Featured artist: Shannon Crees

Choosing the right dog

Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Choosing the right dog

Owning a dog can be extremely rewarding and can bring hours of enjoyment, but it is important to remember that dog ownership is also a full time responsibility which takes time, money, patience and life-long commitment. The decision to own a dog is a very serious one and one that needs to be properly considered and researched.

To be a responsible dog owner, you must first ask yourself whether a dog is suitable for you. Be honest with how much free time you have available now and in the future to care for a dog. The average lifespan of a dog is 12 years. This means you must be prepared for a long-term commitment.

The decision to own a pet should involve everyone in your household so that their needs, fears and concerns are considered. This will also allow you to determine how much time each person will be able to spend with your pet and the amount of responsibility that each person is willing to assume. Remember the promises of children may not always be fulfilled!

A dog is for life

There are a number of questions you should ask yourself before you acquire a dog.

  • Do you have enough time to socialise and train your dog? Dogs depend on people for daily affection and attention.
  • Do you work long hours?
  • How many hours are you away from the house each day? Some dogs get bored or anxious when they are left alone and although this may be controlled with the use of toys and training, they still require a few hours of daily attention and exercise.
  • The breed of dog you choose will determine the amount of time that you need to spend with your dog each day.
  • Do you have children or are you planning to have children – Do you have time to supervise your dog around the children?
  • Can you afford a dog? It can cost on average $1,500 per year for routine care and feeding. The first year of a dogs life can be very expensive with a combination of vaccinations, desexing, registration, worming preventions, extra food, training, bedding and toys.
  • If you travel or are away from home for long periods of time, is there someone that can take care of your dog for you? If not, can you meet the cost of placing your dog in a boarding kennel?
  • Do you have enough room for a dog? Some small breed dogs require more exercise than large breed dogs!
  • Do you have enough time to groom your dog? Regular brushing or grooming may be required on some breeds of dogs?

For further information regarding choosing the right dog for you, you should also speak with a Veterinarian, a dog training club, your friends and family and you may also visit the Petcare and Information Advisory Service website where they can provide you with a questionnaire and a selection of dog breeds recommended for your requirements.

If you decide a dog is for you, please consider visiting an animal shelter – such as the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, RSPCA or Animal Welfare League – or local rescue organisations such as Seniors and Silky Rescue or Maggie's Rescue.

Animal Shelters receive hundreds of surrendered dogs each year. Many of these dogs are rehomed but sadly there are not enough homes for the number of dogs they receive and the unfortunate reality is that a large number of dogs are euthanased.

Dogs available at these Animal Shelter's have usually undergone a health and temperament check, are desexed, microchipped and vaccinated and most of all, they deserve a second chance.

Never purchase a dog that looks unwell or is housed with dogs that look unwell.

If you decide to purchase from a breeder, make sure they are  a registered Dogs NSW breeder. Registered Dogs NSW breeders are bound by Dogs NSW code of ethics covering responsible dog ownership and breeder responsibilities. They are also required to vaccinate and microchip their puppies before they go to a permanent new home.

Pets in the City

The Petcare Information and Advisory Service has produced a guide called Pets in the City. This guide helps people decide whether they should have a pet, what the most suitable pet may be and how to enjoy life with a pet. It is for both potential pet owners and for those who already own a pet. Visit www.petsinthecity.net.au to access the guide.