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Do you want a dog? Once you have decided you are ready for a dog look to source it in a way that supports animal welfare.
Adopt don’t buy. With large numbers of healthy puppies and dogs unable to find homes, consider adopting a rescue dog and help alleviate the “wastage” that irresponsible breeding and ownership creates. Don’t buy from puppy farms, even if you feel sorry for the puppy; more will be bred to replace it. Visit the breeding facility and look carefully at the environment where the puppy is being raised. It should be hygienic and provide the puppy with the opportunity to socialise with people and other animals.
Satisfy yourself that the mating pair selection was made with consideration to the health and wellbeing of the resulting puppies.
A responsible breeder will also be knowledgeable about the breed and the care of new puppies. They will be keen to provide follow-up support and you should receive printed advice about:
The lifespan of a dog is related to its breed, with averages ranging from 8-14 years. When undertaking responsibility for a dog, it is important to consider the commitment required for the dog’s entire life.
Pet food is the largest expense over the dog’s life (New Zealand Companion Animal Council Inc., 2016). Owners must also consider costs associated with annual council registration, veterinary care (both planned and unplanned), pet health insurance, training courses, equipment (dog beds, collars, leads, bowls etc.), housing alterations that may be needed (e.g. fencing), doggy day-care, and boarding kennels. In addition to financial costs, the care and maintenance of a dog requires significant investments of time and money.
Prior to acquiring a dog, consideration must be given to the size of the home and outdoor space; along with lifestyle and family activities, the ages of family members and health concerns such as allergies. Consider also that landlords may place restrictions on keeping dogs in rental properties.
Because dogs have such a wide variety of size and temperament, selecting the right type of dog, most suited for the specific circumstance, can considerably improve the dog owning experience.
There are many more dogs in New Zealand than there are homes available. Adopting from the Royal New Zealand Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RNZSPCA) or another dog welfare organisation improves overall dog welfare, by providing a home and reducing euthanasia rates at shelters. If a pedigree or purebred dog is desired, the NZVA strongly recommends seeking veterinary advice before a dog is bought to ensure dogs are sourced from a responsible breeder.
Particular care is required when purchasing a dog online or from a pet store. The NZVA strongly recommends puppies are not purchased without first visiting the breeding facility and checking the environment in which they have been raised. Further information on ethically sourcing a dog can be obtained from the NZVA website.