The ultimate guide to getting a dog

The ultimate guide to getting a dog

Everything you need to know when getting a new fluffy friend

If you’re thinking about welcoming a new furry friend to the family, whether it’s a puppy or an older dog, there are a few things you need to think about before giving them a forever home.

How much does getting a dog or puppy actually cost?

Getting a dog is a big investment, not only for your wallet but also in time and affection. They pay you back in slobbery cuddles and tail wagging, but the financial cost is definitely something you need to consider. The upfront cost of a dog varies between breeds, whether you’re adopting an older dog or getting a puppy from a breeder, but it doesn’t stop there! Training and caring for your dog takes lots of time, patience and consistency – but all that effort is worth it in the end – we promise! They’re called man’s best friend for a reason.

Puppies and dogs need all sorts to keep them happy and safe:

  • A cosy bed to snuggle up in
  • A home and travel crate
  • A leash or harness and lead so they don’t run off
  • A microchip in case they do (this is mandatory in the UK)
  • Toys to play with and chew
  • Tasty and nutritious food suited to their age and size
  • Food and water bowls
  • Shampoo and a comb to keep them looking squeaky clean
  • A seat belt attachment for the car to keep them safe on journeys

Then there’s all the ongoing maintenance costs, like grooming and vet fees, and most importantly, pet insurance. We wish all dogs a happy and healthy life, but for those times where they need a little help, the right pet insurance is vital. That’s why we’re here, to make sure they get the best care without costing you an arm and a leg (or a tail!)

How to choose the right dog or puppy for you

They say you can’t choose your family, but you can when it comes to your dog. Making sure you choose the right dog for you is key, here are a few things to think about before making your decision:

  • Exercise – how much do they need walking? Larger dogs and working dogs can need 2-3 hours of walking a day!
  • Temperament – some dogs are more family friendly than others. For those of you with small children, choose a dog with a calm and loving nature.
  • Lifestyle – how much room do you have for a dog in your life? If you’re limited on space at home and in the car or have allergies, choose your dog accordingly.
  • Is this your first dog or are you an experienced dog owner? Do you have any other pets the dog will need to mix with?

Top tips

  • Puppy proof the house – make sure electrical wires are out of sight, add baby gates to your stairs if necessary, block off any gaps between banister spindles that lead to a big drop.
  • When picking up your new dog – make sure you’ve got something for the dog to travel safely in, like a crate or small carrier depending on their size.
  • Giving them a name – now you’ve picked your perfect dog, it’s time to give it the perfect name! Make sure it doesn’t sound too much like a command like ‘sit’ or ‘no’ and don’t make it too long, two syllable names are great.
  • Toilet training – put down puppy pads in and near the crate in case of any accidents, then allocate a designated toilet area outside and take them out every hour. Praise the dog for going to the toilet there so they know to do it again. Keep an eye on your dog’s poo (gross, we know!) but it’s one of the main ways to know if something is wrong.
  • Once they’re able to go out for walks, make sure to get them used to the noises of the world like roads and busy places to avoid them being overly anxious in social situations. When they’re ready, let them socialise with other dogs on walks or in puppy classes. Don’t overwhelm them though, it may create anxiety and social issues in the future.
  • Set up your vet, pet insurance and microchip right away. Better to be safe than sorry! Also, if you want to get your dog vaccinated, it’s best to get them done sooner rather than later!

As the saying goes, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. Make sure you do your research to know what you’re really getting in to, choose a breed that suits your lifestyle and budget.

Dogs really are the gift that keep on giving, you’ll enjoy a lifetime of slobbery kisses and back scratching. For those days they’re feeling a little worse for wear, we’re here to lend a helping hand. With a variety of pet insurance plans on offer, we have something suitable for every pooch, from the smallest fluff balls to the gentlest of giants, our care plans are perfect for puppies all the way through to adulthood.