Which is the best dog to get, best breed, and best age. That’s a loaded question. The better question is what is best for you and your family’s needs. Do you have young children or old children, a child with special needs, or allergies?

Puppies

Typically puppies are young minds waiting to be molded. They require a lot of time and dedication. Waking up at all hours of the night to take them out. You need to  keep an eye on them at all times and when you can’t they are in a crate.

A puppy can hold it for about an hour for every month old they are.

The typical rule is that a puppy can hold it for about an hour for every month old they are. Most people can count on getting up 1-2 times per night to walk their puppy.You also need to puppy proof your house making sure anything you don’t want chewed is out of the way.

Raising a puppy can be exhausting and draining. About the 6th month is when things will tend to settle down. You will still need to crate them until you feel you can trust them. The bonus is you raise your puppy your way – you know them inside and out.

Adult Rescue Dogs & Puppies

The other option is an older dog. I adopted a dog who was one year of age. His owner was moving and couldn’t care for him anymore. I was looking for a specific breed and it just worked. The downside you are inheriting someone’s issues.

You don’t know how they were trained if they have any resource guarding, aggression, fear, problems with other pets. You find out on your own. You can also temperament-test them. Most rescued pets will have a honeymoon period before they act out and feel comfortable in a new house.

Adopting an older pet can feel more rewarding because you are often saving a life.

Adopting an older pet can feel more rewarding because you often saving a life. Puppies are typically easier to find homes for.

Choose Breed & Size

Now once you’ve settled on puppy vs adult, breed or size should come into play. You should consider the size of your yard, amount of time you have to devote to exercise a dog, your age and your health, …

I would not recommend a Labrador or large breed dog for someone heading into their later years as the dogs are very powerful and could pull and knock you down more easily than their smaller counterparts.

If you have young children, pick a more tolerant breed, one that is not very protective.

I would also not recommend a breed that is a working breed, such as German Shepherds, Cattle Dogs, and Labradors for those people who are more sedentary. These dogs require a lot of exercise and running around in the yard isn’t adequate.

Also keep in mind if you have young children, pick a more tolerant breed, one that is not very protective. I have often said the King Charles is a wonderful breed. I have met very few with aggression, but they can have cardiac issues and often require dental cleaning yearly.

There is no such thing as hypoallergenic.

One thing to check is your homeowners insurance. Some breeds will often have higher premiums attached to them because of their risk factors for biting – Pitbulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Akitas, Dobermans, Chows and Great Danes, for example. In some states and municipalities Pitbull ownership is not allowed.

VET TALK

Monthly Vet Tips
Dr. Stacey Kilcullen DVM

photo of veterinarian stacey kilcullen in her white professional outfit holding maltese

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