Man’s best-friend – dogs are great pets for all ages, from infants to the elderly. We list the need-to-know on owning a pet dog.

Dogs make beautiful pets. They’re intelligent, loyal and affectionate creatures. You love them – and they will love you right back! However, owning a dog comes with responsibilities, so it’s important to question certain things before making the move to buy a pet.

When choosing a puppy or dog, it’s important to consider what type of dog is right for you and your family.

Before you make the step to buying a dog, question:

Are you ready to commit to caring for a dog for 10-15 years?

Do your work and social commitments allow for at least a 20 minute walk each day?

Does your family want a dog as much as you?

If you answered yes to these questions, wonderful! Here are some tips from for choosing a puppy:

Puppy checklist:

First and foremost – choosing the right owner or breeder is vital. Start your search with a breed club, as they might have local listings of puppy litters available. Or, they can refer you to reputable breeders in your local area. Alternatively, try going to a dog show – you will meet breeders and owners to get more information.

According to Purina,

  1. Puppies should be plump, but not fat. Check for any lumps or bumps.
  2. Avoid taking a puppy with a potbelly because it may have worms.
  3. Look out for swelling of the bellybutton – this will indicate an umbilical hernia.
  4. Puppies should have clean eyes, ears, nose, backside and coat. Their eyes should be bright. The ears should not be dirty, red, smelly or itchy. The coat shouldn’t have any bald or red patches.
  5. Deafness is a big problem in some breeds of dogs. To test your puppy, place the puppy on the floor and clap your hands or make a high-pitched squeak. If the puppy responds, this is a good sign. It may be wise not to take a puppy that doesn’t respond to obvious sudden noises.
  6. Pick up your puppy only once it is 8 weeks old. If you have to wait until 12 weeks, it’s best to choose a puppy from a busy household.