Most frequent asked questions

Before adopting a dog

Dog health

Dog owner responsibilities

Dog food

Dog training

A puppy or an older dog?

A puppy or an older dog will require time and patience from you. A puppy needs many interactions with his owners and with other people in order to build his personality accordingly. Training a puppy involves also time and patience from the owner. Adopting an adult dog can sometimes be challenging as well, given that we do not necessarily know the past history of the dog. Many dogs who have been abandoned in kennels suffer from separation anxiety and will need some time to adjust to their new environment.

Are some breeds healthier than others?

Some dog breeds are known to be healthier than others and do not require the same level of health care. However, some health conditions such as allergies and eyes conditions can also occur in healthier dog breeds.

How can I find a responsible breeder?

A responsible dog breeder will have regularly brought his dogs to a veterinary surgeon to carry out proper health checks. Subsequently, he should be able to show you the results of the dogs' health examination. He should also keep the puppies for at least two to three months with the bitch as her interactions with the puppies will have a decisive impact on the future behaviour of the dogs. A careful dog breeder will ensure that the bitch does not produce more than four litters during her life and that a sufficient amount of time is spread apart between her pregnancies.

Furthermore, the breeder should be happy to answer your questions and give you advice. Responsible dog breeders are as motivated in finding a good home for their puppies as well as new owners in finding a good and faithful companion for themselves.

When visiting a litter, what shall I look for?

It is highly recommended to meet the puppies' parents as the litter will share similar genes. If you are satisfied with the dogs' behaviour you may go ahead in the process of adoption.

It is important to visit the litter to see the environment the puppies are living in. It is preferable to choose a dog who has been living inside a house and has had regular contact with humans, as he will grow more confident around people. It is also advisable to see the complete litter before adopting a puppy, as watching the puppies interact between them will give you a lot of information. The first puppy coming towards you is generally the most dominant one. Inexperienced dog owners will often think this confident puppy is the most welcoming one but he is, in fact, checking them up. Subsequently, he might be more difficult to train than one of the quieter puppies.

It is also a good idea to ask the breeder to see each puppy separately to analyse their behaviour outside the litter. An energetic puppy might turn out to be very shy when taken away from the litter. Always bear in mind that the behaviour you will see is the one you will have at home.

Shall I choose a male or a female dog?

Female dogs tend to be more independent than male dogs and do not show as many signs of affection towards their owners. They can also be dominant and therefore training them can be slightly more difficult. Male dogs can sometimes be aggressive towards other male dogs and therefore would benefit from further socialization.

Bitches have their first season in their first year and come back into season every six months approximately. Before they come into season, a change of character can be noticed by owners. The female dog generally becomes more affectionate. Some bitches can also suffer from ghost pregnancies. Ghost pregnancy generally happens in the three months following the seasons. For owners who are not planning to breed their female dog, it is recommended to get them spayed to avoid unforeseen pregnancies and future health problems such as cancers.

Will my puppy be vaccinated before I bring him home?

During his first two days of life the puppy will receive his antibodies from the blood and colostrum of his mother (given that the mother has been recently vaccinated). If the mother has not been vaccinated for some time, the puppy will not receive any antibody and, subsequently, will be more exposed to diseases.

The age a puppy should be vaccinated depends on the amount of antibodies the puppy has received in his earlier life. If the antibodies of his mother are still present in his body, the vaccine might not be efficient. As a result, some litters might be ready to be vaccinated at 6 weeks whereas others will have to wait longer. About half of the litters will be ready for vaccination in their first 2 months.

How often should an adult dog be vaccinated?

It depends on the vaccine, some injections need to be repeated every year, others every two years. This is not valid for pregnant bitches who require booster shots to stimulate their antibodies.

Shall the breeder give fleas and ticks treatment to the puppy before adoption?

Fleas and tick treatments contains chemicals which can be dangerous for puppies aged under 6 weeks. Breeders should take extra care to prevent parasites by treating the mother dog. There are some fleas and ticks products available on the market for older puppies. The breeder should therefore treat the puppy before adoption.

