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Questions about dog ownership

(24 Posts)
MeadowHay Wed 27-Apr-16 11:02:33

I have been dying to get a dog for ages but not been in a suitable situation. I am hoping that in a few months time it might be possible but I have some questions...

1) Is it almost impossible to find a landlord that would allow me and DH to get a dog? We would be privately renting. We are planning to get the property sorted first instead of only seeking out places that say they accept pets as they seem so few and far between. Then I was thinking we could write to the landlord and request that we be allowed a dog, that we will train it, that it will be an adult and not a pup and should be already pretty much house trained, maybe offer to add a 'doggy deposit' as well? Also, is it pretty much a given that if it were a flat in a block that no landlord would consider that request so we really need to find a house?

2) We are mostly interested in sight-hound type dogs, but we have two guinea pigs. How rare is it to find a sight hound that will not want to eat them? grin I also really like staffies but don't know anything about their prey drives, although they are terriers so I am guessing that might also be a problem?

3) How much do you pay for insurance for your dog? Is it always better to get the dog insured or could it be just as good having a special savings account just for them?

4) Could anyone give me a rough breakdown of costs for dog ownership, maybe a 'initial outlay' rough costed list and then an ongoing monthly cost list? Because finances are something we need to work out to make sure we could definitely afford it.

5) We are planning to have children probably within the next few years. Should we only look for dogs that are known to be safe to live with children of all ages? I know they are out there although limited, and I'm pretty sure we don't want to get a very young puppy so that limits that further. What do people do when they get rescue dogs and then have children later, surely all those people don't only consider rescue dogs that are known to be ok with children? But obviously we don't want to be in a situation of giving up the dog when a baby comes along like lots of people do as that would be awful.

Sorry this is so long, thank you!

ScrotesOnFire Wed 27-Apr-16 11:25:55

My last property, my and DH approached the landlady and asked if we could have a puppy.
She was fine as long as we made good any damage and kept it under control.
We still have the dog, our new landlords don't care, about anything really!
I would say though, in a rental, it is doubly important to make sure your dog is well behaved - doesn't bark incessantly, housetrained etc so the landlord has little reason to change their mind.

I wouldn't feel comfortable with an adult dog, of a breed known to be highly prey driven, around squeaky little Guinea pigs myself.
A puppy you could train yes, not an adult.
And I'd never leave them alone together.
I like staffies more than sight hounds smile

£25 a month, I would prefer a savings account of at least £10,000 though if I could afford it.
Insurance companies are utter A holes, the amount of exclusions is insane, some of the cheaper ones don't allow referrals to good specialists anymore, excess is high on some of them and some vets now insist on payment upfront which you claim back later after insurance companies have refused claims, which rather begs the question, if you can afford the treatment why exactly do you need insurance??

My dog was £150 to buy, £25 per month insurance, she has feelwells homeopathic wormer - about a tenner for at least a year, billy no mates flea herbs £20 something for over a year but I'm thinking of switching to the tincture, raw diet between 40 and 150 per month depending on what I buy and where from.

I wouldn't have an adult rescue with young kids personally.
It's impossible to get a full and honest history as people can and do lie, especially as most rescues won't take dogs with a bite record.
You don't know if it's been disciplined in the past for warning and if it now just bites when it gets too much, if it has been abused by children in the past etc.
I think a lot of rescue's 'assessment' is piss poor and I think it's impossible to accurately guage a dog's personality in a kennel.

MiddleClassProblem Wed 27-Apr-16 11:26:24


So first off property wise, you will need a garden, somewhere for the dog to go to the loo. Some people will say they can just take the dog out each time but if the dog gets a poorly tummy at any point you will probably be cleaning poo of a communal hall way carpet rather than hosing off a court yard or patch of grass.

It's unlikely you will find a sight hound suitable. It sounds a bit like you are going the rescue root, in which case mention future children to them as there are some dogs that will already have bad experience. Rescues are always understandably over cautious with matching for children as if anything was to happen it could have serious reprocussions. Some rescues have lived with kids before, some are young and trainable. I have rescues and worked at a rescue. Just be honest with your situation. Smaller rescues may be more flexible but this can be both good and bad. At the end of the day you will know by the time your ready to have kids, how you will handle the situation. My eldest dog was a bit anxious around DD when she first started walking so we gave her her own space where she could have a chew and some time out whilst DD was finding her feet. This was only needed for a few months.each dog is different.

