Getting a Dog

Congratulations! You’ve decided to get a dog. Welcome to a whole new world. It’s an exciting time thinking of your new companion and all of the fun things you can do together. Dogs are rewarding and loving pets but there are quite a few things to think about before your new addition arrives.

Can I look after a dog?

There’s no denying dogs can make fantastic companions and great pets but you need to think hard about the time and commitment they need. Having a dog does change your life. Consider if you have got the time and the money to look after a dog?

Do you have the time to take it for walks, train it and play dog games with it? Dogs are social animals and don’t like being left alone a lot. So if you work long hours a dog may not be the right choice.

Think too about ongoing expenses like food, vets bills and maybe insurance

What dog should I get?

Can you see yourself with a tiny Chihuahua, a huge Great Dane or something in the middle? There are over 200 pedigree dog breeds to choose from and many more non- pedigree dogs.

You need to find out which type of dog best suits your lifestyle. A lot of it is to do with what works best in your family.

The size of dog may be a consideration you probably won’t want a massive dog if you live in a small home. Larger dogs generally have a shorter life span, and cost more to feed, kennel, insure and medically treat than smaller dogs.

Different breeds of dogs have different characteristics so choose a dog that fits in with you. Some need a lot of exercise, like border collies. A very long haired and fluffy dog may need grooming a lot which takes time.

Where to get a dog?

A lot depends on which type of dog you are going to get. If it’s a pedigree puppy you are after, go to a reputable breeder. Visit beforehand to meet the puppy’s mother and possibly father to check out their temperament as it has an influence on the puppies.

Make sure all of the health checks, tests and dog vaccinations have been carried out. Puppies need to be with their mother’s for at least eight weeks to make sure they are socialised properly.

Never buy from a pet shop or online.

Many people in the UK prefer to get a rescue dog from a charity like the RSPCA or the Dogs Trust.


It gives the dogs another chance to have a loving home and family. There are plenty of dogs to choose from, it’s best to go to the rehoming centres and meet the dogs, ask questions about them to the people who look after them there. They’ll have got to know the dogs’ temperaments, personalities and likes and dislikes. They may be able to fill you in on the dog’s back story and how it’s ended up in the centre.

Unfortunately some people take the decision to get a dog too lightly and discover it was the wrong choice and they can’t look after it anymore. That’s why so many dogs end up abandoned in rescue centres through no fault of their own.

Dog proofing your home

Whichever dog you decide upon you’ll need to dog proof your home to keep the new dog safe and your home in one piece!

Hide cables to stop the dog chewing them, keep all cleaning products and other potentially harmful substances out of the dog’s reach. Make sure your garden is secure and they can’t wander off.

If your dog is a puppy there’ll be other considerations too, not least thinking about puppy training!

You’ll also need to get a dog bed, dog bowls for food and water and some dog toys.