ensuring that the recipient definitely wants one!
Not all Christmas pups will end up unwanted however, in most situations puppies do not make good surprise presents. Acquiring a dog is a life-changing experience. It involves commitment and responsibility. The arrival of a puppy will not only have a profound effect on the owner’s life but also on the lives of their family, friends, and any other pets they may own. Such an important decision should not be made lightly. Owning a dog involves a very long-term commitment.
Remember, the puppy will be reliant on their owner for everything, food, water, shelter, training, companionship – and love. Before anyone embarks on getting a puppy, it is vital that they consider why they want a dog at this stage in their life. They will need to examine their reasons honestly to ensure that they are totally prepared and are fully aware of all the implications, and potential pitfalls! This is a personal decision and one which cannot be made by anyone other than the new owner.
Can you commit to a dog?
It may seem obvious but, never buy on impulse! It is vitally important to consider in depth what you, both as an individual and as a family, can give a dog and how you will be able to fulfil a dog’s essential needs.
A dog’s fundamental needs fall into 2 main categories:
It is therefore important to look at your own lifestyle and situation. There are no hard and fast rules. Just as every snowflake that falls to earth is different, so is everyone’s circumstances. However, the fundamental needs of the dog must be met.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Can you predict any life changes, e.g. the birth of a baby? If so, this needs to be taken into account before making your decision.
• Does everyone in your immediate family want a dog? Who will take main responsibility for the new arrival? Are they prepared for the impact it will have on their lives?
• Is anyone in the household or close family/friends allergic to dogs? This does not necessarily prevent ownership as there are many non-moulting breeds to choose from, as well as a number of ‘poodle crosses’. However, be warned they still may trigger an allergic reaction!
• Is your living accommodation suitable for a dog to enable you to provide adequate shelter? The type and size of your house will usually determine the size of dog most suited to you. If you live in a flat, a small toy breed might provide the opportunity of dog ownership. If you have a garden is it dog-proof? Can your dog escape and cause a nuisance to neighbours, or pose a hazard to road users?
• Are there any restrictions in your property deeds or tenancy agreement on the keeping of pets, or any restrictions on specific breeds?
• Can you provide a dog with its own place of refuge where it can be assured of peace and quiet to relax? This might be its own bed, crate or kennel. Whilst dogs are essentially social animals, (a trait which they share with humans), and as such they enjoy social interaction, just like us they sometimes need some ‘me time’. Children should therefore, be taught to respect this and not be allowed to pester the dog.
• How house proud are you? Do you always insist on shoes being removed when entering your home? If so, how will you feel about a dog coming in with wet, smelly and muddy paws? Obviously, there are solutions, like washing a dog’s feet after a walk or visit to the garden, but this does entail extra work and time. Can you be bothered to do this when you may be feeling tired or are in the middle of watching your favourite TV programme?
• Can you afford to keep a dog? Consider things such as food, vet bills, training, boarding arrangements if you go away etc.
• Have you got the time and are you committed to training? Well behaved dogs don’t just happen. They are a result of an owner’s dedication to teaching them how to be obedient and well mannered.
After careful consideration, if you decide that you can offer a lifelong home for a dog the next stage is to thoroughly research and determine:
• Whether you want a particular breed
• Whether you wish to offer a rescue dog a home
• What food your dog will eat
Whichever you decide, you will want to ensure your new member of the family is getting the best nutrition available. At raw pet food manufacturer, Natural Instinct, they acknowledge pets as important members of the family and follow the ethos ‘you are what you eat’, offering a nutritional selection of complete and complementary meals and treats for dogs and cats. All of Natural Instinct’s products are made in Surrey using human grade ingredients with no artificial additives, colours, preservatives, fillers or grains. They are keen supporters of British produce and use only 100% British meats and the freshest fruit and vegetables.