If going the puppy route, socialise with children, if you don't know any, take them to parks when kids are around etc. This goes for other dogs too. Puppies need a lot of care and minimal time alone. I think of 8 week old puppies as the age of a 3 to 5 year old child. How long would you leave them in a room alone etc?

Staffies, like most breeds not bred to chase, some will want to eat the Guinea pigs, some will not. I have two labs, one will want to harass small animals, the other will just lie there. You can train most that don't get too overexcited by the presence of other animals.

Money wise it depends on breed and age and health. A young mongrel with no health probs is the cheapest to insure. You can get annual insurance or one that lasts their life. The latter is better and slightly more expensive but if they get any on going conditions or a reoccurring injury the former will only cover you that first year and make you declare it there on out as a pre existing condition.

Money per month depends on what quality food, meds or vet trips, insurance etc. Find out how much annual vaccs are at your local vet and appointments. Some vets do a scheme where you pay monthly but you get free check ups, discount visits and procedures, flea and worming treatment etc

MeadowHay Wed 27-Apr-16 12:01:40

We would definitely go the rescue route. I don't think we are in a position to offer a tiny puppy a home because I am a full-time student and DH will probably be working full-time. I do not have tons of contact hours and we will be living quite close to my uni, so the dog will not have to be left alone too much, I am thinking 3 hours at a time maximum. But I know that is too long for a tiny pup so that's why I don't think we could take on a little one. Also I'm not sure I would feel comfortable training a tiny pup right from scratch in case I messed it up somehow blush I've never really been around little puppies before.

Good point about needing at least a yard in case a dog had an upset stomach and things, I hadn't thought of that before, so that rules out flats if we want to look at getting a dog then, unless it is ground floor I suppose.

I know that there are quite a few sighthounds that are cat-tested so I was thinking it may be possible to guinea pig test them as well you see. Rest assured that regardless of breed of dog and its prey drive, we would not leave them alone together, and we will make the pigs' cage as secure as possible too.

Is there a big difference between different types of dog foods? I know you can buy really cheap stuff and then really expensive stuff, are there significant nutritional differences? I would assume yes as I know I don't buy my piggies the cheapest dry food out there as it is crap.

ScrotesOnFire Wed 27-Apr-16 12:11:48

Hm, we used to leave our little puppy alone for a few hours sometimes in her cage with some toys.

There is a big difference between cats and Guinea pigs though imo.
My dog is fine with cats.
She goes berserk after squirrels and I expect probably Guinea pigs too tbh.
They are much smaller, much squeakier and they aren't inclined to give the dog a smack like a cat would.

Yes there is.
Cheaper foods often contain chemicals banned in other countries for being hormone disrupters, carcinogens etc.
They contain a lot of cereal which dogs can be allergic to, wouldn't naturally eat and don't offer any real nutritional benefit.
The meat used is very poor quality, it can be diseased, sometimes it's scrapings off the slaughterhouse floor rather than actual meat.
The colourants can cause hyperactivity and aggression.

MeadowHay Wed 27-Apr-16 12:42:38

Oh ok, I didn't know you could leave puppies alone. How old does a puppy have to be before you can leave it? I don't really know anything about puppies! And I suppose house training depends on the individual dog really?

That is gross about the meat from the floor!! I knew it was leftover bits but ew. I'm vegetarian so you can imagine how that imagery makes me feel shock

Adarajames Wed 27-Apr-16 12:58:38

I'm veggie but raw feed mine, it works out cheaper than the more decent prepared foods and is better for her, so I've learnt to get over my squimishness!
You're right not to get a puppy with the time commitments ou already have, unless you're working from home and only in classes 2 hrs a couple times a week, wouldn't be fair to have a young puppy.

Lots of smaller rescues work with foster homes rather than kennels, so can give a more realistic opinion n the dogs needing homes, how they are with kids, small furries etc.

sight hounds a bad idea with little pigs!

Staffs make lovely family dogs, most are great with kids (exceptions obviously, but a breed generalisation!) just have to be aware of how attached to humans some are and so have issues with separation anxiety; but there are soooo many staffs in rescue, you'd be sure to find one to suit your situation smile

Good luck and huge well done fr being sensible enough to think these things through before hand, it's a rare but oh so important stage in dog ownership star

MeadowHay Thu 28-Apr-16 20:08:35

I think you can find some sighthounds that are ok with small furries. I think one of the lady who runs Hounds First rescue actually has rabbits or guinea pigs too if I remember correctly.

