The first thing to think about is what size, what breed, will it suit the whole family and more importantly will you have the time. It’s also worth remembering that certain breeds are predisposed to certain hereditary and congenital conditions so this is something you may want to look into further. Once you have decided on these things what other things are there to think about.
Depending on what age dog you get will depend on which life stage diet you will require. For puppies, it is critical to choose the correct food during the first year of life to promote healthy development. Overfeeding a puppy will lead to adult obesity so you must follow the feeding guide.
Adult dogs require a maintenance diet and there are several tailor-made types available from Regular Light, Performance, Sensitive Skin and so on. You’ll need to choose the correct diet for your dog’s lifestyle.
For senior dogs you will need to provide a senior diet, this takes into consideration the aging process of the dog and adjusts the nutritional requirements accordingly.
The choice of feeding wet or dry food is up to you, dry tends to promote better dental care but you will notice that the dog will drink more water – this is normal.
Make sure that you are feeding a good quality complete food and always follow the recommended feeding guide. Overfeeding leads to obesity and on to further health problems that will reduce life expectancy.
Training And Exercise
There are various ways to train a dog, from going through the four basic steps of sit, stay, come and heal in the home environment to attending dog training classes which will give you more support and advise.
Training a dog at any age requires consistency in what you say and do, patience and correction of inappropriate behaviour immediately; but remember to always praise when the dog is right. Make sure that you have rules and a routine that all the family follows.
Regular exercise prevents boredom, teaches social skills and more importantly prevents obesity (there’s that word again). Provide sensible toys that wont’ get chewed up and accidentally swallowed; and if your considering a puppy then puppy proof your house, remove anything it may be able to chew on as this will lessen the chances of a foreign body and therefore an operation to retrieve it.
Puppy house training begins on the first day of arrival. Routine is a must. Take you puppy out as soon as it wakes up in the morning, after naps, immediately after meals and drinking, and just before bedtime. Training pads can be used in the house, spread them out on the floor and gradually reduce the covered area every couple of days moving it closer to the outside door. Puppies rarely make it through the night without the need to relieve themselves.