America's most popular pet
Dogs demand lots of your time and attention. They need plenty
of exercise and thrive on interaction with their "adopted
Daily walks, frequent baths and feeding can
be time consuming, but these requirements make the dog an
ideal pet for a family that has many hands to help and attention
to give to the pet.
And, we are in love with these creatures. Dogs are the most
popular pet in homes across the country, according to the
American Pet Products Manufacturers Association's most recent
Deciding whether to buy a purebred or adopt
from your neighborhood Humane Society is a personal decision.
If you decide to buy a purebred, research the various dog
breeds to find the best match for your household and the puppy.
Check with breed clubs, read dog magazines, go to dog shows
and talk with the staff at your local Humane Society for some
Breed info.com is a wonderful resource for learning about
the different breeds and their individual characteristics
and for finding breeders.
Obviously, you want to find a healthy pet. Signs
of good health or health problems can be seen in the skin,
coat, eyes, ears, mouth and weight of your pet. Part of your
responsibility is to know what these signs are before buying
Once you decide on the type of dog you want,
you will need to prepare your house and your family for the
new friend. This will take some time so don't wait until your
pet is already in the house. Decide where the pet will spend
most of its time, where it will sleep and eat. Will you fence
your yard? What will you do to protect and keep your pet from
You will need to buy a collar, tag and toys;
find a veterinarian and arrange for a sitter for occasions
when you have to leave your pet. Plan to use the same veterinarian
and sitter whenever needed, so your dog will become familiar
with them and visits will be more pleasant.
It's difficult to say what price you'll pay
for your dog, because pricing is based on the type of dog
you buy, its size and even the region in which you live. A
puppy from the shelter usually costs from $15 to $75, while
one from a breeder could range from $250 to $1,500, according
The price for your dog may or may not include
that of immunization, spaying or neutering. You'll need to
reserve $50 to $100 for those procedures.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals says a spayed or neutered animal could save you
the licensing cost of $8 to $15. Licensing is required by
most states but the regulations vary from one community to
Annual medical care, as reported by the
ASPCA, averages $150 for a small dog, $175 for a medium-sized
one and $200 for a large dog. In urban areas, this figure
could be higher.