How often should I give fleas and ticks treatment to my dog?

It is recommended to always check the instructions on the medicine box. Fleas and ticks treatment generally depend on the weight of the dog.

Most of the veterinary surgeons recommend the use of Frontline. Different types of Frontline products are available on the market depending on the dog breed you have. You will need to apply one dose of Frontline every month onto the dog's neck to prevent fleas and ticks infections.

Why should I get my dog micro-chipped?

Having your dog micro-chipped is very important in case your dog goes missing. The procedure is simple, a veterinary surgeon will insert the micro-chip underneath the skin between the dog's shoulder blade. The dog owner will receive a letter confirming the micro-chip ID number of his dog. This ID number will need to be passed on to the recovery service in case of the dog's disappearance. The micro-chip can be quickly scanned to verify the contact details of the dog owner. Subsequently dogs who get lost stand a better chance to be reunited with their rightful owner.

It is highly recommended to notify the recovery service of an eventual change of address or phone number as the efficiency of the system relies on this information only.

What information should be engraved on a dog's tag?

In the UK, a dog tag generally bears the owner's full name, contact numbers and postcode. It is not recommended to mention the dog's name as it makes it easier to steal a dog.

Am I allowed to leave my dog off leash when going on a walk?

There are certain areas where you can let your dog off his lead given that your dog is not a potential threat to people and/or other dogs. When going on a walk, look at the signs which will inform you if you are allowed to let your dog off his lead. Numerous cities have a dog park were you can let your dog run freely.

Who do I call if I have lost my dog?

If your dog is micro-chiped, you will need to call the recovery service and give them the micro-chip ID of your dog. If your dog has been found, you will receive a phone call to notify you. It might also be a good idea to contact the nearest pound.

Additionally, it is a good idea to put an ad portraying your dog in nearby shops

How much food does my dog need?

This depends on the dog breed. Generally, the quantities of food needed by a dog will be listed on the dry food packaging.

How often should I feed my dog?

Most dog breeds will do better if they are fed twice a day. Dividing the daily food ration will encourage a better digestion and will ensure that your dog is not hungry during the day.

Shall I give vitamins and mineral supplement to my dog?

Choosing a good quality dog food will ensure that your dog gets all the vitamins and minerals required to his well being. Adding vitamins and minerals to his diet without the advice of a veterinary surgeon can be toxic and affect the dog's health. If you are concerned about the diet of your dog, it is highly recommended for you to consult a veterinary surgeon.

How can I control my dog diet?

It is important to measure properly the quantities of food you are giving to your dog. Generally, take a look at the shape of the dog to make sure he does not have weight problems. If your dog is a pure breed, you can get an idea of the ideal weight of your dog by gathering information about the breed.

Why is dog training so important?

To ensure that your dog is well behaved, it is important to establish rules and boundaries from the day you bring your puppy home. This will help you in developing a bond with your dog and help him find his place in the household. Obedience training is essential to raise a balanced dog. By establishing yourself as the pack leader, your dog will be less likely to develop behavioural problems such as aggressiveness.

Having little experience with dogs, where can I get training advice?

Inexperienced dog owners would benefit from bringing their dogs to obedience training classes where they will receive professional advice on dog training. Obedience classes are generally very entertaining for puppies as well as for older dogs as it involves a lot of interactions with people and other dogs.

For owners who have adopted an older dog and face behaviour problems, it is generally recommended to hire a personal dog trainer who will be able to assist them in redirecting the dog behaviour.

Why is socializing an important part of puppy training?

The first eight months of your puppy is crucial in their overall development and socialization. Therefore, it is important to establish a primary social relationship between the puppy and owner as this has been proven to help with the psychological maturity of the dog. A healthy relationship with his owner will help the dog in adapting quicker to his surroundings. Moreover, a smooth and gentle introduction of the puppy to other dogs will help building his confidence.