A new puppy is a delightful addition to any home, but choosing the right one can be difficult. Here are Dr Felicity’s top tips for choosing the right dog for your family.
- Choose the right breed/dog for your household. Larger dogs generally need more space and some breeds have personality traits which may not suit your lifestyle.
- Consider the costs of general and veterinary care
- If you’re tossing up between getting a dog from a breeder or a shelter, read this
If you’re getting your new pet from a breeder, choosing a puppy can be a daunting task. You want to choose a healthy puppy with the temperament that you are looking for, however puppies are so adorable it can be hard to remain objective during the selection process!
Dr Felicity suggests the following basic checks for health:
- Pups should be bright and alert when not fast asleep
- Pups should be a healthy weight and not skinny. They should be reasonably clean and coat should look healthy with no bald patches. Ears should also be clean and not smelly.
- Excessively bloated tummies can be a sign of worms (and some types can be fatal if left untreated). Ensure the breeder has been worming the puppies every two weeks.
- Puppies should not have fleas (if they do they are also likely to have tapeworm problems)
- Puppies should be vaccinated at six week and a the breeder should be able to provide vaccination records.
When it comes to temperament, Dr Felicity suggests:
- View the whole litter so you can get a good idea of the range of personalities
- Avoid quiet, timid or fearful puppies – they might seem cute but are more likely to develop fear or anxiety-related behavoural issues as adults
- The largest and most boisterous puppy is likely to be the most dominant pup in the litter. Dominance behaviours can be problematic, or at least challenging, in many dogs.
- A puppy that is confident but not a bully is the ideal temperament for a family dog.
- Puppies learn important social skills from their mum and littermates, so its important they stay in this environment for at least eight weeks. Puppies that leave their litter before this age are more prone to anxiety-related behaviour disorders. Eight to ten weeks is the ideal age to adopt your pup.