Getting A Cat

Information provided by Pets Australia.

A Checklist Before You Buy That Pet!

Here’s a really useful list of things to think about before you get a puppy or dog.

Work through this with the whole family and it will improve your chances of a happy life with your new dog. It can also introduce children to responsible pet ownership.

The information provided below is a referance from Pets Australia. You can join today, to find more handy information.

1. What can we offer this dog?

Ask not what you can your dog do for you, but what you can do for your dog” was famously not said by JFK, but it can avoid heartbreak later.

Insert your answers below:

Can we really, honestly take this pet out for exercise daily? ___________________ If NO, take a look at lap dog breeds or other pets

Can we really, honestly give this dog hugs and cuddles daily? 

__________________ If NO, a lower maintenance pet may be a better companion for your family. Dogs need lots of social contact to be happy.

Can we really, honestly train this dog to our standards? ______________________ If NO, be prepared to pay for training, choose a “biddable” breed or consider a cat.

Can we really, honestly afford to provide this dog with veterinary treatment in emergencies up to $4000? ____________________________________________ If NO, see if you can afford pet insurance, or consider a pet that requires less maintenance.

 Can we really, honestly, afford to have this dog groomed professionally? _________ If NO, consider a “low grooming” breed or a breed you can groom yourself

Are we really, honestly, going to have this dog desexed? _________________ If NO, consider another pet – fish, reptiles, birds.

Is our housing situation really stable enough that we can take the dog anywhere we go? __________________________________________________ If NO, try another pet or wait until your housing situation is stable. 

Tenants moving house is one of the leading causes of surrenders to shelters, broken hearts and euthanasia of beautiful dogs.

If you have answered the above truthfully, you now know whether a dog is the right choice for you. If it is, proceed to the steps below.

2. Are we going to get a puppy or an adult?

A puppy will bond strongly with the family, but you have to raise it, train it, and get it through those “puppyhood” and “teenage” periods.

An adult may bond less strongly and may have some bad habits that need a little work, but maybe knows some basic training, housetraining and can “read” humans better. They may be already desexed and free of health issues.

3. Are we going to get a male or a female? Write Answer here:

If you already have a dog, consider getting the other gender. The “oldest dog in the yard” is generally “the Boss”, so if you already own an older male remember that he may find himself henpecked! If you don’t already have a dog, males are sometimes a bit more protective, females often lick more.

4. What breed/s shall we get?

This will depend on your answers to the above and there are excellent websites that can help you sift through the more than 200 breed types.

Answers can be grouped into three groups:

  • Purebred (insert breed);
  • Hybrid (a deliberate mix of two or three breeds to give certain characteristics, usually but not always including the poodle breed eg labradoodle)
  • Crossbreed/unknown – often of mixed parentage, often from shelters or accidental breeding, these pets often have excellent temperaments to make up for unsophisticated looks.

Don’t assume that a small dog is a quieter dog or less work. Many smaller dogs are harder to train and can require more exercise! Likewise don’t assume that big dogs mean more protection. Remember! Long coated breeds require at least weekly brushing, all breeds require bathing. Many “poodle coats”, and schnauzer-types require regular clipping &/or professional grooming. Talk to friends, your vet, owners of the breed, boarding kennels and groomers – you will be surprised by what some of them have to say!

If you choose “Don’t care, depends on the TYPE” (see below) then you are a candidate to make the life of a shelter pet happier and more meaningful.

5. What TYPE of dog shall we get?

Consider “shy” “assertive”, “energetic”, “amiable”, “dominant”, “reserved”, “relaxed” as well as those types in between. These are not only breed characteristics, they are also found within breeds as well. “Type testing” is done routinely at many shelters, and can also be done by many veterinarians, breeders and behaviourists.

For example, many Terriers are “dominant” and “energetic” – which means that unless you are an experienced owner you will get bossed around!

“Shy” types are “biddable” can become fear biters in the wrong situations, “relaxed” types will fight if needed but generally won’t start a fight, and “assertive” types will make you their boss if they can.

It’s also worth assessing your family and choose the type to suit – is your family energetic? , dominant?, “couch potatoes”? , Do you have lots of friends visiting with dogs? Are you more the “one on one” type? Will the dog go everywhere with you?

Matching the family to the actual pet is the best indicator of a successful relationship.

NOW you are ready! Armed with the knowledge of what type of dog you need, you can now select your friend with a clear head and a focused approach. There is a separate guide note for the actual purchase.

Have fun!


Pets & Community Health, How Do Companion Animals Help Improve the Lives of People. A review of the literature published by the Pet care Information and AdvisoryService in 2012.

This advice is of a general nature and is not a substitute for professional assistance. For issues with your pet always seek a vet advice.

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