What you need to know before you buy a puppy
Find out what you need to think about before you decide to buy a puppy. There are also tips on finding the right dog breed for you, where to get your dog from, how to settle it in and the rules of owning a dog.
The first things to think about
A responsible owner will first think long and hard about buying a puppy/ dog. A rash decision may cause distress and suffering to the animal and could end up costing the owner a lot more. A puppy will soon become an adult dog that could live for about 13 years or longer.
It's therefore advisable to do some research before buying a dog. What you need to think about is listed below.
Consider your lifestyle when deciding if you can offer a dog the things it needs. If you often have to be away from home for long periods during the day then you may not have enough time to spend with your dog.
Consider if you can provide a safe environment for a dog to stay in. A dog needs a safe and secure place and somewhere it can relax and be comfortable.
Exercise, training, play
A growing puppy or dog needs lots of exercise, training, and play. Consider if you can give a puppy or dog lots of chances to enjoy doing all those things.
All breeds of dogs behave in different ways and an adult dog can behave very differently from when it was a puppy. Some breeds are really friendly, some are shy, some are aggressive, and some don’t like to be near other breeds, or other animals. Consider if you will be able to handle the different types of dog behaviour. You need to be confident that you can cope with all their needs and behaviours.
The cost of caring for a dog
Work out how much it will cost to keep a dog, so you can make sure you can afford to care for it. During a dog's lifetime (10 to 15 years) the main costs are:
- vet's bills such as vaccinations and neutering
- insurance - in case it's involved in an accident or becomes ill
- paying for your dog to stay in a kennel when you're away
Finding the right dog breed for you
There are many different breeds of dogs. Each breed tends to behave in a particular way and knowing about this will help you choose the dog that's right for you. Although there's no guarantee that a particular dog will behave exactly how its breed behaves. Find out more:
Once you've decided that you are able to offer a dog the time, money and commitment that it needs, you then need to think about where to get the dog. You could re-home an unwanted puppy or buy from a responsible breeder or privately. Find out more:
Helping your new puppy settle in
When you have chosen your new dog, you will need to take it home. For the journey to its new home, it will need a comfortable dog carrier and a cosy blanket. For a longer journey, it will also need water, food and rest stops.
When you have taken your new dog to its new home, make it as relaxed as possible:
- settle your new dog into its new environment
- try to minimize exposure to loud noises
- don’t let children or adults handle the dog too much if it’s nervous
- if the dog shows signs of distress sit quietly and comfort it
- make sure you follow advice the breeder/ seller gives you about ‘socialisation’, this is about preparing the puppy for the world around it
Tips on your dogs diet, creating a safe home, signs of illness and more can be found below:
- Welfare of dogs: the need for a suitable diet
- Welfare of dogs: the need for a suitable environment
- Welfare of dogs: protection from pain and illness
- Welfare of dogs: getting on with other animals
- Welfare of dogs: normal behaviour patterns
Responsibilities of dog owners
Anyone who decides to get a dog becomes responsible for that animal and will need to know about the rules of owning a dog. These include:
- Dog licensing and microchipping
- Controlling your dog in public
- Meeting the welfare needs of the dog
- Dog fouling