Ah ok, I didn't know that staffies are particularly prone to SA. But as you say I know there are so many of them in rescue so all kinds out there.

How exactly do you raw feed them? I wouldn't know where to start! Can you ever get leftover stuff from local butchers that they can't sell or is this just in my imagination?

How old are puppies when they can be left? If I got a puppy say beginning of August, I would have the whole of August and September before I go back to uni to be at home full time with the pup, but I think that would still be too little an age to leave for a few hours at a time still? There are sometimes pups in rescue that are say 5 or 6 months old, is that still too young to leave? I don't really know when a pup stops being a tiny baby and when they become adults although I do know it differs by breed.

Thanks so much it's so great to have some knowledgeable people about, you've all given me lots to think about.

Snoopysimaginaryfriend Thu 28-Apr-16 20:26:32

I would just add that having a garden or yard does not guarantee that if your dog has a bad tummy it will make it outside in time, as my brother and sister in law found out with their lab grin just be prepared to clean up after them and if needs be replace something they have damaged, your 'doggy deposit' is a good idea

ScrotesOnFire Thu 28-Apr-16 20:35:48

Raw feeding - it's probably easiest to use a ready made block.
They come ready frozen, some good ones are nutriment, vince the vet and natures menu although there are others.
You just thaw and feed.

Alternatively, you can give whole animals like pigeons, rabbits, sprats, red mullet etc.
Quails are my dog's favourite or bits like chicken quarters, hare portions, lamb ribs etc.
If feeding bits instead of ready made or whole animals You need to give approx 10% organ meat per week, 5% of that should be liver.

I don't know if others would agree, but when we got our puppy, when she had settled in we started shutting her away a few times a day then as soon as she was quiet for a count of 5 seconds we rewarded and gradually increased the time ignoring wailing and praising quiet.
If we needed to go out, we just stuffed her in her crate with a Kong and a cuddly toy...
We didn't really leave much at first but when she was about 11 weeks old we did get stuck and were out for a couple of hours.
Everything was okay.
She's 3 now and fine being left in her crate, she doesn't howl or anything.

TrionicLettuce Thu 28-Apr-16 21:21:03

When you say "ok with small furries" what are you hoping for? Do you want the dog to be able to be within sight of the GPs and ignore them or just that having both in the same property would be doable with very careful management? The latter is a more reasonable aim I think, although I'm sure there's the odd pointy dog that's ok with small animals they very much in the minority.

Either way I think you'd be better going for an adult dog rather than a puppy. It's not always apparent how strong their prey drive is when they're small and just bringing them up around GPs might not be enough to counter it when it does kick in. Three of my current lot are whippets and their prey drives weren't fully developed until they were about 18 months to 2 years old.

MeadowHay Sun 01-May-16 09:17:33

I am aiming that a dog wouldn't be obsessed with the guinea pigs, so that they're not constantly bothering them (so the piggies are not frightened/bothered), and also so that the dog themself can relax and focus on other things. But as I say they certainly wouldn't be left alone together and the cage would be made as secure as possible regardless.

Thanks for you info about your whippets that is really helpful. I think we will almost certainly go for an adult dog, especially if it is a sighthound. I like staffies a lot too but DH is not convinced but I think he could be won over if he met one in person that he liked a lot. We are looking for a "low maintenance" type breed really, one that doesn't need tons and tons of walking! Any other breed suggestions welcome. We both like GSDs but I think as they were working dogs originally they would need a good few hours of exercise a day? Mostly we like quite big dogs hehe.

I don't think I could face giving whole animals (squeamish vegetarian lol), but the frozen blocks and things I think I could do. Thanks for the info!

BagelGoesWalking Mon 02-May-16 00:23:01

Look at smaller rescues who have their dogs in foster homes, rather than kennels. They can be assessed for length of time they can be left alone, how they are with children/other dogs/cats etc.

What about when you finish uni? Presumably you'll be looking for a job and working - will it be full-time? If so, you'll need to consider what you'll do with a dog then?

Would you be better offering to foster for a dog rescue? You could help a lot of dogs that way but not be completely committed, which would be helpful if you're not quite sure re your work situation post-uni.

You could also look at The Cinnamon Trust. They look for volunteer dog walkers for dog owners who can't walk their dogs due to illness etc. Again, a lovely thing to do but leaves you with a lot more flexibility.

