Family pets are something most of us take for granted – we have grown up with these critters under foot, around the family walks and holidays, in fact they are part of the family.
Now that you have your own home, it is time to consider a pet as part of the family. Children have seen animals they want to take home and cuddle, the adults have started to look at the dogs around and remember their own joy and pleasure as children in an animal or bird or even fish, to compliment the family.
A Labradors for instance were bred as working hunters to sniffer dogs to guide dogs, whereas the Jack Russell terrier was used to hunt small game.
Today we have a large variety of small dogs that have been bred for hunting and retrieving but are now considered to some extent, as the lap dogs. Small dogs range from the tiny “teacup” dogs to the small breeds that are no more than10 kg.
Small dogs have as many different temperaments and characteristics as there are different breeds available . While they may seem cute and docile, an ideal choice for the family, ….STOP! Don’t make a choice until you have considered some very basic hints.
• Dogs take up a lot of time, energy and resources. Obviously the bigger dogs are more expensive in all these requirements.
• Research the breeds that you are interested in. Choose a breed that will fit in with your life style, the space you have to house a dog, time to devote to exercise, training and playing with your pet.
• Consider the characteristics of the dog, especially if there is a person with any allergies. Will an animal that sheds hair cause a problem? Coat and skin care is important.
• Training is important and labor intensive. will this cause a problem? Perhaps it may better to consider adopting an older dog that has already trained.
• Puppies are like children and need to be treated the same. Keep all medicines and dangerous equipment under lock and key, away from inquisitive and enquiring minds, fingers and mouths.
• Leave an assortment of safe toys about for your small dog to chew on and toss about.
• Health care is very important, Vaccinations and check ups must be maintained for a healthy happy pet. get diet advice from your vet or kennel club or the SPCA in your neighborhood.
• Security when out in public is crucial. Secure collar, firm harness and correct weight leash necessary for exercising and training, ensures less chance of slipping the collar or harness.
• Unless you intend breeding, it may be pertinent to have your dog neutured or speyed. Microchipping is a good investment as well. If your dog should wander away, or even be “dog napped” you will have more chance of recovering him/her.

Now, armed with a will to add to your family, go find your new friend, companion and confidante. Enjoy each other, and appreciate the commitment you will make to one another. Dogs take up a lot of time, energy

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