Finding the perfect pet breed for your lifestyle is just as im-paw-tant as finding the right partner or even choosing the right friends – if only there was a tool for that! Although, perhaps a little Facebook stalking of somebody is kind of the same as doing your research to ensure you pick the right four-legged friend?!
We have a ‘Pawfect Match’ tool for you to try below, but before we get that far you should ask yourself a few questions before you even consider bringing a pup into your life…
Can I afford a dog?
The initial outlay (without the cost of a dog), would be anywhere between £300-500 and the monthly costs for upkeep would be between £50-100 (PDSA estimates in March 2020).
Initial costs include items such as bed, lead, collar, food and water bowls, toothbrush, toothpaste, toys, car restraint, initial course of vaccinations, monthly wormers until your dog is six months old, and neutering. Ongoing costs include annual health checks, booster vaccinations, regular flea and worm treatments, pet insurance, food, toys, poo bags and toothpaste etc.
You must also consider that equipment isn’t a one-time expense – your dog may (will) chew through toys, balls, bedding, your slippers, socks or anything interesting you leave out for them – plus collars and leads wear out over time. You also need to be prepared for unexpected medical costs and pay for pet insurance or ensure you have enough saved up for emergency vet fees.
Is my home suitable for a dog?
Having a smaller home doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a dog, but you’ll need to choose the size of your canine companion carefully. For example, if you live in a cramped flat and don’t have a garden, a dog might not be the right pet for you. Or you may not even be allowed a dog as some landlords and leaseholders ban tenants from keeping pets, so it’s important to check your contract before you commit. Sadly, a recent survey found that more than a fifth of pet owners have regretted choosing their pet’s breed, and more than a half of pet owners don’t research their breed before ownership – this has been named ‘pet regret’! ☹
Will somebody be there to keep them company on a regular basis?
It’s recommended that you don’t leave a dog alone for more than four hours at a time so yes, you can own a dog and enjoy cozy evenings and long weekend walks together. But if you work full-time and can’t pop home to walk him/her in the afternoon, then make sure you have a trusted and reliable Digs for Dogs dog walker to give them the daily exercise, fun and socialisation they need.
You can find your local branch by entering your postcode in the tool on our website.
Am I happy to clean up after my dog?
I’m afraid this is part and parcel – you can’t enjoy all the love, snuggles and sloppy kisses without a little poop! Be prepared to find poo bags in pockets you didn’t even know you had, and make sure you check every time you leave the house as you can be fined up to £1000 (depending on the council) for leaving your dog’s mess in a public place!
Who will look after them when I go away?
This is where Digs for Dogs Home Boarding Services save the day – or at least your holiday!
Some dogs can find a change in routine or environment stressful. Our carefully chosen Pet Sitters provide the perfect alternative to kennels, offering one to one care and ensuring your fur-babies follow their usual routine with all the toys, treats, love and attention that they are used to.
This means you can holiday guilt free and know that your pooch is enjoying themselves just as much as you are!
Is a dog the right pet for my family (and will it still be in 10 years time)?
It’s important to consider how your family may grow or change, and how this will affect your decision. A dog might seem like a great idea now, but what if you have a baby? Or if it’s your children asking for a dog, what will happen when they leave home?
If you want to test whether you or your kids are really ready to own a dog, why not try looking after someone else’s first. Becoming a Digs for Dogs Host Family gives great insight into life with a dog in the house, but without the full-time commitment. Becoming one of our Pet Sitters is also a great option for people who don’t have the space to look after a dog all the time, but still need a ‘doggy fix’ now and again.
I hope all of this has helped you make an informed decision about owning a dog – now it’s time to see which pup would best suit you….
Sainsbury’s Bank has launched a new tool called Pawfect Match, which will hopefully help when it comes to choosing the perfect furry friend! The tool will ask you questions about your lifestyle before pairing you with a breed that best matches your answers. Whether you like to exercise regularly or prefer a pooch that wants to relax in your lap more often, the tool can explain which breeds are hypoallergenic friendly, as well as which ones tend to shed or drool.
Try the tool for yourself to understand more about the various dog breeds and how to properly care for them here: https://www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/pet-insurance/pawfect-match
By Georgie Pomfret