Many factors to consider when buying pet | VailDaily.com

Many factors to consider when buying pet

Dr. Nadine Lober

Bulldogs Sybil, left, and Trudy are next in line to have a photo taken with a person dressed as Santa "Paws," Sunday, Dec. 7, 2003, at a PETsMART, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Pet supply companies, which have enjoyed strong growth even in the soft economy, say the demand for holiday-themed products just keeps growing. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner)

This is a personal decision. We sometimes choose the breed of dog that we were raised with, because we are so used to it and attached to it, but there is a wide variety of breeds to choose from.

I will briefly give some scenarios and a few examples of breeds.

Lifestyle matters

You must consider your living arrangements and the members of your family when you buy a pet. If you travel a lot, then a cat – or maybe two cats who can entertain each other – might be the better choice. Get these cats at a younger age so they can grow up together.-

If the pet is for an older person, you might consider a smaller breed of dog that doesn’t require as much exercise, such as a Maltese, shih tzu or pug.-

If a member of the household is allergic to dogs, a non-shedding dog would be appropriate, such as a bishon frise or a poodle.

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There are products that make your dog and home allergen free for the allergic individual. These product are most useful when an individual wants a certain breed or already has a dog that he does not want to get rid of.-

If you have kids, you should choose a breed that is well-known for passiveness with children, such as golden retrievers, Labs and others. Some breeds are known to be more aggressive around small children; these include Dalmatians, some akitas and some cocker spaniels. But most dogs, if raised correctly, will be kind around kids.

If some form of aggression is observed, I would be very cautious because the next time might be more dangerous. If the dog bites the child, no matter what instigated this behavior, the dog must be removed from the child’s environment or worked with professionally.-

If you travel and want to take your dog with you, a smaller lap breed would work out great, such as a Yorkie or a Maltese.

Environmental concerns

If you live in the mountains and want a companion to enjoy outdoor activities, a larger breed with hair is a good choice, such as a husky, Lab, golden or malamute. If you live in a place like Florida, then a malamute would not be too happy, so choose accordingly for the well-being of your dog.

Some of you are looking for sporting dogs to go hunting and pull sleds, among other activities. In England, hounds are popular for hunting. Here, in our neck of the woods, Labs are very popular for various hunting trips; spaniels are another breed used for hunting.—

Training and dependable bloodlines become very important when choosing breeds. You should research a dog’s ancestors, and check out its parents. This information is all available to you.-

If you are inexperienced with training, don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian or a trainer. Early training, starting from the day you get your new puppy, is vital if you hope to raise a well-mannered dog.

Mulling mutts

Among the most common questions potential dog owners have are about mutts – how do I know what kind of mutt to get and how will he turn out?-

You always take a chance when you get a mutt puppy and it can be difficult and even impossible to determine the breeds that went into making a mutt.

For example, there is this dog Jack who came from a Dalmatian rescue service as a pup. Now that he is a year old, he looks more like a pitbull-great Dane mix with little evidence of Dalmatian, except for his black and white hair.

Overall, mutts are usually healthier and great pets. Many purebred dogs are inbred and end up with specific diseases inherent to the breed.

For example, Labs and shepherds suffer hip dysplasia, sharpies get wrinkles that invert the eyelids, cockers can have ear and skin diseases, Westies have skin allergies, boxers may develop skin tumors and pit bulls can be overly aggressive. There are exceptions, but these are a few examples of the common problems, so do your research.-

When choosing a mutt, try to pick out one that’s obviously comes from a breed you like, such as a Lab-, Australian shepherd- or a husky-mix.

You might also go to a rescue service for a specific breed and find a good pet that needs a home. These services are in most large cities and can also be found online.-

If you adopt an older pet, then try to get as much information about his past and his behavior to see if he will adapt in your environment.

There is a breed for everyone and sometimes they say that owners resembles their dog, so keep that in mind when choosing your dog.

Dr Nadine Lober can be reached at 949-7972.