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5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Dog

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59% of those surveyed say pets are good for their health and the health of their family and help them relax. 40% say that owning a dog motivates them to exercise on a regular basis. Three-quarters of dog owners consider their dog like a child or family member and more than half of cat owners say the same (NPOS). From APPMA

5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Dog

Before buying a dog, you should ask yourself whether you or your family members have the time, space and energy for a dog. Most dogs require regular grooming and at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day, and can be extremely dependent on their owners (this mostly depends on their breed).

Consider Your Needs and Living Habits

Your personal traits, living habits and activity level are key in finding out what kind of dog is best for you. Before looking for a puppy or dog, ask yourself the following:

  • How much time do I have to devote to a new dog or puppy?
  • How much energy do I have?
  • Will I need a dog that gets along with children or other pets?
  • Do I want a breed that is more independent and protective, or do I want a dog that is more low-energy and dependent?
  • Where will I take my dog (road trips, camping trips, hunting or just walks)?
  • Do I have enough indoor space for a dog?

Once you have figured out the answers to these questions, you can begin looking for the newest addition to your family. The American Kennel Club can give you with a complete list of the personalities, temperaments and care needs of different dog breeds, and can also direct you to certified breeders, animal shelters or humane societies.

Finding the Right Place to Buy a Dog

The best place to buy a dog can be a local animal shelter, humane society, a family friend, a trusted neighbor or a breeder who is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture and registered with the American Kennel Club or the American Dog Breeders Association. There is nothing wrong with adopting from an animal shelter or humane society, but you should know that these dogs may be more sensitive, afraid of, or aggressive toward certain objects, noises or people and may have special needs. If you choose to adopt from a shelter or humane society, ask questions about her breed, temperament, what kind of environment the dog came from, whether she is afraid of certain noises or objects, how she gets along with children and other animals, whether she has been spayed and if all her vaccinations are currently up-to-date.

If you choose to adopt from a breeder, make sure you are buying a puppy from a certified breeder and not a puppy mill. Dogs who come from puppy mills are prone to having genetic defects, which can result in illnesses, health issues or mood problems.

Members of the community are also great resources, but you should always acquaint yourself with the seller to understand who you are adopting from. If you choose to buy from a neighbor or member of your local community, you can find your perfect match by watching the puppies play and interacting with each of them.

Finding the Right Dog Breed

The combination of a positive interaction with the dog and knowing how he fits your needs is the best way to know that a dog is right for you. These two factors can easily be determined by playing with the dog and watching him with children or other people. In doing this, you can learn about the dog's nature and tendencies, which will determine how he will fit into your household.

Dog Breeds, Illnesses and Health Problems

Certain illnesses, like diabetes or Cushing's Disease, are more common in certain breeds than others. Other breeds, like Bulldogs and Bloodhounds, might come with an established history of treatable health problems. In either case, you should be aware of these things before you choose to buy a dog from a specific breed.

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