Before buying a puppy, take into consideration what characteristics the dog will have when it is an adult.
Before buying a puppy, take into consideration what characteristics the dog will have when it is an adult.

Don’t Jump Into Buying a Puppy Until You’ve Done the Research

It’s almost always a bad idea to buy something on impulse -- even more so when it’s a puppy that has some unwelcomed characteristics that you will have to tolerate for 12 years or longer.

Just like any major decision that you will live with for years, do a lot of good research up front before you buy, including a chat with your veterinarian. After the cuteness of puppydom goes away, some uninformed dog owners are left with adult dogs that require much more care than they ever anticipated, says Dr. Cherie Anderson.

While the internet is a good place to get general information on breeds and characteristics that you may want in an adult dog, a consultation with a veterinarian will help you to consider -- or reconsider -- some of your notions on what it will take to care for a beloved pet. Some of those considerations include the medical, food, grooming, temperament, and lifestyle needs of the pet.

“For instance, certain breeds are going to have a more rapid progression of dental disease than others,” Cherie says. “Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, and other toy breeds are going to need dental cleanings every year because they usually acquire dental disease quicker than other breeds.”

One common mistake for uninformed owners is to ignore the natural instincts of a dog bred to want more strenuous exercise. Hunting and working breeds such as pointers, setters, hounds, and shepherds crave lots of exercise in the open spaces as well as mental stimulation. Cooping up these breeds without enough stimulation and activity can lead to behavioral problems, Cherie says.

Another common mistake for new owners is ignoring the type of coat the dog has and how often it will have to be groomed. “Some breeds are less likely to trigger allergies than others,” Cherie says. “Some dogs shed regularly, while others don’t. Short-haired breeds like Labradors and Pointers will need an occasional bath, but they don’t need regular, professional grooming. Poodles and doodles generally will need a full grooming every 6 to 12 weeks.”

The bottom line is the charm, cuteness and playfulness of a puppy quickly gives way to the mannerisms and needs of an adult dog, so make sure that you know your obligations for the long haul.