Column: Thinking about buying a dog?

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Puppies are cute bundles of fluff and once you’ve seen that cute ‘pick me’ look there’s no going home without one. It’s easy to fall in love with a dog. They bring us joy, companionship and stress relief, although they bring stress too.

However, the decision to get a dog should not be taken lightly. They are a long-term commitment, up to 15 years or more and they are totally reliant on you and take a lot of time, money and responsibility.

Have you got the time for one? They need feeding, exercising, socialising, grooming and training.

Many dogs end up in shelters.

Can you afford one? From basics such as food, treats, collars and leads, toys and beds to insurance, healthcare (including regular vaccines, worming and fleas) unexpected vets bills, training classes, grooming and boarding if you go away. There are possible costs from a certain amount of damage around the house and to your belongings, especially when raising a puppy. It all adds up fast.

Do you understand dog law and your responsibilities as an owner? Are you prepared to accept them? It is compulsory for your dog to be micro chipped and sensible to keep the database updated in case your dog gets lost. In a public place your dog must wear a collar and ID tag (£5,000 if you fail to comply).

Pick up after your dog if they foul footpaths parks or public places. Failure to scoop the poop can lead to a £1000 fine. Keep your dog under control at all times.

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act a person in charge of a dog commits an offence if the dog causes another person to believe they MAY be at risk of injury, whether or not they are actually injured.

Not everybody loves dogs, respect the views of others.

It’s a long list but its important you seriously think through all the responsibilities associated with bringing a dog into your lives.

Too many dogs end up in shelters because people didn’t ask these questions or answer them honestly.