Getting A Dog – Everything You Need To Know
How to choose the right dog for yourself? What are all the factors you should take in consideration before contacting your local shelter or dog breeder? Dig in and discover everything there is to know about getting a dog, as well as what will having a dog in your life mean - what you will have to provide your dog with, and how much time will you need to dedicate to his overall well being.
Dogs are so lovable creatures on Earth, especially when they are puppies, that it’s no wonder that people want to fulfill their lives by getting one for them.
Having a dog in your life is one of the most satisfying things one can experience in a lifetime.
But in order to get the right dog for you, it is necessary to analyze your lifestyle and habits as well as your new dog’s temperament traits and activity requirements. For you, choosing the right dog might mean adopting a senior dog that would better fit a more laid-back schedule, while for your neighbor, getting a puppy that will develop into an adult dog full of energy would be the only right choice.
Although you would surely bond with just any dog that you adopt, you will be able to enjoy the relationship with your pup much more if you choose it according to some factors. In order to have a happy pup, you need to spend some quality bonding time with him which will only be possible if you two are the right match.
Apart from finding the dog of the right breed, age, and sex for yourself, it is important that you are completely aware of what it means to get a dog. Taking care of your dog’s health, grooming, exercising, socializing as well as training will be your main duties. Remember that you’ll be taking care of another living creature that will depend primarily on you. As beautiful as having dogs in life can be, raising a puppy and keeping a dog healthy and happy requires discipline, patience, and perseverance.
Find out whether or not you’re ready for a dog and if you should be getting one soon or not.
Explore our table of contents first, and jump to each section in order to navigate more easily through our guide on Getting a dog.
1. Choosing The Right Dog
Welcoming a dog to your home will undoubtedly be among the best things you will ever do in your life. But, although it is something no one will ever regret doing, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider several things before finally getting a lifelong, furry friend. This essentially means that you should choose a dog only after you analyze your housing situation, finances, lifestyle and time availability.
Making sure you take all these factors in consideration will make not only your life with your new pet easier and less stressful, but it is also the only right thing to do in order to provide your new dog with a healthy and happy life he deserves.
Although getting just any dog without a lot of thinking might seem as the most humane thing to do, that’s really not true. In the end, it won’t be enough to only spend time with your dog on weekends and in those short after-work hours.
That’s why some factors such as lack of your free time, insufficient funds for the vet expenses, or simply a wrong kind of environment might make a dog depressed, anxious, or even sick. And that, you’ll agree, isn’t humane at all.
Therefore, let’s address all of these factors one by one before you finally decide to get a dog.
Are You Ready For A Dog?
First of all, are you really ready for a dog? And by this question we mean two things – Are you ready to enter a 15-year-long commitment in which an animal’s health and happiness will depend primarily on you? and Are you financially ready to get a dog?
You have to be completely aware that getting a dog doesn’t mean only cuddles and joyous encounters, but it is a relationship that requires time, attention, work, patience, and finally, money.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that having a dog will only mean hard work, perseverance, and discipline only. You will have plenty of fun raising your pup and bonding with your dog, but still, you will need to be responsible enough in order to satisfy all your dog’s needs.
Dogs are social creatures that need to spend their time with their owners, other people, and dogs. In order to adapt to the rules of your apartment, you will need to dedicate time for training for quite some time until your pup successfully accepts them.
Once you get a dog, it means you might not be as flexible as you used to be before. It means that you might have to skip that drink with your colleagues after work because your dog will be waiting for you at home. It also means you will have to be disciplined – your dog will need at least two walks a day and will need to be fed at the exact time each day.
You will also be responsible for your pup’s health.
In a way, getting a dog is like having a child, only that your child will be able to tell you what’s wrong at some point and will eventually be able to take care of itself. On the other hand, dogs are much different. They tend to hide when they are in pain or not feeling well so you will have to pay close attention to how your dog behaves, eats, drinks in order to really know if something is wrong.
Taking care of vaccinations, vet checkups, flea and tick medication and so on, will be your constant duties and will also require a sufficient amount of funds that will have to be reserved for your new pup only.
The expenses of having a dog can vary by a lot. You could spend much more if your dog develops a chronic health condition with time, or if you have to pay for dog boarding/daycare or dog sitters. You could also spend significantly less if you adopt a dog, can have your dog with you at all times and if your dog happens to be a completely healthy pupper that will only rarely require additional medication.
However, since these things can be quite unpredictable in the long run, it is crucial to understand that getting a dog while you’re trying to live on a budget is not really the best idea.
So, if you can respond with a YES to all of these questions, you are ready to get a dog and can move to our next question.
- Will you have enough time to spend on training, grooming, exercising, and playing with your dog?
- Are you patient enough?
- Are you aware that getting a dog requires responsibility and will certainly bring a lot of changes to your life?
- Do you have sufficient funds to take care of a dog?
To Buy A New Puppy Or To Adopt?
The first question that should arise when thinking about getting a dog is whether to adopt or opt for new puppies from a breeder. When wanting a dog of a certain breed, people often assume they can only find puppies from a breeder. However, shelters and rescue centers offer a big variety of dog breeds, purebred and mutt dogs of different ages, personalities and so on. Therefore, wanting a certain breed doesn’t necessarily limit you to breeders only.
When buying puppies from breeders there are plenty of pros, of course. First of all, you will be able to see your dog’s parents and have insights into their health records too. A responsible breeder will provide you with all the necessary details on parents which will give you a clear idea of what to expect from your puppy’s health condition. You will also be able to predict how your puppy will look like when reaches his full-grown size.
If you are willing to take your dog to a show ring, then getting a puppy from a good breeder is essential. Getting a new puppy might seem like the most logical and perfect solution at first, but there might be a couple of downsides to it too.
For instance, getting a puppy requires a lot of work. Also, buying from a breeder will cost you much more not only because of the price of the puppy but also for all vaccination, flea treatment and other medical expenses that you will have to do in the first year of your puppy’s life.
On the other hand, adopting a shelter dog is way less expensive than getting a puppy from a breeder. Not only you won’t pay for your new puppy, but you will also be able to save on medical expenses since almost all shelter staff makes sure that all dogs’ vaccinations are up to date. However, this doesn’t count if you’re adopting a puppy. In that case, you will still need to cover costs of first-year vaccinations, treatments and vet check-ups.
If you’re getting an adult shelter dog, you might even save on spaying/neutering expenses since most rescue centers make sure their dogs are sterilized in order to avoid unplanned pregnancies and overpopulation.
