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Choosing the Right Dog

Posted December 20, 2014 in New-Dog Checklists

Picking the perfect dog can be a challenge, Dr. Ruth MacPete has you covered with this list of questions to ask before welcoming a new pooch into your family. from Dr. MacPete, find her on Facebook or at!

Picking the right dog is a decision that is more important than you may think. Just go to any animal shelter to see countless homeless dogs that ended up there because they were a mismatch for their adopting families or their families did not anticipate the level of responsibility needed to care for a dog. To avoid adding to the existing problem of homeless pets, think through your decision to adopt a dog and make sure you pick the right dog for your household.

Careful deliberation should go into the decision to adopt a dog. Caring for a dog requires a significant investment in time, money, and emotion. Before you decide to adopt a dog, ask yourself these questions.

Do you have time for a dog? Do you have enough space in your home for a dog? Can you afford to care for them, including veterinary expenses? Do you have time to train them? Are you prepared to take on these responsibilities for the entire life of the dog, which could be 10-18 years? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then the next step is to decide which type of dog is best for you. For starters, factors to consider include size, coat, and level of activity.

Size matters. Would a big dog or small dog fit best in your family? Big dogs need more space, eat more, and absolutely require training to make them well-mannered.  Will a Great Dane the size of a pony fit in your cozy studio in the Village? Can you afford to feed a 200 lb. Saint-Bernard-Mastiff mix? Will you be able control a rambunctious Rottweiler-Husky mix so he doesn’t knock over your guests, especially the young and elderly? These are some of the things you need to consider when deciding what type of dog would be best for your family. Remember, even big dogs start off ascute little puppies but they don’t stay small for very long. 

Once you decide the best size dog for your family, think about the type of coat you prefer. This may sound like a cosmetic decision but it is really about grooming and

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Ruth has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry as a companion animal veterinarian in private practice. Along with being a writer and media personality, she is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.