Am I ready for a puppy?

14 December 2023 - 4 min read
Dog with a chew toy

Getting a puppy is a big decision. Your new furry friend can bring a lot of love into your home, but can also mean you need to make some adjustments.

Dogs bring no shortage of excitement and joy, but there are plenty of things to consider before you get one and you should think carefully about whether you’re ready to bring a puppy into your life. To help you choose the right puppy for you, let’s take a look at a few things that might influence your decision, including how much your puppy will cost, whether to adopt or buy a puppy, and what to expect from different breeds. 

How much does it cost to own a dog?

Our Technical Claims manager Sarah Dawson is a qualified Vet Nurse. She says there are five key costs new pet owners need to think about. They can add up to around £704* in the first few weeks, on top of what you pay to buy your puppy.

  1. The basic essentials - £300: This can include a bed, food and water bowls, toys and chews to keep your puppy stimulated, pet food, lead, collar, and tag.

  2. Routine health care - £150: Make sure you budget for flea and worming treatments and initial vaccinations. Initial vaccinations for puppies might reach £150 depending on size and breed. Annual boosters will cost an average of £90 a year after that.

  3. Vet bills - £55: The average cost of a vet consultation in the UK is around £55. However, some of the most common claims for vet treatment can cost almost £500, and some other long-term issues, like hereditary heart disease, can cost up to £5,000 to manage. 

  4. Pet insurance - £49 (monthly): Many owners choose to take out pet insurance so that they can provide the best veterinary treatment for their pets without having to worry about the bill. 

  5. Training and behaviour correction - £150 (6 week course): We’ve seen a rise in behaviour-associated claims for younger pets, so it's best tostart training early. Group *dog training classes can cost up to £70 per session, and around £150 for a 6-week course.

*The prices listed here are averages and may vary significantly depending on a range of factors.

To learn more about what it might cost to own a dog, read our article on the annual cost of dog ownership

What breed of puppy should I get?

The right breed of puppy for you and your family depends on things like your lifestyle, the home that you live in, and your location.

How to choose the right puppy breed for me?

When choosing a puppy breed, there’s no way to know for sure which will fit your family best. However, you can take some common sense things into account, including the size of your home, your level of activity, your available free time, and what other members of your family want!

If you live in a flat in an urban area, for example, it might be worth considering a smaller dog that doesn't need as much exercise as a larger or particularly energetic breed.

Once you’ve got an idea of what kind of dog will suit you best, it's worth narrowing your choice down to a few specific breeds that might be a good fit, before doing in-depth research. Think about your situation as well as the needs of the puppy.

If you’re looking for a family dog, you’ll want a happy and healthy breed that’ll be good with children. Large dogs like labradors, for example, can make great family pets - especially for those with big gardens and plenty of time for walks.

Popular breeds of family dogs, from smallest to largest, include:

  1. Brussels Griffon: A toy breed with big, expressive eyes and an ample personality for their diminutive size.

  2. Pug:  Big fans of sleeping and eating, pugs have a special affinity with children.

  3. French Bulldog: A small, low-maintenance dog that’s playful, responds well to training, and isn’t too barky.

  4. Collie: One of the smartest dog breeds, which is brilliant if you think your children will benefit from teaching your dog tricks or setting them tasks.

  5. Labrador Retriever: The loyal lab is likely to adore and be adored by the whole family, but they do need a few hours of high-quality exercise per day.

  6. Irish Setter: Affectionate and majestic, Irish Setters love to spend time outdoors. You’ll need plenty of room and time for boundless exercise.

  7. Bernese Mountain Dog: A big, powerful breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog’s size belies a sweet nature. These gentle giants can be great with small children.

  8. Newfoundland: Sometimes known as the ‘nanny dog’ due to its patience and watchfulness. You’ll need a big car to transport your Newfoundland and bear in mind that they’re a bit on the slobbery side, but they’re devoted, seldom bark, and love people.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options to the breeds that fit your lifestyle, it’s important to remember that you’ll have to do some work to nurture and train your dog to make sure it becomes a happy and healthy member of your family.

Getting a dog can be rewarding and valuable for families. When children grow up with dogs, it helps develop their responsibility and compassion. It’s also likely to help prevent any nerves or hang-ups they may have about animals when they get older.

Find out more abouthow to socialise your dog with children.

Read our guide onChoosing the right dog breed for you.

If you want more input on your choice of dog, don’t be shy: you can talk to vets or friends who have experience with dogs, reach out to breeders, or consider joining Facebook groups and forums to ask current owners questions. 

Bear in mind that some breeds can cost a lot more to insure than others: take a look at our guide to insurance costs for different dog breeds.

How much time do I need for a puppy?

Owning a puppy will take time and effort, and you’ll need to be sure you can commit the time to look after it, especially in its first few weeks and months. 

When you first bring your puppy home, you’ll need to have at least a few free days (or ideally even a week) to dedicate to it. This means that you might need to take a few days off work if no-one in the house is free to look after your pup. As they grow, puppies need about 2-3 hours of active attention every day, but that doesn’t count the time you might need to keep an eye on them when they’re playing on their own, or getting up to mischief around the house. 

If you have a crate for your puppy, you can start crate training and help it get used to spending time on its own. Crate training can also be useful for creating a toilet training routine. In fact, routines are very important for puppy time management: the more your pup understands its routine (when to eat, when to play, when to go to the toilet, and so on), the easier it will be for you to manage your time with it. 

Getting started with your pup

If you’ve decided it’s time to get a puppy, then don’t forget about puppy insurance. From accidents and injuries, to dental illness, puppy insurance cover means you’ll have financial support should you need to take your furry friend to the vet unexpectedly. Learn more about ManyPets puppy insurance here.

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Pet insurance with up to £15,000 lifetime vet fee cover.

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