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Are you buying the right-sized house for your dog?

1 Aug 2017

Have you considered the size of your house for the size of your dog - or which breed best fits the size of your new home?

Michelle Christie, corporate affairs manager for Royal Canin South Africa, says these are important questions to ask yourself.

She says deciding to own a puppy should not be made solely on the ‘adorability’ factor, but rather on the adult size of the breed selected. Also, do not assume you can, and will, move into a bigger place soon. Puppies develop into full-grown adults in a very short space of time. At 12 months of age, most breeds are at full adult size with giant breeds fully grown between 18 to 24 months.

If you are unsure of the size of garden needed for your new puppy, Christie says one option is to rather adopt a smaller breed.

She says a Dachshund, Yorkshire terrier, Shih Tzu or Poodle are all ideal for small and larger homes. Many terriers are too. Jack Russell's spring to mind as a bundle of joy for many owners and are perfect for smaller gardens, although they are usually highly energetic dogs and would need extra exercise such as daily walks.

Christie says apartment living does not mean animal lovers cannot own a pet, as smaller, less energetic breeds are ideal for small apartments. A daily walk around the neighborhood is great to keep them fit and healthy, and certainly appreciative of their owner’s efforts.
Remember, regular exercise is a vital part of responsible pet ownership and should not be avoided as it allows a pet to experience unfamiliar sights and sounds and socialise with other humans and pets, which is important in having a well-adjusted and sociable pet, says Christie.

She says some medium to large breed dogs do not mind smaller spaces. Bulldogs love to be lazy and will be content to find a sunny spot and lie there all day. Again, remember to exercise gently daily, especially in the case of a Bulldog - but make sure that the time of day is cooler and the exercise is not too strenuous as they tend to suffer from heatstroke easily.

“We all live in times when a watchdog has become a big part of pet ownership. Remember that owning a watchdog does come with both benefits and some disadvantages,” says Christie.

She says they tend to be alert at night and will warn you of dangers, however, during the day they may bark at anything that passes by, from children on their way to school to the odd mouse running past the gate, great for safety, but you may get complaints from neighbors.

Christie says adopting a breed that matches the size of your home and fits in with your lifestyle, will make your living space a brighter and happier place.

Be aware of the mobility problems that may affect some breeds with regards to spinal or joint issues and if you have a home with lots of steps, you may wish to reconsider choosing a Dachshund, for example – with those long backs, they are prone to spinal problems which are often exacerbated by the constant up and down motion when bounding up and down steps, says Christie.

If you are considering adopting or buying a pet, Christie says remember to consult a veterinarian first as their professional opinion is a good guide to ensuring the breed or type of dog you want, fits in with your lifestyle.

They also have experience with various breeds and can provide valuable insight into not only the physical facts about the dog, but also any other problems you may encounter with certain breeds such as excessive barking, high energy, genetic problems, ‘escape artists’ who will clear the highest walls, and the care needed to ensure a happy and healthy dog, says Christie.