Things to think about before buying a Dog

Many factors need to be considered by a family, before bringing home a new pet. These include:

Gender, Size, Hair

What about the gender of the dog? Are you interested in a male or female? Will you breed the dog once it is grown? If a breeding program is not in its future, consider neutering the dog. Are you interested in a large or a small dog? Often, potential owners don’t consider the frame size and weight of the puppy when it becomes an adult. Also think about the grooming needs of a long-haired dog versus a short-haired one.

Veterinary Care

The dog will also need regular veterinary care. All these costs can add up, especially if you’re on a limited budget. What type of dog do you want? Purebred or mixed breed? Research the traits of the breed that interests you. Be aware that some breeds have specific benefits or problems. In addition, some purebreds can be very expensive. Perhaps adopting from your local animal shelter is an option.


Another important factor is your family’s lifestyle. Do you work all day? How much free time do you have? Remember, a new puppy will require four or more feedings a day and will need to go out just as often. Do you spend a lot of time traveling or entertaining? Do you have small children or other animals at home? Are you physically able to handle a dog? What about your location? Do you own a home or rent an apartment? Will your landlord allow pets? Do you live in the city or in a rural area? Is there enough fenced-in yard space for the dog to properly exercise?

Dog Role in Your Family

Think about the role your new dog will play in your family and who will be responsible!

Trust me; this will be your dog! After the honeymoon period, the kids may only play with the dog, occasionally. They may groan and grumble about any dog-related responsibilities, doing them, begrudgingly, only after significant prodding from you. As children’s interests and activities change, over the years, their level of involvement with the dog will most likely be, inconsistent, at best. Additionally, your children, especially, young children, will need to be ‘trained’ in how to behave with the dog and will need to be supervised when with the dog.

I know some may disagree but, it is my opinion, that the only time is it a good idea to get a dog for the purpose of protection is in professional or agricultural situations and only when the owner/trainer is humane and knowledgeable of dog behavior and dominant dog training/handling. In all other situations – probably 99.9% – an alarm system, security fence, or other measures are much more appropriate and effective.

If you’ve read the third paragraph of this piece and still feel that a dog can be bought for breeding there is probably little I can offer to change your mind. But, just in case, let me restate the case a little more thoroughly. The breeding of dogs is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. If it is not your intention to remain responsible for all of your puppies for their entire lives, including being willing to take back and care for those who may find themselves homeless, do not enter into this endeavor.

If you are planning on breeding for profit, understand that there are much easier, more profitable and ethical ways to make a buck. Dogs are living beings and dog breeding requires a significant investment of time, money, labor, knowledge, both academic and practical, patience, and emotional fortitude, to be done responsibly and humanely. Please visit a few of the shelter and rescue websites, or your local shelter, and witness the problem yourself. View the faces of the homeless dogs and talk to the volunteers and staff who, all too often, must take that final walk with them.

Once you’ve decided on the type of dog you want and where you will purchase it, do not buy a puppy on the first visit. Instead, potential owners leave, think about the decision, and then go back. Avoid the temptation of buying two or more puppies. A single puppy will bond to its owner better and will be easier to train.

Depending on the breed, the best time to purchase a puppy is between 7-9 weeks of age. As soon as possible have the puppy examined by a veterinarian. If possible, ask the seller if you can have the puppy checked by a veterinarian before you purchase it.