Shelter staff will always provide you with all the necessary information you need in order to choose the right kind of dog for you. However, if the dog turns out not to be the perfect fit for your home, most shelters will take the dog back.
And last but not least, by adopting a dog you are saving not only the life of a dog that will become your new family member, but you are also creating a new space for an abandoned dog waiting for a rescue center to provide him with some better living conditions.
Adoption is always the most humane thing to do, and all owners of adopted dogs will tell you that adopting a dog was one of the most gratifying things they have ever done. You will often hear that adopted dogs make the most grateful pets ever. They will never forget that you were the one to give them a second chance to live surrounded with love and provide them with good care.
Should You Get A Puppy or A Senior Dog?
If you decided to go for adoption, then you will be able to choose from a variety of dogs. The first thing that you have to define is whether a puppy or a senior dog is a better fit for you.
Adopting A Puppy
First of all, young puppies, just like newborns, need much more time and attention when compared to adult dogs you can adopt from local shelters. Not only do you have to pay attention to vaccination and micro-chipping, and dedicate more time to socializing your pup and teaching him the basic commands, but puppies might not enjoy every kind of environment either.
For instance, if you have small children, it is not wise to get a puppy at that time. Small kids might accidentally play a bit rougher with your new puppy and involuntarily hurt him. Young puppies might not understand that it was only a part of the game and might bite your kids out of fear. In this case, an adult dog adopted from a local shelter would probably be much more kid-friendly and would know how to handle games with kids much better.
Just like kids, puppies are full of energy and will need a lot of exercise time and enough of physical and mental stimulation. Not meeting their exercise and playing requirements might end up making your dog anxious or lead to behavioral issues. If you want a puppy, be ready to deal with a lot of crazy-pup moments for a while.
So, to sum it up, get a puppy if you:
- have enough time to raise a puppy
- want to be present in all phases of your pup’s raising
- want to shape your dog’s habits and behavior from the start
- have grown-up kids that won’t accidentally hurt your pup during playtime
- have sufficient funds and are willing to take care of all medical expenses that are necessary in the first year of a dog’s life
Adopting A Senior Dog
If you’re looking for a companion that is already accustomed to basic commands, potty-trained and already socialized, adopting an adult/senior dog might be a more reasonable choice for you.
When adopting a senior dog, you will know precisely your dog’s full-grown size, which is not the case with puppies. Also, the shelter staff will most likely provide you with a health record of your dog and will be able to tell you more on the dog’s personality and dominant traits.
Unlike puppies, adult dogs don’t need as many vaccinations nor a lot of isolation time to get their immunity stronger. This means that you will be able to fit your adult dog much better in your outdoor activities compared to a young puppy.
On the other hand, senior dogs will probably come with already formed personalities and habits, which can be both a good and a bad thing.
Knowing where and when to potty will surely be a positive side of the medal. But, an adult dog might have been used to lay on the couch in their primary home, and you might not be a big fan of it. So, this will require some additional time and work for your dog’s adaptation to the rules of his new home. Some bad experiences might have been imprinted in an adult dog’s mindset and made him more fearful, which will require hard work to change.
Better consider adopting an adult dog if you:
- don’t have enough time to spend on potty training and teaching your dog basic commands
- have small kids
- want to skip the crazy-puppy phase
- are looking for a companion that will follow you wherever you go
- have sufficient funds to take regular care of a dog, but won’t mind saving on first puppy vaccinations and microchips
How To Choose The Right Breeder?
If you choose to go with a breeder, then it is crucial to find a good, responsible one. There are way too many breeders that raise dogs and puppies in poor conditions, and a lot of puppy mills where puppies are being sold too intensely and being kept in inhumane conditions.
Although living in bad conditions might be enough to convince you that you should do a good research of breeders before finally buying a puppy, that’s not the main cause you should avoid these breeders. What makes them an absolutely unacceptable option is their poor breeding practices.
Due to these poor breeding practices, dogs might produce litters of puppies with genetic health problems. And you will only be able to find it out once your puppy grows into an adult dog. Therefore, it is crucial to find responsible breeders, not only to be sure that you’ll be getting a healthy, happy puppy but because puppy mills and bad breeders shouldn’t be supported by any means.
But what to do in order to find a responsible breeder? Follow these steps:
1. Consult your local kennel club
The most logical thing is to talk to your local kennel club. Usually, people choose local chapters of the American Kennel Club (AKC) because of the information they have on breeders. An AKC referral expert will probably get you on the right track.
2. Search Online
You can also search online for breeders. The good thing is that most responsible breeders have also social media profiles and they often post photos of puppies when they are still small, and after they have already been sold. You can contact them and ask whatever you feel is necessary.
So now you have several breeders to choose from, but how do you know which one is the best choice for you? How do you recognize a good breeder?
Run through this checklist, and you will immediately get the idea of what kind of approach you should be looking for in your new puppy’s breeder.
A responsible breeder:
- will allow you to visit the puppies and show you areas where dogs spend their time.
- will keep these spaces clean, aired, and maintained.
- wouldn’t over-breed their dogs or keep them confined to cages.
- will provide a proper environment for his breed. (Small dogs should be kept inside. Big, active dogs need outdoor space, etc.)
- doesn’t always have puppies available.
- will invite you to spend time with the puppy’s parents, or at least with the puppy’s mom.
- will only sell puppies to people he/she met in person and he believes would take good care of the puppy.
- gives suggestions and tips on how to train your puppy and provide it with good care.
- will explain all potential genetic or development problems that could occur in a puppy. (based on medical records of puppy’s parents and grandparents and the breed)
- will provide you with a written contract and health guarantee.
If these requirements are not met, chances are that the breeder you found is not good enough. You should get the impression the breeder cares who is buying the puppy too. Therefore, a good breeder would probably ask you why you want a dog, who will be responsible for training, feeding or training, what kind of environment will the puppy live in and so on.
Finally, a good indication of a good breeder is seeing that dogs are clean, healthy, well-socialized and look generally happy and also kept in spacious, clean areas.
Should You Get A Female or A Male Dog?
Before get into factors based on which you should choose the breed of your puppy, it will be useful to know whether a female or a male dog is more suitable for you and your family.
Although there aren’t great differences between them, some specific traits and characteristics might lead you more towards a girl or a boy puppy.
