Factors to Consider When Getting a New Dog

Tips for deciding how to choose a dog.

If it's time for you to add a new dog to your family, congratulations! It's a fantastic, fun time, and you're going to have a ball.

As you're deciding what breed or mix of puppy to get, here are some things to think about. The last thing you want to do is ignore these priorities and get a breed that isn't right for your home or family.

Decide on Size

Size is the first thing to consider when figuring out which dog breed will fit best in your family. Tiny, small, medium, large, or giant—you'll need to choose the right size. Here are some considerations that will help you decide:

Remember that, if you choose a puppy, they won't stay their current size for long. Be sure to consider how the dog will fit into your home when full-grown.

Decide on Age

Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? Here are some points to consider that will help you decide:

Body Characteristics

Some dogs have fur that grows continuously, requiring grooming every six weeks. Some have floppy ears that need to be cleaned routinely to stave off infections. Some have flat faces and bulging eyes, requiring lots of face-cleaning and trimming of eye hair.

Some dog breeds need more brushing at home between groomings than others. Some dogs have lots of skin wrinkles that require cleaning and drying daily.

Think about the level of maintenance required for your dog based on body characteristics and be realistic about what you can handle in terms of time, money, and commitment.

Energy Level

Keep in mind the general activity level of the breeds you are considering. Some are content to be mostly lapdogs, while others need vigorous activity every day or a "job" to keep them from engaging in boredom-related negative behaviors.

Be realistic about your time and availability to engage in activity with your dog for ten or fifteen years before choosing the best breed for your home.

If you spend some time honestly considering all these things before you choose, you'll be able to pick the right breed or mix for your home. Consult your veterinarian if you need more information about particular breeds.

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