Pick of the Litter:  Choosing a Dog

Pick of the Litter: Choosing a Dog

HOT_iStock_000029790470_XXXLargeHave you decided to take the plunge and welcome a new pooch to the family? Taking on a new canine companion can be a fun and exciting time, but there are many decisions to be made. Keep reading to get a little guidance in choosing a dog.

Know Your Needs

Not every pet is a perfect fit in every home. Before you even begin your search, there are few very important decisions that need to be made. Be sure to think about the following:

Puppy or adult – It can be a lot of fun to play with a puppy, but do you have the time and patience for potty training, chewing on shoes, and teaching manners? When you adopt an adult dog you often have a better idea what you are getting into. Most, but not all, grown dogs are also a lesser time commitment.

Purebred or mutt – Are you yearning for a show poodle or do you prefer a good, well-rounded family dog no matter the breed? Take some time to decide if breed is important to you. Many great dogs can be found that are not necessarily a certain breed. These tend to come with a smaller out front price tag as well.

Big or small – What size dog are you looking for? Bigger dogs tend to cost a little more to maintain. Most breeds are expected to be a certain size, but if size is very important to you, you might consider adopting an older dog or even senior pet who has already grown to his or her adult size.

Athlete or couch potato – Do you want a running partner? Pal for your kids? A guard dog? Something fluffy to love on? Athletic dogs with high energy often have more demanding care requirements.

Special needs – Think about other things that are important to you? Do you have pet allergies in the family you need to worry about? Are there other pets that your new dog needs to get along with? Are you willing to take on a dog that needs special care?

Breed All About It

If you have decided a purebred dog is for you, it is important to research your breed of choice before committing. It may be helpful to do so even if you find a mutt that has a prominent breed or two so you can know what to expect.  All breeds have certain personality traits, medical concerns, and general characteristics that may or may not fit into your family well. For instance:

  • Loveable Labradors and Golden Retrievers tend to make great family pets but are predisposed to skin allergies and some types of cancer.
  • Toy dog breeds like the Chihuahua are super cute but tend to gravitate towards one person and are at high risk for dental problems.
  • Brachycephalic breeds (think pugs, Bulldogs, and Boston terriers) are often high energy pooches with tons of personality, but their noisy breathing and frequent flatulence aren’t for everyone.
  • Arctic breeds such as the Husky are drop-dead gorgeous but can be very vocal and are often expert escape artists.

Choosing a Dog

When you go to choose your dog, whether it be from a litter, a rescue, or even a shelter, it is important to step back and observe. Just doing this can lend a lot of insight into personality traits for an individual puppy or dog.

Observe from a distance. See how the dog interacts with other dogs. Watch how he or she interacts with the handler or workers.

Get your hands on the pup. See how he or she reacts to you touching different places, offering a treat, or speaking. Make sure everyone in the family meets the pet. If you have other pets at home, be sure to see how the pet interacts with other animals of those species if at all possible.

Choosing a new pet is an exciting time. A little bit of careful thought can go a long way towards finding that perfect match. Don’t forget, when you get your new dog be sure to give us a call and bring him or her on in for a wellness examination so we can get acquainted. We love meeting new family members!

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!