Picking The Perfect Puppy. Is a Great Dane a good fit for an elderly single woman? Can a Jack Russell Terrier be happy with little kids? Should a Rottweiler live in an apartment without a yard? Often a person’s favorite breed may not be what’s suitable for their lifestyle, and living conditions. From Beagles to Bassett’s, Terriers to Toys and Poodles to Puggles, prospective pet buyers are faced with the bewildering choice of hundreds of pure breed canines and a myriad of mixes. Today pet lovers can even choose from a gallery of “Designer Dogs” or have their favorite pet cloned. Whether adopting or buying a pet, figuring out how to make all the right choices is tough especially if kids are concerned so let’s make it a little easier.
Best Family Pet Profile: Consider these factors, or even make a list
- Family Members &Ages
- Initial Pet Choice family is interested in: Dog
- Other pets in the home: dogs, cats, ages, sexes
- Urban or Suburban
- Home dwelling description
- Yard: if any
- Lifestyle: active, medium, sedate
- Amount of time spent at home: rarely home, moderate amount, home a lot
- Will your pet live inside or out?
- Grooming: is that a chore you mind, don’t mind
- What temperament suits you best: calm & low key, spirited & lively?
- Is this pet going to be a watch dog?
- Can you exercise with this pet: never, a little, an average amount, a lot?
- Will you travel with this pet?
Will this pet be a working dog (for handicapped & special needs people) & if so what in particular is wanted (i.e.Hearing, Seeing Eye, Companion, Seizure Detection, etc.)
Before you buy or adopt a pet do your homework, be responsible and don’t buy on impulse.
Be honest with yourself about the amount of time and work you are willing to put into a pet: for moms with kids: you are essentially adding another child to your family, who will be with you for the next 10 to 15 years.
Don’t expect your children to take care of your pet. Read books, volunteer at a shelter and go to dog and cat shows to familiarize yourself with your options and responsibilities. Consider fostering a pet if you decide ownership is not right for you.
Next profile your family: The 3 most important considerations are personality, lifestyle and your home and environment.
What about personality?
- Match the personality of the pet with the personality of the person getting the pet.
- When it comes to breed it’s the temperament of the breed that’s the most important especially when kids are concerned.
- Large Breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Shelties and Collies are good with quiet kids. Collies are high maintenance and need regular grooming. Dalmatian’s are better with adults and Boxers are great with kids and adults.
- Small Breeds such as Pugs are wonderful with children and are low maintenance. Terriers are a good choice for active young boys. They like to dig so watch out for your garden.
- Cocker’s are a nice option for adults. Mixed breeds offer many choices. Try to figure out the mix as that will help you determined their personality. You can get the best or the worst of both breeds.
Lifestyle: Now try to match your lifestyle to that of the pet you choose.
- Do you live in the city or country? An apartment or a house? Sedate small dogs like Boston terriers, Chihuahuas, and Pugs are good choices for apartments and small homes.
- Do you have a yard? How big is it? Is your yard fenced? Large dogs need more space than small dogs but are not always more active.
- How much time do you spend at home? If you’re not home much, cats require less time than dogs and if you are always on the go, fish are great! They still need love but take a lot less time.
- What about your neighbors? Barking dogs are annoying.
- Consider your climate and be sure your choice of breed is suitable to your climate.
- A Mexican hairless is not a good choice if you live in Alaska. A Husky or a Malamute might have a tough time in Florida. Pugs and breeds predisposed to breathing problems can be affected by high heat and humidity.
- Do you live near the water? Are you a boater? Labs love to swim. Some dogs can’t swim at all.
- Is anyone allergic to pets? Many canine breeds’ present health issues for people with allergies. Consider bison’s or poodles neither breed sheds much, therefore may be a good choice.
Allerpet-D for Dogs is a topical spray that reduces dander for people allergic to their pets.
- Exercise: Do you have time to exercise? Do you enjoy exercise? Some small breeds like Terriers and Jack Russell’s need twice as much exercise as a large breed such as a Newfoundland. One hour of exercise can increase your pet’s healthy lifespan by 2 days.
- Do you Travel? How much? You will need to consider a pet sitter or a boarding kennel if you travel quite a bit.
- Grooming: Long haired breeds need regular grooming at 6 to 8 week intervals. A short haired breed you can bathe yourself every 8 to12 weeks.
- Supervision of pets with kids: Children age 5 and younger need constant supervision with pets. Those age 8 and above just keep an eye on them, especially if you have mischievous boys.
- Are there any other pets in your home? If so think about introductions and whether or not they will get along together.
- Divide up the chores and responsibilities. Decide who’s going to be responsible for what; such as feeding, walking, games and going to the vet. It’s also a good idea to look for a nearby veterinarian and emergency facility.
What about the Costs?
In general the bigger the pet, the more they cost to feed and maintain. The initial cost of buying a pet varies. At a shelter, average cost ranges from 15 to 25 dollars. At a breeder costs vary from an average of 250 to 1500 dollars but the sky’s the limit.
Food is also an important cost consideration. You need to decide whether you will feed commercial or preferably homemade diets. Homemade natural diets take more time and effort but are well worth it!
- a. Small dog: $100-300/year
- b. Medium dog: $200-400/year
- c. Large dog: $300-500/year
Veterinary Care costs are also important to keep in mind.
- a. Shots for first year: $50-300
- b. Remember today pets only need booster shots every 3 years: take titers or sign the annual vaccine release form in your state to be sure.
- c. Annual checkup: $50-300
Seniors pets age seven and up should get checked by your vet twice a year. Early detection and prompt intervention will help your pet enjoy a long, healthy life. An ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure when it comes to your pet’s health!
D. Where should you adopt or buy your pet?
- Now is the big day you’ve made your choice. You have decided on a dog as well as the breed and age and you’re ready to pick your pet. Dog shows are a good place to see a variety of breeds.
- Avoid pet shops, they are a good place to look around, but puppy mills often drop their pets off at pet shops. Breeders are your best bet for pure breeds.
- Be sure to see the parents, get a written guarantee and check their return policy. Also get the AKC registration papers. Shelters are a great source for mixed breeds and often also have various pure breeds available in a variety of ages.
- Many are already spayed or neutered and have their shots. For puppies generally eight weeks is the ideal age to adopt.
E. Tips to pick your perfect puppy
- First just look at the entire litter, see how they act and how they react to you
- Rule: take to your heart the puppy or kitten who takes you to his
- Don’t pick the shy pet huddled up pet in the corner or the most aggressive one of the bunch look for that middle of the road “Joe” whose eyes meet yours, that comes to you.
- Perform a visual inspection: Puppies should be active and lively, and look and smell clean. They should not have any lumps or bumps. Their teeth should be white and they shouldn’t have bad breath or smelly ears. Their fur should shine. Watch them walk. They should move freely and not limp or have trouble getting up or down.
- Finally, be sure to take your new puppy to your vet within the first two weeks. With pure breeds, be sure to stay within the required time frame for your breeder.
F. Pet Proof & Prepare Your Home before the Big Day
Puppy Proofing Tips: Look at your house from your pets point of view-crawl around on your hands and knees if you need to remove anything that might be a potential hazard such as dangling wires, tiny toys, rubber bands, string, antifreeze in the garage, and cleaning agents.
- Avoid bringing a new pet home on a holiday. Pick a nice quiet time, to bring your new pet home. That will be best for everyone.
- Pets are truly lifelong companions! Take time making your choice and you’ll have a best friend forever!