Pawfect family!

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family – except, of course, for the family dog. Here’s how to choose the pawfect dog for your family.

Before you choose a dog…

Bringing a new dog into your life is a major decision.

  • Be sure you are ready for a dog before you start the process.
  • Examine your current lifestyle and consider what adjustments you are willing to make for a dog.
  • Look at the needs of your family – especially if you have children or other pets.
  • Think about the ideal size, energy level and age of your new dog.
  • It is also essential that you understand the cost of the ownership.
  • Determine where to get your new dog.
  • Just remember that getting a dog requires a firm commitment to a responsible pet parenting.

If you have decided that the time is right, now it is time to figure out what type of dog is right for you.

Choosing the pawfect companion…

Here are some tips to help you choose the best dog for you and your family:

It’s all in the breed!

There are certain features in a breed which when studied can help you and your family choose a particular breed, for example, there are breeds like lap dogs, working dogs, excessive droolers, popular dogs (like Pugs, etc), odd-looking pets, etc…. The wise would go in for counselling in order to get the best suited pet.

Size: Some of you might want a little lap dog that you can carry around. While, some might have your heart set on a large or giant dog breed. If you cannot decide, then perhaps a medium sized dog is a good choice.

Also, remember that small dogs tend to be delicate and vulnerable. Being stepped on or mishandled can cause serious injury. Don’t forget that small dogs need training too! Some little dogs can develop ‘tough dog’ attitudes, seemingly to compensate for their small size. Be sure you are prepared for this possibility.

While, very arge dogs need more space to move around. Big, happy dogs with long, whip-like tails need ‘wagging space’ to avoid tail injury or damage to household objects. Training is also a key factor here. If you get a large or giant breed puppy who is allowed to act like a lap dog when young, he will grow up to walk all over you – literally!

Energy level: A dog’s activity level is often determined by breed, but it does not mean you can rely on breed alone to determine how energetic your dog could become. Every dog needs routine exercise, regardless of breed or size, so make sure you can able to provide this. If you know you cannot commit to more than two casual walks per day, then you will probably be better off with a lower energy dog, such as a Basset Hound. If you are looking for a dog who can be a jogging partner, consider a Lab.

Be willing to adjust the amount of exercise and attention you give your dog if necessary. A dog who is barking constantly, digging up your yard, destroying your home, or acting out in some other way is most likely in need of extra activities. Many behaviour issues are the result of excess energy. Do consult a veterinarian for the exercise needs also.

Grooming requirements: Grooming falls in these categories -low maintenance, moderate maintenance and high maintenance. Certain breeds need more grooming based on the type of hair coat. If you get a dog with hair that keeps growing, then advanced routine grooming is essential. Most short-haired, smooth-coated dogs are major shedders, so be prepared to do some extra cleaning up. Some tools can help reduce shedding. Be aware that dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections and require frequent thorough ear cleanings. In addition, certain types of dogs can do a lot of drooling. Many owners of Mastiffs, Bloodhounds and similar dogs actually carry a ‘slobber cloth’ with them to wipe the drool.

Age factor: While most of us would like to bring home a puppy and enjoy his growing years, adopting an adult or senior dog can also be considered.

An adult might be a better choice if you want to have a better idea of the true energy level, attitude, and temperament of your new dog. However, just because the dog is an adult does not mean he is trained, so you should still expect some degree of dedicated training at first. Fortunately, many adult dogs have been trained and socialised to some degree and can easily adjust to their new lives.

Welcoming a senior dog into your home can be a wonderful way to bring joy to the golden years of a dog. Unfortunately, senior dogs are less likely to be adopted. A senior dog can make a wonderful companion if you are looking for a lower energy dog. However, it is important to know that your senior dog needs special care and time, more frequent veterinary check-ups and is more likely to develop health problems that cost time and money to address. Unlike a puppy or adult dog, you must know that you will not have as many years with your senior dog. If you are willing to accept the responsibilities, consider adopting a senior dog. It can be one of the most compassionate things you can do for these precious creatures.

Last but not the least, if we have pets, it means we need to give them quality time and energy, which will strengthen the bond between the pet and the pet parents. Happy pet parenting!

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