The right puppy will make your life a joy. But if, on reflection, you simply don’t have the energy, time or space for a puppy, then you could consider an adult dog instead -- or even a cat!

How much time can you devote to the new puppy?

Puppies get miserable if they don’t have enough attention. You’ll also need to set aside plenty of time for training, exercise, play and grooming (long-haired dogs especially). And house-training is a 24/7 job.

How much exercise can you give your puppy?

Unless your puppy is a toy breed, they need you to take your two walks-a-day responsibility seriously.

How much space do you have?

A big dog will tear a small garden to pieces while burying a bone. And even inside your house, a big dog needs space for a big bed.

What’s your budget?

As well as the initial purchase cost, you’ll have all sorts of on-going costs: vet’s bills, dog food, pet insurance, boarding kennels and – for some long-haired dogs – professional grooming.

Why do you want a dog?

If having a dog for protection, working or competition is important to you, you’ll need to take that into account. Also, if you’d like to take your dog to work, bear in mind that some breeds are more easy-going than others.

Pedigree or mixed?

Pedigree puppies normally fit the temperament and physique of the breed standard. A crossbreed or mongrel puppy can be less predictable, but can combine the best of several breeds.

Any allergies in the family?

There are many dogs that are bred to be non-allergenic, but it’s best to check this for real when you meet the puppy and its mother.

Male or female?

It’s up to you – we think that they both make great pets! Remember that unspayed female dogs come into season twice a year and will need special care during this time. And unneutered male dogs can stray if they sniff out a female dog in season nearby. Unless you’re planning to breed from your dog, do talk to your vet about neutering to prevent unwanted puppies.

What about an adult dog?

An adult dog can be just as rewarding as a puppy. An adult dog could even be already house-trained and may have learnt some useful skills, like walking to heel on the lead. Find out what you can about the dog’s temperament, and if you can, try taking him or her out for a walk before you make a final decision.

Be honest with yourself  - if your first choice doesn’t fit the way you live your life, don't commit and backtrack later. With a little research, you should discover your ideal dog.

Photo credit : yummypets

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