Male puppies might grow to be a bit larger and heavier than female ones, but that’s usually not a matter that will influence someone’s choice. What, on the other hand, can have a heavier impact on your choice are their hormonal differences.
Differences In Temperament Between Female And Male Dogs
There’s a common misconception that male dogs are more aggressive than female dogs. What is true, however, is that male dogs are more likely to threaten or challenge in order to show their dominance. This is a normal part of social ordering behavior in animals. But these “threats” rarely end up in an attack. On the other hand, females will rather show their dominance in the presence of other female dogs than in presence of human strangers (AKA “threats”).
One study found that females were less likely to engage in social play with humans when compared to male dogs. On the other hand, females are more inclined toward cooperative behavior with humans.
Other studies focused on trainability of dogs found that male dogs are faster in adopting different strategies to locate an item, while female dogs are more focused.
In any case, a dogs temperament depends primarily on his personality, his breed and whether or not he’s neutered (spayed). This brings us to the conclusion that you have to consider your dog’s sex if you’re not planning to spay/neuter because it is only then that the differences are more noticeable.
Check out this cute video to see how differently a male and a female husky react to cuddling.
Hormonal Differences Between Female And Male Dogs
As puppies grow, they approach their sexual maturity which causes bodily and behavior changes. For male puppies, this usually means nothing more than having increased energy and a pronounced interest toward female dogs.
But for female dogs, reaching sexual maturity comes with more changes. First of all, female dogs come into heat which will require more care as well as avoidance of male dogs during this time. Dogs usually go into heat twice a year for two to three years. During the heat cycle, female dogs should be kept away from male dogs in order to avoid unintended pregnancies. This also means that you wouldn’t be able to walk your female dog at this time.
Unless you spay your dog, heat cycle can cause also a bit of mess inside the house because of the bloody discharge.
Most dog owners decide to spay/neuter their dogs as soon as they reach their full-grown size, however, others that wish to breed their dogs don’t. In case you want to breed your dog in future, or simply don’t want to neuter or spay because your dog’s breed might be more susceptible to certain diseases when altered, the differences between female and male dogs will be slightly more pronounced.
Intact males might begin to mark more, mount and roam. You should find ways to prevent your dog from roaming in search of a female. On the other hand, females will mostly change only when they get into heat.
Choosing The Right Breed
Now we came to the final factor in choosing the right dog for you – the breed. There are over 339 dog breeds recognized by the FCI, and many other cross-breeds that are still not recognized by major kennel clubs. Usually obvious appearance differences usually guide people to choose certain breeds over others, but actually, other traits such as trainability, independence, activity levels, or friendliness are factors you should base your decision on.
A Weimaraner, a sporting dog, will need significantly more exercise and outdoor time compared to a French bulldog. But a French bulldog might have more inherited genetic problems than a Weimaraner. A Golden Retriever will be a perfect companion to small kids, while a Chihuahua might not.
There are a lot of differences in breed temperaments that are due to the reason the breed was primarily created for. Some dogs were bred to chase after small animals during hunting, which is why they will have a stronger prey instinct than breeds that were initially bred to be cattle dogs.
Since we could write an entire novel on what makes each dog breed unique, let’s focus on traits you should be looking for that will help you restrain your choice to only several breeds.
Where Do You Live?
The first thing you should take into account is your living situation. And by that we mean two things:
How extreme is the weather where you live?
Some dog breeds might not be suitable for extremely low or high temperatures. For instance, Northern husky-like breeds wouldn’t enjoy excessively hot and humid locations, the same as Southern hairless breeds wouldn’t do well on too much snow or freezing temperatures.
In addition, some breeds such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, English Bulldogs, etc, have short muzzles and shortened airways which makes them more susceptible to respiratory issues. The risk of respiratory issues worsens with too much heat or humidity.
Therefore, make sure to choose a breed that would be able to enjoy your surroundings. You wouldn’t want your new puppy to suffer only because you didn’t think everything through in the beginning.
Do you live in an apartment or in a house?
If you’re living in a house, most likely all dog breeds would be suitable for you. But if you live in an apartment, the choice of breed might be slightly more restricted.
You will probably have more variety and choice between medium and small sized dogs than in large and giant dogs. However, there are some large sized dog breeds that are highly adaptable to living in an apartment environment as well. These are usually the ones that are more low-energy than highly-active dogs such as the Bullmastiff.
So if living in an apartment, you’ll have to take in consideration these factors: dog breed’s size, adaptability and energy levels.
Do you have a yard?
Some dog breeds require outdoor spaces in order to thrive. On the other hand, toy companion breeds might not need green spaces as much and as often as their large cousins. Each breed is specific, as we previously mentioned, but whether or not your dog can spend time outside will also influence your breed choice.
Getting a giant dog of high exercise needs for a home with a small yard will be almost cruel. Medium-sized or small sized dogs are usually the perfect choices for small yards.
On the other hand, if you have a really large yard, you might want to consider getting a guard dog. You will have your own personal guardian that will always alert you in the presence of a threat, and your dog will have a lot of fun and exercise too while being “on duty”.
If you have a big yard, look for dogs that are described as guard dogs.
How Would You Describe Your Lifestyle?
If you lead an active, sporty life aside from your work, you don’t want to get a dog that wouldn’t be able to keep up with your pace. Therefore, make sure you get a dog breed that is as active as you are (or as you plan to be). Some dogs can suffer from heatstroke or over-exhaustion when overly exercised, so your lifestyle type is crucial when choosing a dog.
On the other hand, other breeds might be more suitable for someone that works from home and spends most of their time indoors. If you can bring your dog with you at all times and are spending a lot of time surrounded with different people, friends, relatives, colleagues and so on, you should also look for a dog that is friendly towards people and other dogs.
So, in this case, the tip will be to look for the dog breed’s activity and exercise needs, as well as friendliness.
If you’re a parent that has small kids, you should pick your new dog carefully. Contrary to what you may think, medium-sized dogs might be more suitable for families with small children than small or toy ones. If you’re a parent look for kid-friendly breeds.
Also, make sure you don’t get a hunting dog if you have other animals at home, because his prey drive could suddenly become more pronounced and cause some irreversible damage to some of your household members. There are breeds that are more friendly towards other dogs and animals than others, so make sure you don’t skip this trait either.
To make it simple, the rule here to follow is to find the dog that has similar preferences to yours. Thanks to the availability of all common characteristics of each breed, that shouldn’t be very hard to discover. If you’re more a laid back person, find a dog that will enjoy your daily rhythm. You love to stay active and spend all your spare time outside in the parks, besides the river, etc.? Then find an active dog that will be just like his owner.
