At the Vets ... Choosing a new family member

Doug Paterson and Glenn Hodgson of Apex Vets
Doug Paterson and Glenn Hodgson of Apex Vets

I am often asked advice on how best to choose a puppy.

As we all know, a dog is for life so it is a major decision and one you should spend time over, and involve the whole family with.

Many people will choose a breed that they have owned previously, one that a friend may have or simply a breed they like the look of.

However, if you are considering a breed that you do not have any direct experience with, it’s very worthwhile researching the breed first.

Try and match a breed’s energy level and exercise requirement with your own lifestyle. If you like exercise and take regular long walks then go for a high energy dog e.g. a medium sized working breed, such as labradors, spaniels and Border collies. If you prefer shorter walks taken less frequently, consider a more laid back and smaller breed, such as Lhasa Apso’s, Shih Tzu’s and Yorkshire terriers.

The majority of behavioural problems that we see stem from a core incompatibility between owner and puppy. When a high energy dog is not able to use up all of its energy, it becomes highly strung with pent up energy and excitement. Very quickly, this leads to destructive behaviour.

If you have a breed in mind research it on the internet, but also speak to your vet; we have seen all different shapes and sizes of breeds over the years and are very happy to offer advice to prospective puppy owners!

Also we can advise you on the more common medical problems to affect the breed you may be considering.

The next step is finding a pup. Try and find a breeder via recommendations and when you go to see some puppies, ask to see the mother, and father if possible, and if they are friendly, calm and well behaved this could give an idea of the pup’s nature when he or she grows up.

Ask about worming and feeding. It is also a good idea to have the puppies examined by a vet for a health check before you go to collect your new arrival. Bring all this information along when you come to see your vet for the first appointment.

The first few months can be hard work but great fun too. A puppy will give you years of companionship and will grow up to become a very much loved member of the family.

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