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Adopting the right dog

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There are many factors to take into account when it comes to choosing the right dog for you and your family. These include the size of dog that would suit your home, the temperament you’d like your dog to have, any pets or children that live in your home, how much time and effort you can put into taking care of the dog, exercise levels and grooming requirements, as well as whether you’re willing to accommodate a dog that sheds more.

When thinking about whether you’re happy to take care of a dog that sheds a lot, it all comes down to personal preference as well as the type of furniture you have. If you have leather furniture and wooden floorboards, any shedding may be easier to handle. However, if you have fabric furniture and carpet in your home, regular vacuuming and carpet cleaning may be necessary to get rid of any fur and lingering smells.

Generally, dogs with longer or silky coats shed more than dogs with short or coarse coats.2 Some breeds are known as ‘low shedders’ (e.g. Australian Terrier, Maltese, Miniature Poodle, Irish Terrier, Tibetan Terrier and Airedale Terrier)2, and others are known as ‘high shedders’ (e.g. Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees, Chow Chow, Akita, Siberian Husky, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Labrador and Alaskan Malamute).3

Choosing a dog breed based on one feature such as the level of shedding; however, overlooks an important problem – many purebred dogs have inherited disorders that reduce their quality of life and lead to high veterinary bills for owners. For this reason, if you choose a dog of a particular breed, it’s crucial you know what kind of health problems it may be prone to and that you source your dog from a good breeder and not from a puppy farm. This means you need to visit the place where your new puppy was born, meet the breeders and the pup’s parents.4

Be aware although certain ‘designer’ breeds (those resulting from crossing two purebred dogs such as the Cavoodle and the Spoodle ) are promoted as being ‘non-shedding’ and ‘hypo-allergenic’, this can’t be guaranteed. . There is also less scrutiny over the breeding practices involved with designer breeds.5

Adopting from a reputable shelter will provide you with the option of choosing from a large number of dogs who have all been assessed as suitable companion animals based on their health and behavior. Shelter staff can advise you on the grooming requirements of each dog. It may be possible to foster the dog for a period to be sure they are a good match for you and your family.

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