Do You Have Enough Time To Dedicate To Your Dog?
Getting a dog requires a lot of work, especially when they are puppies. Not only does that mean that you will have to spend a significant amount of hours training and walking your dog in the park, but socializing your dog properly is also a crucial step in order to have a happy and healthy furry friend.
As we previously mentioned, dogs are social creatures that need to spend time with their family members and other dogs as well. It’s not for no reason that dogs get so excited when they see their owners finally coming back from work.
When dogs don’t spend sufficient time with their most loved ones (their owners), they can develop behavioral habits or mental issues such as depression, and anxiety. In fact, leaving a dog alone for too long might easily lead to separation anxiety which will make your dog feel miserable.
Just like in humans, anxiety or depression may lead to further health issues such as loss of appetite, trembling or shaking, loss of interest and lethargy. No dog owner wants to see their pet suffer which is why it’s important to bear in mind that your dog will be happiest when he can spend time with you.
Therefore, getting a dog while you work full-time hours and have no one that could cover that time when you’re away, will probably not be the best idea. However, you can hire dogsitters, or bring your dog to a dog daycare. Providing your dog with multiple toys will also help to keep your dog busy while you’re away. If you’re willing to organize your dog’s time when you’re not around, then you can still consider getting a dog.
It is good to know that there are certain breeds that tolerate slightly better being alone compared to breeds that are bred primarily as companion breeds and that need the presence of their owner in order to be happy. These breeds that hate being left alone are usually the ones that develop separation anxiety most easily.
It would be wise to check whether your favorite breed will adapt well to your working hours and to consider the best ways to keep them busy when you have to leave them alone.
Another factor that will influence the amount of time you will have to spend on taking care of your dog is maintenance and grooming. Some breeds require daily brushing in order to keep their long coat smooth and silky, while others might need brushing only occasionally – once or twice a week. You should take into account that some dog breeds shed significantly more than others, while others shed only minimally or don’t shed at all.
Depending on the fur your pup has, you’ll have to spend hours brushing, grooming, bathing or cleaning the hair around your home, or you would need to occasionally brush, bathe once in one or two months and clean as frequently as you would normally do.
Are You Allergic?
If you or someone from your family is allergic to dogs, then your dog breed selection is rather limited. Luckily, there are a lot of hypoallergenic dog breeds that are suitable even for people with strong allergic reactions.
Since most of these breeds are small, and some people simply love bigger dogs, breeders from across the world have started to crossbreed Poodles with other dog breeds in order to get a mixed breed that will inherit Poodle’s allergy-friendly fur and still have some of the other parent breed’s traits. For instance, some of these are Labradoodles, Sheepadoodles, Australian Labradoodles, and many more Doodles that are incredibly adorable.
However, it is hard to call all these Doodles entirely hypoallergenic because of the traits they might inherit from the other parent breed.
2. Preparing The Environment
So, now you might have a clearer idea of which breed you should choose. If that’s not the case, do not panic, just take your time to explore different dog breeds and the perfect dog for you will just pop out. There are tons of different breeds, so you will surely be able to find the one that will be the best fit for you.
You also might have already contacted your local Shelter center or responsible breeders in order to get your new puppy and you should be welcoming your new furry family member in the near future. As overwhelming as welcoming a puppy to your home might be, it is quite likely that you might forget to purchase all things your dog needs in order to make your dog feel at home.
However, it is not only the toys, bed, or leash that you have to think about. You should also make sure that the environment your dog is coming into is dog-friendly. This won’t require a lot of work, but since it’s better to be safe than sorry, you should pay attention to some details in order to protect your dog from hidden hazards lurking from corners of your house.
Preparing your house as well as your yard to be dog-friendly will also ease your training process as it will help you establish rules you want your dog to follow since the very start.
Inside The House
There are plenty of toxic foods, potentially harmful objects and even fatal items or plants that could be dangerous hazards to your new pup. Some of these items are only dangerous because they represent choking hazards that can either keep your pup without air or end up in an intestinal blockage in an adult dog.
This means that you should keep away from your pup’s reach all the potentially dangerous items such as decorations, rocks, bigger-than-your-dog’s-bite-size plastic items and so on.
What is also very important is to not feed your pup with any human food you are currently having. Some foods such as grapefruit and grapes could be fatal to dogs even if consumed in small amounts. Therefore, before your dog arrives it would be wise to learn more about toxic foods for dogs. You should make sure all your family members are also aware of the risks of sharing these foods to your dog. There are plenty of people that just assume sharing a small bite of what they’are eating with a dog won’t cause any harm. While that might be true in most cases, in others it can intoxication and an immediate visit to the vet.
Another specific situation is when there are plenty of new objects in the house, such as Christmas time. Often, we all decorate the Christmas tree, light up the candles and fill our rooms with all sorts of beautiful decorations. However, a lot of them can be dangerous to pets (both cats and dogs), which is why you should try to keep them away from areas your dog spends time in, or at least to make sure your pup can’t reach any of them.
Of course, keep all detergents, household cleaning products, alcohol, and other harmful substances away from your pup’s reach.
In The Yard
The first thing you have to do in your yard when preparing the environment for your new pup is to make sure that it is properly fenced. Dogs love to wander and they roam, especially when they become sexually mature, which is why it is completely normal that they would look for ways to “see what’s going on outside of the yard”.
Obviously, no dog owner wants that to happen, but it is a common thing that sometimes you can forget about that hole in your fence that has been there for several years now, but you just don’t have time to fix it. This might be the perfect time to repair it and ensure your pup will have a safe playground from which he wouldn’t be tempted to escape from.
However, there’s another thing you should pay closer attention to – poisonous plants and trees. While dogs generally shouldn’t have the need to chew or eat leaves and plants, sometimes it can occur by accident and eating the wrong kind of plants could cause some serious damage to your pup’s health.
There’s an entire list of poisonous plants for dogs that should be kept away from them. But, since some of them are really common and not-so-easy to move (such as Thujas or Boxwoods), you should make sure not to keep your dog’s bowls underneath these trees. By doing so, you will lower the risks of your pup having seizures, intestinal blockages, gastrointestinal issues or other more fatal conditions that could be caused by ingestion of certain plants.
