Choosing the Right Dog for Your Family

Choosing the Right Dog for Your Family

Getting a new pet is exciting! However, those feelings of joy and jubilation can turn to frustration and disappointment if you don’t choose the right one. There is a lot more to consider beyond which fuzzy bundle of joy pulls at your heartstrings. While there is no way to ensure you find your animal soul mate every time, there are certain factors you should consider to increase your chances of finding “the one.”

One of the first things to consider is what age animal best suits your lifestyle. If your job keeps you away for 8 to 10 hours without being able to run by the house, an 8 week old puppy is likely a poor choice. Puppies generally require more time than adult dogs because they require training (leash, potty, obedience, etc). In addition, they have more frequent vaccinations and need to be spayed or neutered, which means more trips to the veterinary clinic than an adult dog. While puppies are a lot of work, there is one major benefit: you are starting with a clean slate.

Older dogs can be an awesome choice as well. Many times they are already housetrained, may have minor or extensive training and have known behaviors (ex. good with children, cats, other dogs). Senior dogs can be very quiet and laid back for those with a less active lifestyle. The amount of information on an adult dog can range from extensive to minimal, depending on where you get them from.

Breed is also important. Some breeds, such as the English Bulldog, frequently have health problems and can be very expensive to care for. Long haired dogs require frequent grooming. Large breed dogs, such as the Boxer or Golden Retriever, are predisposed to certain types of cancer. Mixed breed dogs tend to be generally hearty dogs, but always keep in mind what breeds make them up. Two breeds with known medical or genetic issues are unlikely to produce offspring without any problems. In addition, consider what your dog was bred to do. Working dogs like a Blue Heeler are an excellent choice if you have a large yard or lead an active lifestyle. However, if you live in an apartment and work long hours, Heelers can be very destructive.

Where you get your dog from is also a consideration. If you go to a breeder, do your homework! All breeders are NOT created equal and just because they say their animals are AKC registered, does not mean they are breeding ethically. A veterinarian can advise you on things to look for and questions to ask when choosing a breeder. Humane Societies and Rescues are great places to get pets from. Not only do you get a new furry friend, but you save a life in the process (a win-win!). Depending on the case, there may be an abundance of, complete lack of (or somewhere in between) information available about the animal. Background information may or may not be a “make or break” category, but is something people frequently consider.

Adding a new member to the family can be an easy or hard decision. If you have any questions about looking for that new fuzzy family member, please give Ridgewood Animal Hospital a call at 434-525-2111.