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Dog and cat advice needed - potential new owners :)

(6 Posts)
ETsmum Tue 16-Jun-09 11:57:31

We are thinking about getting our first pets (bar a hamster years back) in the near future and I need lots of advice please. Me and dp, ds is nearly 6. I will prob be working p/t, so at home some of the day for walking etc.

We are thinking a dog and cat or possibly 2 cats. I would be really greatful for advice on what combination to go for, what ages (ie puppy/kittens or dog/cat), wether it is best to get say the dog first then introduce cats etc?

Also re breeds; dh has had allergies to pet fur in the past but has touch wood (and we have tested him!) grown out of this at last. What breeds are better for allergy sufferers and what breeds are better with children? Any breeds that get on better with cats? We are prob thinkig small to medium sized dog.

Enough questions Thanks for any help/opinions.

LittleB Tue 16-Jun-09 12:37:25

Wow, lots of questions!
If you're getting cat and dog it might be better to get the cat 1st, so the dog is always used to cats in your home. Usually dogs are ok with cats they live with, but my neighbours adopted what was supposed to be a 'cat friendly' greyhound, he's not, the cat lives upstairs (can get out of house through window onto single storey extension), dog downstairs, he really would try and kill the cat if he got hold of it. People also say terriers aren't good mixed with other animals but I have a border terrier cross who is a real softy and will hide behind me if a cat so much as looks at him!
We also had 2 cats, from the cat protection league and they were lovely too. The biggest difference in my experience between dogs and cats is the time commitment. Dogs need a lot more training, need excercising every day, need to come on holiday with you or go into kennels. But they do have their plus sides - I have 2 dogs, would probably have cats too if we didn't live near a busy road.
If you are working part time a puppy could be tricky, it depends what hours you are doing and if you can pop home during the day, or take time off when you first get a puppy. They are alot of work for the first few months especially - like having a baby again!
Re your DH, my dad suffers from pet allergies but owns a dog, he went for a while without a dog, and then had his allergies when he came into contact with them again, but his body seems to adjust to it, so although he's bad (streaming eyes and nose) for a few days it soon settles down. He has a really hairy flat coat retriever!
There are lots of low shedding dogs around though, poodles don't shed much, some others like border terriers are good too. You could do some research online, or go to local dog shows to meet other breeds and see what you like, have a look around local rescue centres too. You need to factor in how much excercise you can give a dog too, if you do loads of walking a working type breed like a terrier or spaniel might be good, but if you want something quieter there are lovely companion dogs around like Cavaliers etc.
I'm sure someone else will be along soon with more advice!

ETsmum Tue 16-Jun-09 19:59:03

Thanks LittleB and yes, lots of questions Trying to make sure we have thought everything through. Thanks especially for the idea about possibly getting the cat/s first. Also some of the things you say bring home the fact that althought you can generalise about breeds of dog, each dog is going to be different.

Likening a puppy to a new baby seems pretty accurate from what I have read up on them - hence thinknig about getting one oer the summer hols while I am not at work and hence can catch up on sleep Realistically though in some ways I think we might be better NOT getting a puppy and going for a (slightly) older dog, but I guess each dog may have it's own issues, whatever its age...

Thanks for the info re your dad and his allergies too - that is comforting. A friend has a very hairy corgi, so dh has been spending time with him - so far no probs, which is amazing considering he used to be like your dad (eyes and nose streaming etc).

Thanks again for your help - we live in the Channel Islands and don't have a huge scope for rescue centres etc - which is good in a way I guess; the local animal shelter doesn't have ANY dogs atm!

ETsmum Wed 17-Jun-09 08:18:01

Bump for any more opinions please?

Bella39 Wed 17-Jun-09 09:48:53

Agree with LittleB that dogs and cats are streets apart in terms of commitment: cats can be left all day if you have to, but dogs never can. And a puppy will require you to be there virtually full time for the first few months.

I'd disagree, however, about getting the cat first if you are planning on having both- the cat's much more likely to be upset by a dog coming into his home, than the other way around. That said, you have to find cat-friendly dogs and dog-friendly cats.

Your best option given your current situation may be to get a rescue cat or cats, see how that goes, then maybe get a (cat-friendly) dog later.

Best of luck anyway.

spugs Wed 17-Jun-09 14:37:07

Bichon frise and mini schnauzers dont shed, i have a cross of these and the only hairs i see from him which arent on his body are the ones on the brush. Bichons are supposed to be particularly good for allergy sufferers but dont like to be left alone.

I work part time and have a puppy, my dh is a fire fighter so is often around. Hes very rarely left and if he is its 4 hrs max. (At the same time he prob should be left more as hes very clingy and yaps when not with us!!!)

We already had a cat when we got the pup but have had an older, quiet dog previously when he was a kitten. The cat has taken a few weeks to feel fully comfortable with the dog and i htink if the dog had been bigger or more boisterus then it wouldnt have worked. I would either get a dog first or both at the same time (havent done this myself but someone might be along who has).

When i initially got my cat i also got his litter mate. They proved to me to much for me as they were constantly flying around the house and tearing the furniture to shreds so one of them went to my mam. They may have been better as adults but we had another baby on the way so it was the best thing to do.

Cats are a hundred times easier then dogs, the only problem we ever had with our cat (once there was only one) was the wallpaper scratching phase and that didnt last long. Litter training was a walk in the park and he doesnt cost a lot of money. Puppies are the opposite they need a lot of attention,excercise, house breaking which for my mutt is proving tricky, training to behave themselves etc plus there more expensive on a day to day basis especially if its the kind that needs regular trips to the groomers.
But they are so much fun and even though my pup can at times be an enormous yappy pain in the arse grin i wouldn't change it for the world.

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