Dog Adoption Checklist
Now that you’re aware of all potential hazards that are present in your house, we can move to what you need to buy in order to make your living space a perfect home to your new pup.
In order to transport your pup to your home, you will need a carrier of proper size. You will also be able to use this when you’re bringing your pup to the vet check-ups, or when you’re traveling. If you know what your dog’s full-grown size will be, buy a carrier that will fit his adult dimensions so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on multiple carriers.
You will notice that there are also crates that people usually get for bigger dogs and that can be used in your home as well. Make sure you choose the crate of adequate size in order to ensure your dog can feel comfortable when inside. However, do not buy a crate too big, because it could potentially lead to some behavioral issues in future, such as your dog peeing in crate.
Even if you would like your pup to sleep in bed with you, you should buy him a comfortable bed where he could take naps and relax after long walks.
In order to walk your dog, you will need a collar and a leash of the proper type. Different dog ages, as well as different dog breeds, require different types of collars. For example, small and toy breeds usually wear harnesses instead of collars because their necks are much more sensitive. The choice of these items will also depend on the training approach you will adopt. Poop bags are among the things people often forget to buy, so make sure they are on your shopping list as well.
Buying the food and water bowls of adequate size, as well as the right kind of dog food, are the crucial elements of your dog’s first feeding habits. Of course, don’t forget to buy him treats that will help you teach your new pup plenty of tricks and basic commands.
A thing all new dog owners should know is that puppies explore worlds around them with their mouths. That’s why they often bite on things and chew on different objects. While some level of chewing is fine, when not controlled it can develop into a behavioral issue that will probably end up in your furniture being completely destroyed and your shoes being eaten to bits. This is why it’s crucial to buy them chewing toys in order to satisfy their chewing needs and keep the wrong kind of chewing under control.
As you probably know, dogs love toys. They stimulate their brains and provide an excellent source of entertainment throughout the day. Make sure you buy different kinds of toys in the beginning so you can find out which ones are your dog’s favorites. There is plenty of variety today when it comes to dog toys – interactive toys, all sorts of balls, Kong toys, etc.
Finally, you also have to buy proper grooming items for your pup as well. Add a shampoo, brush and a comb to your shopping list, and you’re good to go!
Here’s an infographic you can save to your phone or print out in order to make sure you bought everything your pup needs.
3. Choosing The Best Dog Food
Apart from taking care of your dog’s physical activity needs, feeding your dog with a well-balanced diet is a crucial part of your dog’s overall health and well-being. Just like any other living being, canine bodies need to get all the vitamins, minerals and other important compounds from food. When some of these important parts of balanced nutrition are missing, a dog’s bodily functions might not work properly and potentially lead to serious diseases or other minor health conditions.
Today, fulfilling your dog’s nutritional requirements isn’t a difficult task to do since most commercial dog foods already contain everything your dog needs. However, some people prefer to feed a raw food diet to their pups because they believe it benefits their companions more than regular kibble food.
If you still don’t know your stance on this topic, don’t worry. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about a dog’s nutrition and help you choose the best kind of food for your new pupper.
Nutritional Requirements Of A Dog
Because of the dog’s genetic relation to wolves, most people think that dogs are carnivores. Although dogs can’t survive without protein in their diets, this isn’t entirely true. Their nutritional needs of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals can’t be completely satisfied with a meat-based diet only. Therefore, dog’s food needs to be enriched by grains, fruit, and vegetables in order to ensure a pup’s optimal overall health and well-being.
Before explaining how you should pick the right kind of food for your dog, let’s list out all the nutrients a dog needs.
- Amino Acids from Proteins – Dogs need 10 specific amino acids contained in protein that their bodies cannot make. These compounds are essential for creating carbon chains needed to produce energy. Protein also has a crucial role in maintaining muscle strength. Therefore, always make sure your dog’s food contains all 10 essential amino acids.
- Fatty Acids from Fats – Fats represent the most concentrated source of energy of a dog’s nutrition. Dietary fats are important because of their supply of fatty acids that play an important role in the absorption of vitamins. Fatty acids also support cell function and health. A well-balanced nutrition should contain both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
- Carbohydrates – Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates have to be contained in a dog’s diet in order to sustain his energy needs. Both fermentable (starches and dietary fibers) and digestible carbohydrates (glucose and fructose) are important for stabilizing and enhancing a dog’s immune function. These compounds are usually implemented to commercial dog foods through the addition of cereal and legumes.
- Vitamins – Vitamins are necessary organic compounds that enable a proper metabolic function in dogs. Since dogs can’t produce important vitamins in sufficient quantities in their own bodies, the daily intake of these compounds has to come from their diet. Vitamins are important because they boost the immune system and maintain the proper function of the nervous system.
- Minerals – Minerals can’t be synthesized in bodies, which is why it is only possible to get them from food. They play an important role in bone strength and growth, carrying oxygen, wound healing, supporting nerve transmission and regulating fluid balance. Potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus are just some of them and each of them is responsible for some of the important roles we just mentioned. Different foods contain different minerals, which explains why having a well-balanced diet leads to stronger overall health and immune system.
While vitamins and minerals are paramount of a dog’s health, carbs, fats, and proteins are the ones responsible for the energy supply of each dog. However, not all of them are necessary in equal amounts. The general ratio to follow when choosing the right dog food is 45% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 25% fats.
However, every dog has unique nutritional requirements depend on his size, breed, stage in life, and other factors such as health condition, activity levels, pregnancy, etc. So an active Pitbull might need more protein than a laid back English Bulldog. Also, puppies need specific requirements and a higher supply of calcium compared to adult dogs.
Raw Food vs Dry Kibble Food
Now, the question that arises is whether you should feed your dog with raw or dry kibble food. Although you can make this decision on your own, it is highly advisable to discuss it with your veterinarian. Sometimes you might not be able to entirely predict what are the precise nutritional needs of your dog because they depend on several specific factors. Your vet will consider your dog’s overall health, lifestyle, as well as his activity level before telling you more on how you should feed your dog right.
However, not all vets will support your idea to feed your dog with a raw food diet, which means that in case you decide to go raw, you’ll have to find a vet that knows more on raw nutrition.
But why do a lot of people today advocate raw food as the best nutritional choice for their furry friends? Let’s see what are some benefits these people claim to have noticed in their pups thanks to feeding them only raw.
