When you and your family are making the decision to purchase a pet, you will want to go through a checklist in order to make sure that it is the right decision for everyone involved. It is a major life event when bringing a pet into the home and the decision should not be taken lightly.

With a set guideline or checklist ahead of time, you will ensure that you are making the correct choice and there will be no anxiety once your pet comes home to meet his new family. Nothing can be more gratifying than having a family pet grow and thrive with you and your family over the years.

Points to know before buying a pet

Size of Dog

If you are purchasing a dog for children or an elderly person, a smaller dog that only requires moderate exercise maybe a better choice than a big dog that is harder to control on walks.

Coat Type – Short or Long Haired Dogs

Long Haired Dogs require extra grooming. If your pet dog is living inside, you will need to get used to cleaning up dog hair especially when they are shedding.

Space Required for Small or Large Dog

Larger dogs require a lot more walking as well as requiring a bigger backyard. If you only have a small backyard, a small dog may be a better choice.

Puppy or Adult Dog?

Puppies are very cute and lovable. If purchasing a puppy, you will know its background and be able to train it yourself. However, puppies are very demanding and you need time and patience to train them. If they will be living inside, puppy house training is essential. Teaching your dog not to bite and not to jump up is never easy but it is easier with a puppy. With breeds such as Labradors, you will need to handle years of puppy behaviour. I know my Labrador stayed a puppy for over three years.

Family Consideration

There are some breeds of dogs that are gentler and more suitable for a family with small children. You need a breed of dog that is tolerant and a good playmate. Young children easily forget that playful puppies can get hurt and occasionally snap. Puppies must be protected from young children’s antics as the mistreatment can harm your puppy physically and emotionally. Teach your children how to support the puppy with both hands when they hold him so that his hindquarters are not dangling. Parents worldwide are promised by children that they will “take care of the puppy and walk and feed him”. For a short time these promises are met but long term, they are hardly ever fulfilled.

One or Two Dogs?

If you will be at work all day and the dog will be alone, sometimes it is better to purchase two dogs so they keep each other company. However, it is more expensive and more time consuming to look after two dogs – more food, exercise and veterinary fees.

Male or Female Dog?

There is very little difference between the male and female of any breed as pets or as working dogs. Generally, the female is less inclined to wander away from home than the male. With a female dog, you have the twice-yearly problem of her “season” requiring her to be confined unless you want a litter of puppies. Some female dogs are easier to train and house puppy train than males. With the larger, more powerful breeds, females are usually a bit smaller in size and structure than the males and can be easier to handle on a lead.

Finances

Dogs can be very expensive to keep. Larger dogs will cost more to feed, their vet expenses will be higher and you may also pay more for groomers and boarding kennels, dog toys, dog collars, leads and accessories.

Traveling

Do you travel a lot? Are you able to travel with your pet or would you have to find alternative arrangements for your pet while you are gone.

Veterinarians

Do you have a vet close by that you can consult in times of need? If you do not have a licensed animal care provider it may discourage you from choosing an animal that needs regular care.

Activities

What type of activities do you enjoy doing as a family? Are these activities the type that you will be taking your pet with you? A pet is a member of your family and should not be left at home if you are enjoying time outside where they could be as well.

Allergies

Do you know anyone with pet allergies? This can have a direct result on the type of pet you decide on if you get one at all. Some may find that it is not feasible since their mother visits each year for 2 weeks in the summer and is highly allergic to animals.

Sources: Think Big Pets

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