The outbreak of Covid-19 and the Government's order for people to stay at home under lockdown means getting a puppy may be more difficult at this time.
Rehoming centres across the country may be closed and visiting a breeder to collect a puppy is not considered essential travel.
If you still want to buy a puppy once restrictions are lifted, our guide will give you some tips and advice; including details of Lucy's Law, the Government's new legislation that affects the breeding and selling of puppies and kittens.
On 6 April the Government introduced Lucy's Law, which means that anyone who wants to buy a puppy or kitten under 6 months of age must deal directly with a breeder or animal rehoming centre.
Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. Find out everything you need to know about what Lucy's Law means for buying a puppy or kitten here.
See our latest guides to caring for pets during coronavirus.
Should I buy or adopt a dog?
When looking to buy a puppy, be sure to go to a reputable breeder. The Kennel Club has lots of information including Kennel Club approved breeders.
Alternatively, there are hundreds of rescue centres across the country that have thousands of dogs looking for their forever homes. Support Adoption For Pets tells you where your nearest rescue centres can be found.
What kind of puppy should I get?
Now there isn’t really one way to choose which breed is right for you; it is entirely dependent on your lifestyle, your time, your house, your family etc.
The Kennel Club has lots of information about breed traits, and a handy quiz to help you decide.
If you live in a flat with no garden, a toy dog like a Yorkshire terrier could be a good option because it doesn't require as much exercise as bigger dogs.
Large dogs like Labradors make great family pets for those with big gardens and plenty of time for walks.
It is also worth bearing in mind that some breeds can cost a lot more to insure than others - take a look which breeds cost more to insure!
How much attention does a puppy require?
This is probably one of the most important things for you to consider. Puppies require love, care, attention and regular exercise. Not to mention a lot of training and a stable daily routine.
Are you often out of the house for long periods of time? If so, you will need to consider getting a dog walker or/and a pet sitter.
How to choose the best dog insurance
Most people who decide to get pet insurance do it to get help with unexpected vet bills.
Pet insurance premiums tend to increase as your dog gets older, but not with our Fixed for Life policy, created especially for puppies and kittens under the age of two years old.
Our Fixed for Life comes with fixed premiums, and the price of your pet insurance will never increase during the lifetime of your dog, even if you claim, move to a new address or your vet increases his or her fees.
By paying a pet insurance company a set amount, you don’t have to worry about covering the costs of vet treatment if your pet becomes unwell or is in an accident.
If a pet needs major surgery or develops an ongoing condition that requires vet treatment and medication over many years, vet costs can run to thousands of pounds. For example:
- Luxating patella – if your pet needed surgery on both knees this could cost £1,600
- Heart problems – open heart surgery can cost up to £10,000
- Hip dysplasia – if your pet needed both hips replaced, it could cost £7,000
You will want to consider what the right policy is for you.
Most providers offer different levels of cover, from basic, which would only cover your dog if it was in an accident, to premium, which would cover you for a wider range of ailments including dental problems.
You will need to decide whether to have an annual policy or a lifetime policy.
Most annual policies will not cover your dog for ongoing conditions after the first year.
Lifetime (or ‘yearly limit’) insurance covers vet fees up to the stated limit every year. This can be a good option if you worry about your pet developing a long-term or recurring illness. So long as you renew a lifetime policy each year, the level of vet fees will reset to the full stated limits that you started with.
With a lifetime product, it is important to note that your premiums will increase each year at renewal. This is different to a “Per Condition” policy, where a particular condition can become excluded once the condition limit is reached. Please note that your excess might also increase as your pet gets older.
A lifetime policy will cover your dog for ongoing conditions providing you renew with the same company. However, sometimes even lifetime policies will have a 'lifetime condition limit'. This means that the insurer has a maximum amount it will pay out for any one condition. So be sure to check the small print of any policy.
Our Fixed For Life policy offers up to £7,000 of lifetime vet fee cover and up to £20,000 in total claims during your pet's lifetime. Your premiums will never increase even if you claim, move home, or your vet starts charging more, as long as you buy your policy before you puppy turns two.
How much does it cost to own a dog?
There are many costs associated with dog ownership. According to the PDSA, the average dog can cost up to £16,000 across its lifetime.
Here are just a few things for you to think about:
- Food/Treats – It is worth looking into the type of food (and how much food) the type of dog you want eats. Bigger dogs have bigger appetites, so this can end up being quite costly
- Training- Some rescue dogs may come house trained, but you may have specific rules that you will want to enforce for your home. And if you are getting a puppy, you may want to consider puppy classes, to socialise them with other dogs, and give you a helping hand with hints and tips for how to handle your pooch
- Dog walkers – Obviously this may not be necessary for everybody, but it is worth looking into if you work long hours and want a dog walker to come in every day, as the cost can build up
- Grooming – If you are considering a dog like a Shih Tzu or Bichon Frise which requires a lot of grooming, you may end up sending them to a groomer as frequently as every six weeks. It is important to know exactly what grooming your dog will need
- Insurance – Did you know a broken leg can cost £1,200 or even more? It is important to look around for insurance for your dog, to avoid any nasty surprises. Our article on the Best Pet Insurance for Dogs might help
- Pet sitters/kennels – Make plans now for what you will do with your pooch if you go away, and look into the costs. Like a good scout, always be prepared
- Toys/presents – Teething toys, squeaky toys, rubber bones; the possibilities are endless
Now that you have considered all of these points, you are ready to find your new addition!
We wish your family, those on two legs and those on four, lots of happiness together.