Raw Food For Dogs
Benefits of Raw Food
- Healthier skin
- Shinier coats
- Increased energy
- Smaller stools
- Improved dental health
But let’s take a look at what some downsides to raw food might be:
- Feeding your dog with raw food diet is much more time consuming
- Handling raw food requires more care
- Raw food is more expensive than kibble
- The risk of the food being contaminated with salmonella, E-coli, camplylobacter, or listeria is much higher.
If you’re aware of the potential risk and don’t mind that feeding your dog with raw will require much more work, patience, and money, you should know what is raw diet usually made of.
As we previously mentioned, dogs need sufficient amounts of amino acids from proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids as well as vitamins and minerals in order to have a well-balanced nutrition. With kibble food, all these nutritional requirements are regulated by law, hence each commercial dog food will have all of the necessary nutritive elements that a dog needs. With a raw food diet, on the other hand, you are the one that should take care of your dog’s nutrition balance.
In order to ensure that a dog will have all his nutritional needs met, a well-balanced raw diet should consist of organ meats, muscle meats, whole or ground bones, raw eggs, fruits and vegetables considered to be safe for dogs, and ,sometimes, yogurt .
Dry Kibble Dog Food
With dry kibble dog food, you can be sure that all nutritional needs of a dog will be met. However, there are certain brands and types of kibble food that are better than others. The first ingredient of the kibble dog food is its prevalent ingredient. So, high-quality kibble dog food will have the protein as the main ingredient, while less good food will be primarily grain-based.
Kibble food is obtained by cooking and processing all the ingredients found in it. The required ingredients found in kibble food include: protein sources like beef, poultry, fish, and eggs, grains, cereals, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
But let’s take a look at what are some benefits of dry kibble dog food.
Dry Kibble Dog Food Benefits
- Reduced dental plaque
- Healthier gums
- Reduced risk of bacteria contamination
Unlike with raw diet, nutrition based on kibble food is much more cost-effective, not only because it initially costs less, but also because there’s less risk of food spoilage. It will also be a lot easier to store your dog’s food.
Look for single or novel sources of protein, such as lamb, chicken or salmon, in your dog’s kibble food. It’s good to know that some dogs might have sensitivities towards certain types of grains (corn, wheat or soy) or even protein. In that case, you will need to change your dog’s nutrition and find out which ingredient is causing an allergic reaction.
There are plenty of varieties in dry kibble food today, so it is always better to consult your vet on how to properly choose the right dry food for your dog. Remember that each dog has specific food requirements that depend on his age, size, activity level and overall health condition.
4. Dog Nutrition Basics
Now that you know what to look for in a dog’s food, it’s necessary to know how much and how often should you feed your dog. The first thing we will explain is how to determine what is the ideal calorie intake your dog should have on a daily basis. We will also tell you more about different feeding methods and their specific benefits.
In order to fulfill their nutritional requirements, each dog has to get a sufficient amount of calories. Being feed with too little food might result in a poorly developed dog, as well as in vitamin or mineral deficiencies that could lead to more serious health conditions. On the flip side, feeding a dog with a diet of too high caloric value could result in obesity and cause other kinds of medical issues.
Therefore, determining what is the ideal calorie intake for your dog is the first step you need to do before starting to feed him.
A dog’s caloric requirements are determined on several different factors such as age, weight, level of activity, sex, whether the dog is intact or neutered/spayed, and weather conditions.
A puppy won’t need the same amount of calories as an active, adult dog, just like a pregnant dog would need a diet of a higher caloric intake compared to a low-activity senior dog. As your puppy grows, his energy needs will change throughout his life – the more active he becomes, the more calories he will need. Similarly, as your dog reaches his senior years and his activity decreases, he will be needing a smaller calorie intake than before.
Another thing that is often not mentioned enough when talking about the right calorie intake for dogs are the weather conditions. Just like us, when low temperatures arrive dogs need more calories than in summer. You shouldn’t overfeed your dog during summer, because when too much food is combined with excessive heat it could lead to exhaustion or even potentially to heat stroke.
Use this chart to determine your dog’s right daily calorie intake.
|Dog’s Weight||Summer Needs||Winter Needs*||Puppy Needs||Dieting Needs|
|5 lb (2.3 kg)||120||180||200||150|
|10 lb (4.5 kg)||420||630||700||270|
|20 lb (9 kg)||700||1050||1200||470|
|30 lb (13.6 kg)||930||1400||1400||580|
|50 lb (22.7 kg)||1350||2000||2000||880|
|70 lb (31.8 kg)||1680||2500||2500||1100|
|100 lb (45.4 kg)||2400||3600||3600||1380|
However, be aware that your vet might suggest a higher or a lower calorie intake based on your dog’s specific health condition.
Puppies need to be fed several times per day. This means that you will have to divide the entire daily food intake into 3-5 meals and feed it every 2 to 3 hours.
However, the situation with adult dogs is different. There are two main feeding methods, both of which have their benefits and downsides.
It is usually advised to feed your dog twice: once in the morning and once in the evening. This is what is called a scheduled, portion controlled feeding.
On the other hand, there is also a free feeding method which consists of letting your dog choose how much and when she wants to eat. In this free feeding approach, the bowl is filled with food and left unsupervised. The good thing about free feeding is that you don’t have to think about arriving in time to feed your dog if you’re coming late from work. And in fact, dogs usually prefer this way of feeding, but, there’s also a big downside of this way of feeding.
If your dog doesn’t control his appetite and start over-eating, it could lead to weight gain and other health problems that come with it. Also, free feeding is not suitable for dogs that have a raw food diet since their food can spoil more quickly than dry kibble food.
That’s why most people decide to go with the scheduled feeding.
Recently, scientists have been researching the benefits of intermittent fasting in dogs, claiming that this way of feeding comes the most natural to them because of their genetic proximity to wolves. While there are definitely some benefits to this way of feeding, it might not be wise to decide to fast your dog without a previous consultation with your vet.
Fasting is definitely good occasionally, but it has to be performed under the right conditions.
In order to ensure proper and well-balanced nutrition to your new puppy, we also need to mention several rules when it comes to treats.
Treats are fun and useful, and they can help us a lot in the training process. But are there some limits to how much you can share?
First of all, let’s say a couple of things about the types of treats. You can always buy some treats from your local pet store, but is there anything from your food that you can share with your pup?
Well, while there are a lot of foods that are considered to be safe for dogs, there are other foods that can be very harmful as well. As you may know, dogs digest food differently than us. As a result they don’t need as much vegetables and fruits as we do, but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from some foods such as broccoli, pumpkin, cantaloupe etc.
