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Becoming a dog owner
"A dog might be able to make you happy – but can you make him happy?"

Becoming a dog owner

Take our quick quiz to find out whether you’ve got what it takes to become a dog owner

Owning up

Dogs make wonderful pets. They're loyal, intelligent, devoted, affectionate and amazingly rewarding. You love them, they love you right back. So it's easy to understand why we're a nation of dog lovers.

But owning a dog comes with its own set of responsibilities. A dog might be able to make you happy – but can you make him happy?


Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you ready for the commitment of caring for a full-time pet for the next 10 to 15 years?
  • Do work and social commitments allow for at least two 20-minute walks a day (much longer for some breeds), every day, rain or shine, including holidays? No dog should be left for more than four hours a day, so you may need to consider popping home for lunch or arranging walks with a neighbour or professional dog-walker.
  • Do you have the time to groom regularly? Short-haired dogs are quick and easy to care for, but if you want a long-coated breed, daily hair care is necessary and can be very time-consuming.
  • Does your family want a dog as much as you? It’s a big responsibility if the family is unlikely to help out.
  • Do you really have space at home for a dog? Dogs can take up a lot of room, which can be uncomfortable for both of you. And does your agreement allow pets if you are renting? If space is limited, a small or less boisterous breed may be more suitable.
  • Do you have a well-fenced garden or easy access to the park? Dogs need regular exercise, off the lead when possible. If you don't have a garden, an older, house-trained dog may be better for you. This will also mean you avoid the mess and initial destruction a puppy can create.
  • Can you afford a dog? Puppies don't come cheap, and then there's vet fees, food, accessories, occasional kennelling and other expenses to consider.
  • Is your car suitable to carry your dog when necessary? If you have a hatchback, a Great Dane may be tricky. Does the public transport service in your area allow dogs on board?
  • If you already have pets, will they get on with a new dog or puppy? Resident pets can react funnily or aggressively towards newcomers. They can be taught to overcome this – but doing so takes a long time.
  • Is anyone at home allergic to dogs? Many people are, but some don’t know it. It’s worth testing first. If so, some breeds are more suitable than others.
  • Are you very house proud? Be aware that dogs aren’t always the most careful, or sanitary, housemates.

It’s a good idea to learn about characteristics of different breeds before choosing a dog.

About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre

PetCare Advice Centre The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.

Last updated: 24 April 2015 at 11:27 AM
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