Is a Labrador puppy the pet for you?

Is a Labrador puppy the pet for you? Consider these points before taking the plunge.

Think about why you want a Labrador and whether it will realistically be able to fulfil your expectations. Never buy on impulse.

Does everyone in the household want a new puppy, especially the person who is to be left with it most of the time?

Labradors are not suitable as “surprise presents” and you should never buy any animal for a child unless their parents know about your gift and have approved.

Remember puppies grow into dogs; you have a commitment to your dog for its whole life. A puppy bought for an 8 year old child could still need your care when they are married with children of their own.

Labradors can take up a relatively large space on the floor and (especially) in the car. Is your home/car really suitable for the breed you want?

How well will your carpets (and the person who cleans up) cope with dog hairs and mud? How much will you mind holes dug in the lawn?

Labradors cannot be left alone for long periods of time. Dogs and work can mix, but allow for hobbies which take you out of the house as well as your job. Will there always be someone there or is Mum going back to work in a couple of years? (If so have you considered adopting an older dog instead of a puppy?)

Do you have time to give your dog the attention it needs – grooming, exercising, training etc?

Think about when and where you will walk the dog. Are you prepared to go out in all weathers? Do you have access to woods, fields, parks etc for exercising? Check that these are not “dog banned” areas.

Will everyone in the family “pick up” after the dog in public places?

Can you afford the dog’s keep? Allow for damage done by your teething puppy, veterinary attention for vaccinations, worming, “family planning”, illnesses or accidents, insurance, kennels if you go away, and lots of other little extras. Feeding costs can vary but the size of the dog isn’t always a guide! A large “would-be dustbin” may cost less to feed than a smaller canine gourmet!



5th March 2008