So, apart from commercial dog treats, you can share some veggies and other foods safe for dogs, or you could make some of these yummy homemade dog treats that your pup will love.
Last but not least, a rule that you always need to follow when it comes to treats is that treats should never exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. This way you will ensure your pup gets all the nutrients he needs while finding some time and space to have fun while giving your dog his favorite treats.
5. Keeping Your Dog Healthy
Now that nutritional requirements needed to have a healthy pup are fulfilled, we can continue explaining other crucial elements of your future pup’s health.
As you probably imagine, paying attention to your dog’s nutrition, to what he can eat or not, isn’t really enough in order to ensure your puppy grows to be one healthy dog. Maintaining your dog’s hygiene, as well as preventing the occurrence of certain diseases make equally important parts of your pet’s health.
When your dog is still a puppy, prevention measures, as well as vaccination shots, will be more frequent than when your puppy reaches his adult years. That’s why it’s important to know right from the start what will be your duties in the first years of your puppy’s life.
There’s plenty of debate in the medical world on whether vaccination is good or bad for puppies. One thing is sure, over vaccinating isn’t a good idea in any case, but also, not vaccinating your puppy might not only expose him to a number of fatal diseases, but some of these diseases could be easily spread to humans and other animals.
Therefore, you should know which vaccines are absolutely essential for your pup’s optimal health, and which ones are necessary only in certain conditions and when your vet advises you.
Core vaccines are the ones that each dog must have, and they include the DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) and Rabies vaccine. On the other hand, non-core vaccines are optional and are advised only in specific cases such as when your dog travels abroad with you or lives in certain geographic areas, etc. Non-core vaccines include Kennel Cough, Lyme disease, Leptospirosis or Coronavirus.
Apart from choosing the right kind of recommended non-core vaccines for your pup, it is crucial to know when to bring your pup to the vet to get the shots. Some shots need to be renewed once a year, others need a 2-year or 3-year renewal, while vaccine shots that are administered to puppies have to be given more frequently in order to properly immunize your dog against these diseases.
Print out this useful puppy vaccination schedule and never miss your next puppy vaccination date.
Flea and tick protection is crucial in order to prevent the occurrence of potentially dangerous flea-borne or tick-borne diseases. Your vet will most likely guide you to how and when you should be doing it. However, when spring arrives and beautiful days unravel it is easy to forget about fleas and ticks. The first warm days of the years are when fleas and ticks are hungry the most and are lurking everywhere from green surfaces to find their next victim.
Topical prevention has proved to be very efficient, so make sure you always get them before your dog collects a tick from the park.
Maintaining Fur, Nails, Teeth and Ears
Each dog requires a different frequency of grooming sessions. Depending on the length, thickness, and texture of their fur, you might need to brush your dog more or less frequently. In order to have smooth coats without mats or tangles, some dogs need to be brushed on a daily bases, while others require only weekly brushing.
By brushing your dog regularly you’re not only controlling the intensity of shedding, but you’re also keeping your dog’s fur healthier. By brushing regularly and bathing your dog occasionally, you’re making sure his skin and hair remain healthy.
Maintaining your pet’s coat might also include occasional haircuts at the groomer’s since some dogs (especially the ones that don’t shed) need to trim their hair in order to be their best-looking selves. The groomer would probably trim your dog’s nails as well.
Nails need to be trimmed from time to time, but that has to be performed in the correct way in order to avoid hurting your dog unintentionally. Ask your vet or your groomer how they do it and consult them on the type of nail clipper you should get.
But that’s not it. To have a healthy dog, you also need to take care of your pup’s oral health. That means that you should buy a toothbrush and a toothpaste that are specifically designed for dogs, and try to get your pup used to teeth brushing sessions while he is still very young. The habit of brushing your dog’s teeth is especially important if you own a dog of a large breed, but it will, however, be very useful for smaller breeds too. Brushing your dog’s teeth on a daily basis is considered as ideal, but if there’s no presence of potential dental problems, even three times per week might be more than enough.
Finally, checking and cleaning your dog’s ears is a very important step in your dog’s maintenance. It often goes unnoticed, but a lot of dirt can collect under those ear folds which, when not cleaned regularly, can lead to ear infections and bring a lot of pain to your pup. Make sure you also trim any excessive hair in your dog’s ears, because that’s where bacteria collect more easily.
All previous segments wouldn’t be enough with proper exercise. Keeping your dog physically active will not only keep him physically strong and agile, but it will also ensure his mental healthiness and overall great wellbeing. Dogs are meant to run, hunt, chase after other animals, or dig, which is why having a sedentary way of life can have a major impact on their health.
Without regular daily exercise, dogs might develop not only health issues, more allergies, and have a generally weaker immune system, but they can also be less socialized with other dogs and strangers. When pups are not used to social interactions with other dogs or people, they might be more fearsome than they should, which could easily result in aggressive behavior. Also, a proper amount of exercise will make sure your dog’s sleep is tidy and healthy.
It’s needless to explain, but dogs that are active and get at least 60 minutes of daily exercise, are the ones that are the happiest. Expelling their energy while being outside will result in a calmer dog that will probably be more willing to focus on your training sessions.
However, not all dog breeds and dogs of all ages need the same amount of exercise. Working and sporting dogs such as Huskies, Sighthounds will need plenty of time to run, while a Maltese or a Bichon would be perfectly happy with a 40-minute walk in the park. Also, when dogs get into their senior years (after 8 years of age) their activity levels will decrease.
Keeping Your Dog Safe During Extreme Temperatures
People discover this when it’s already too late, but heatstroke is quite common in dogs, and, unfortunately, it is often fatal. Similarly, a lot of dogs might suffer from frostbite and freezing due to extremely low temperatures. Although this usually occurs in stray and abandoned dogs, it is very important to know when it is too cold for your dog to stay outside and make sure he always has a warm shelter to stay in.
On the other hand, dogs can become overheated when they are outside for too long on a hot day without shade and a sufficient amount of water, or after a strenuous exercise. However, breeds with short muzzles (brachycephalic breeds) are more susceptible to heatstroke than others because of their shortened airways. These breeds usually don’t handle well a lot of exercise, but on warm/hot days their owners should make sure not to overtire them because it could lead to fatal consequences.
Keeping your dog hydrated, as well as providing him with a shaded/air-conditioned area to relax at will prevent overheating from occurring. Also, no matter how fit your dog might be, avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot or warm and humid days.
