If you’re considering owning a dog, you might be wondering how to go about it. In this brief guide, we’ll take you through the nitty-gritty of owning a dog in Australia so that you can breeze through the process and have your new companion settled-in in a jiffy.
With A Great Pet Comes Great Responsibility (And Expense)
Before rushing out and getting that adorable little pup, it’s important that you examine your situation first to determine whether you really want a dog and whether you’re up to the task. In addition to being a great responsibility, dogs are dependent creatures that come with additional financial obligations. (For perspective; It costs about $1,500 dollars annually to own a dog in Australia.)
Make sure you have the time, space, money and legitimate reason to want to own a dog before you commit. Then, decide on a breed that best fits your personality, space and lifestyle to avoid future inconveniences and/or disappointments.
The Steps To Owning A Dog In Australia
Once you’re sure you want a dog and can actually take care of him/her, follow these steps to get your new furry best friend:
- Choose where to get a dog. If you’re very specific about the type of dog you want, or want a puppy that you can bring up yourself, you’ll need to buy your dog from a breeder. It’s important that you do some homework to find an ethical dog breeder near you. A vet can provide you with some leads to check out. Be advised: this option can be expensive, with dog prices ranging from $0 – $3,500+ depending on the breed you want. If you’re strapped for cash or would prefer to give a rescued dog a home, you might want to consider adopting a pooch through a dog rehoming or rescue centre. Some of the popular dog rescue organisations in Australia include RSPCA, nOKill network, Australian Working Dog Rescue (AWDRI) and PetRescue. Local council rehoming centres such as the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) are also a great place to start if you’re looking to adopt.
- Visit breeders or animal rehoming centres. In this digital error where with just a couple of clicks you can have anything delivered straight to your doorstep; it can be tempting to want to order a dog straight from the internet – don’t do it. Once you have shortlisted breeders or shelters near you, it’s time you give them a visit to see the dogs that are available and get some important information in the process. You might have to visit a few facilities, but once you find a dog you like, be sure to get acquainted with them and ask their handler as many questions about them as you can: questions relating to their medical history, behaviour assessment, veterinary care, feeding, adoption fees and so on.
- Prepare you home. You’ll want to get your home ready for your new pet companion before they get there. Buy the necessities they’ll need including a bed, crate, blankets, toys, feeding and drinking bowls, dog food, collar and leash among other items. Get the basics first, and then you can add to the list as you become a more experienced dog owner. Also, find a spot for your new dog and dog-proof the house by removing dangerous items like chemicals and items that the dog can damage.
- Assess the dog. Whether you’re buying the dog from a breeder or an animal rescue facility, it’s important that you get the dog examined by a veterinarian before you finalise things. While having a completely clean bill of health is not necessary for you to buy or adopt a dog, it is important that you know of any pre-existing conditions beforehand so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. For an adoption dog, make sure you get a temperament assessment report which details the dog’s personality; or get them assessed if they haven’t already.
- Register your dog.Once you bring your new dog home, it’s legally mandated in most Australian states that you get them registered with the local council if they’re older than 12 weeks. You might get a longer grace period if you take in a rescue, so be sure to check with your local authorities.
Getting a dog is just the start of the journey. Now that you have them, it’s up to you to learn them, love them, and develop a fun and loving relationship.