Windmill Animal Hospital: Picking the Perfect Pet

Published 12/12 2013 11:35AM

Updated 12/12 2013 04:50PM

        Are you looking for a new family pet? Or are you getting one for a loved one for the holidays? Dr. Price has some great tips to help you decide if you're ready for a new pet and which kind you should get!


Are you sure you want to deal with a brand new puppy over the Christmas Holidays?
- What about any traveling your family may do? What guests (and their pets) are expected?
- Are you really going to be able to spend the time your new puppy will need during this very hectic time? (Remember, your new puppy will likely need a check up at your veterinarian!)
- What about waiting to pick up the new puppy after the new year?

Indoor vs. Outdoor:

Do you want your new puppy to be a permanent indoor resident, or are you planning for it to be a strictly outdoor dog?
- If your new puppy is go be strictly outdoors, why are you getting one?

Fitting Your Lifestyle:

What size adult dog do you want to live with? (Remember, puppies grow a lot!)
- What kind of coat, therefore what kind of shedding, are you willing to deal with?
- How busy and active is your lifestyle? Active dogs who don't get enough exercise are commonly very destructive.
- Are you in an apartment vs in a house with a yard? Apartment dogs are completely depended on you to get enough exercise.


Puppies need to go to the veterinarian 3-4 times during their puppyhood for their vaccinations and other health issues; they then need to be spayed/neutered. Are you prepared to commit the time and money for these critically important vet visits?
- Puppies get sick --Abilene is a major "hot spot" for puppies getting sick with parvovirus, canine distemper & kennel cough; toy puppies commonly have trouble with hypoglycemia; puppies can even just get diarrhea from too many treats -- are you prepared to cover such costs? Treating a puppy for Parvo costs $600-$1000 or even higher, with no guarantee of the puppy's survival.
- How much maintenance cost are you prepared to handle?
        1. For example, coated breeds like Schnauzers, Poodles, Shih Tzus, Maltese, etc., need to be groomed at a minimum of every 6 weeks, at a cost of $30-$50.
        2. Toy and terrier breeds need to have their teeth cleaned annually as adults, at a cost of $150-$250.
        3. Bull Dogs, Shar Peis and many other breeds have numerous health problems, including allergies, ear infections, pancreatitis, hip dysplasia/arthritis, etc., needing frequent visits to the vet with frequent expenditures.
        4. If you're not willing or able, financially, to handle the maintenance cost of a breed you're considering, then you should consider other breeds -- it's cruel and unfair to the dog.


Probably the most important consideration of all.
- Do you have children? Does the breed you are considering have a good reputation with kids?
- Are you an experienced and confident dog owner? Otherwise, stay away from the working breeds, such as rottweilers -- they are not for beginners.
- Does the breed you are considering have strong prey drive? For example, many sporting breeds ("bird dogs") have to be taught to not hunt cats and small dogs; they are not good choices for households with toy breed dogs and/or cats.

Where to Get a Puppy:

The vast majority of puppies in the United States are raised in a puppy-mill type environment for profit.
- Signs to avoid at a puppy producer:
        1. They won't let you inspect their premises.
        2. They have multiple litters at the same time.
        3. They have puppies of several breeds available at the same time.
        4. They don't use a sales contract guaranteeing the health of your puppy.
- Signs that you're dealing with an ethical breeder:
        1. Their breeding stock is screened for genetic defects before being used for breeding.
        2. Their puppies are sold with a health guarantee.
        3. They interview you just as much as you interview them -- they are very concerned about where their puppies end up.

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