How well your dog will handle extreme temperatures depends on his age, size, the overall state of health and the dog breed. Northern breeds will prefer freezing temperatures much more to sunny, summer days, the same as a Xoloitzcuintli would more likely enjoy melting hot days than ice-cold winter.
Check out this chart and learn when you should keep your dog inside your home vs when you can let him spend more time outside.
6. Dog Training Essentials
Now that we covered all health matters of getting and growing a dog, we should tell you more on dog behavior. Let’s assume you would like your new puppy to be able to respect some house rules such as – no jumping on the coach, no chewing on furniture, no barking to get attention. In order to make your dog understand what you’re expecting from him, you need to know how to communicate well with him.
Unfortunately, dogs don’t understand us, at least not entirely, but they can pick up commands and learn to respond to certain words. Sometimes even picking up simple commands could require a significant amount of time and work, but in order to completely house train your dog, you will need patience, consistency and a good, positive-reinforcement approach.
The amount of time you’ll have to spend teaching your pup a certain thing depends on the dog itself. Some breeds such as Poodles are more trainable than others, while other dogs (Terrier breeds) might be more stubborn and require more work.
When they are still puppies the training process might be more difficult because of their short attention span. On the other hand, training dogs while they are still very young will bring much better results in the long run. Puppies will learn about the rules from the very start which will make the adaptation to their environment easier than one of an adult dog that needs readjust to new rules.
Dog owners might be more or less motivated to train their dogs to act funny and perform different tricks on their commands, however, there are some basic things every dog should know. The more your dog learns to follow the rules, the more you will be able to include your dog in your other activities.
If your dog is well house trained, then you will be able to visit your relatives and friends with him, instead of leaving him home alone. Also, since dog-friendly offices are spreading all over the country, bringing a well-disciplined dog that obeys his owner’s commands to work would be much easier than bringing a dog that just does whatever comes to his mind.
Potty Training Your Dog
The first step in house training a dog is, obviously, potty training. But how exactly should you do it?
In order to instill your pup’s good potty habits, you have to take two factors in mind. The first one is the size of your puppy, the smaller the breed the smaller his bladder will be. That means that smaller puppies will need more frequent potty breaks compared to puppies of a bigger sized breed. The second factor is your puppy’s previous potty habits. If your pup was used to using a pad to pee instead of going outside, he might need more time to realize that peeing inside the house is not a behavior you want in your home.
The perfect time to start potty training a puppy is between 12 and 16 weeks of age. This is the time when puppies develop the ability to control their bladders and bowel movements. Experts suggest that in the beginning, you should limit your puppy’s movement to a defined space such as a crate, a room, or just being held on a leash. Whenever your puppy does the business outside and not in the house, you can reward him by giving him more space and freedom to roam around.
Following these steps with consistency should get your puppy on the right track to become a perfectly house trained dog:
- Feed your puppy always at the same time of the day.
- Take your puppy out first thing in the morning to let him do his business.
- Take potty breaks every 30 minutes to an hour and always take him out before going to sleep.
- Taking your puppy to the same spot each time will increase the chances he does his business every time you take him out.
- Whenever your puppy eliminates outside, give him a reward.
We can’t underline this enough, but only consistency will help you achieve positive changes in your dog’s habits. To back this up, some puppies may take up to a year before finally being house trained, while most puppies need 4 to 6 months. It’s important not to get discouraged if you notice frequent setbacks because it’s all normal in the learning process of a puppy. Just continue to correct your dog whenever he does something wrong, and he will slowly, but surely understand what’s being asked from him.
Apart from learning where and when to potty, your pup should also be able to respond to some basic commands. By teaching them you will be able to achieve small victories in creating a relationship with your dog, and your dog will probably be more likely to pick up some more complex habits, such as walking next to you off leash, coming when being called, or not pulling you when on a leash.
Make sure to teach your pup these basic commands:
- Stay – ‘Stay’ command is one of the most useful commands. With it, you will be able to keep your pup away from harm such as cars, traffic, dirt, etc.
- Sit – With this command, you should be able to get better control over your pup’s actions and set the foundation for further training sessions that will require your dog’s attention.
- Silence – This is especially important for people living in apartments. Your dog might only be barking out of boredom, and you need to address this behavior properly. You don’t want your neighbors getting angry just because your dog can’t figure out when it is not the right time to get excessively vocal.
- Come – Just as ‘stay’ command is important for your dog’s safety, the ‘come’ command is crucial for the safety of others. When you teach your dog to come on this command, you will be able to start a more complex recall training.
- Look – The ‘Look’ command should be used when you want your dog to focus its attention on you. Just like the ‘Sit’ command, this one represents the foundation of some more complex training tasks in the future.
- Drop – This command is important in order to ensure your pup’s safety if he starts to eat something that might be harmful and cause choking, or when you simply want to save your precious objects from being your dog’s chewing toys.
- Wait – ‘Wait’ command might seem to you quite similar to the ‘Sit’ command. And you’re right, they are. However, the ‘Wait’ command is aimed at developing your dog’s self-control skills.
- With me – You will need this command especially when spending your time outside with your pup. This command is designed to attract your dog’s attention while keeping him close by your side. Teaching your dog to walk beside you will make walking without leash way easier.
Learning the basic factors that should guide the choice of your new furry friend is crucial in order to ensure a happy, long-lasting relationship with your pup. Having a dog that only physically matches your aesthetic criteria, but doesn’t fit with your lifestyle choices or living situation, might cause a lot of behavioral issues in your dog that might be difficult to correct.
Therefore, if you’re about to get a dog, read thoroughly all sections of our guide on Getting a dog, and write down all characteristics your ideal pet should have. Are you looking for a friendly and easy going dog, or rather a guard dog that will have a rather independent and stand-offish stature? How much time can you spend on grooming your dog? Do you live nearby a park/river/lake where you can provide your sporting dog with plenty of exercise?
After you have all your answers it will be much easier to reduce your choice to only several breeds. When you get a dog that fits you best, make sure you stay up to date with all health measures and prevention as suggested by your vet. Ask what are the specific nutrition, exercise and training requirements your dog has and make sure to organize your time in a way that all your dog’s needs are accordingly met.
Did this guide help you with your choice of a dog breed? Share it with your friends that are thinking about getting a dog, and let them learn all there is to know on the correct process of choosing a pup, as well as what does owning a dog actually mean in practice.
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