ScrotesOnFire Mon 02-May-16 10:12:05

GSDs are a very unhealthy breed now..
In fact, I think, at one point, maybe still so now, they were actually on the Kennel Clubs breed watch list for health concerns.
Unless you went for a working bred one which wouldn't have the stupid slope back and probably a lot healthier but then a protection bred dog is going to have BIG prey drive and I'm not sure how manageable it's temperament would be, I would expect one to be quite 'hard' to corrections and perhaps very headstrong.

I don't really subscribe to the whole working breeds need a ton of exercise and stimulation thing.
I have a 'proper' working bred dog, she doesn't always get walked everyday, I don't do flyball or agility or competitive obedience, sometimes she does big hikes or I teach her cool tricks but generally I treat her as a regular dog.
She is a damn site better behaved than most 'pet' dogs I see.
I think excessive exercise and training is asking for trouble personally, they need to be able to wind down and relax imo not be permanently wired.

MeadowHay Mon 02-May-16 20:55:20

I have thought about fostering, I like the idea of taking a dog on as a foster first and seeing how things go, but I had a bit of a look around and I get the impression that foster parents are usually very experienced dog owners and have to be ready to take on a dog at short notice that may have issues of some sort and require quite intensive care to correct. Is that just a stereotype? Also we would be willing to take on the costs for the foster dog, like I know most charities can pay for veterinary care/food etc for foster dogs in their charge but we would totally be willing to meet the costs ourselves. If nothing else it could be an eye opening experience into the real cost of dog ownership!

Will definitely look into the volunteer walking, I have looked a few times and there never seems to be any opportunities in my area but I will keep checking it.

It is a good point about what I will be doing after uni, the thing is I really don't know. Me and DH really want to start a family soon but I have fertility problems. So after uni I could be either initially studying full-time again, studying part-time (and/or also working part-time), working part-time, working full-time, becoming SAHM in the future, I really have no idea yet. But I recognise that if we were both to work full time we would need to look at appropriate care for the dog (probably doggy day care), there is no way I would leave it alone all day or anything.

Interesting to hear your perspective about 'working' breeds Scrote (great name!).

BagelGoesWalking Mon 02-May-16 23:52:49

I fosters twice. Both times the dogs were from Eastern Europe. I had followed the rescued via FB beforehand, so felt I "knew" the people involved and their ethos etc. I specified that I wasn't an experienced owner (have looked after friends and family dogs) so didn't want a dog with any particular issues as I wasn't capable of doing any difficult training. The dogs I fostered were both sweeties, one had a few accidents but the other was house trained from the first night he arrived. They were fine with other dogs, people, children etc. So I would get to know a few rescues and decide if you'd like to go for fostering.

BagelGoesWalking Mon 02-May-16 23:54:01


Sorry for all the typos!

BagelGoesWalking Mon 02-May-16 23:57:10

These are a few rescues you could look at, some are uk based and some won't work in your area, but others work nationwide. All have FB groups

Pro Dogs Direct Most dogs in foster homes
Silver Fox Dog Rescue Most dogs in foster homes in UK. (a lot of their dogs are fostered in Scotland/N Eng but some are in the south).
Balkan Underdogs
Black Retriever X Rescue (not only retrievers)
UK Romanian Dog Rescue with kennels in Guildford and dogs in foster.
Griffon Adoption Group UK Gorgeous, gorgeous failed hunting dogs.

ScrotesOnFire Tue 03-May-16 07:10:06

Whilst I feel for these poor dogs plight, I cannot agree with bringing over dogs from abroad.
Dogs are euthanised in their thousands every year in the UK for lack of homes.
By bringing dogs over from Spain, Eastern Europe etc your not fixing the problem, you put no pressure on the country to actually change their ways as they know idiot England will just pick up the pieces angry

As a previous poster said, many of these dogs have big issues due to the abuse they have suffered, many are ex feral/street dogs.
A feral or street dog will likely be used to catching dinner - not ideal with Guinea pigs.
The OP has two young children, what about the possibility of guarding?
These dogs will have had to fight for food, that's a dangerous trait to have around kids.

Not to mention the very real risk of bringing in diseases that are currently not present in this country.
In fact, I remember seeing a thread on here a while ago about some sort of worm from a foreign dog.
The dog had been quarantined but the disease still came out, the vet had to see the dog in the car to try and avoid transmission.

MeadowHay Tue 03-May-16 12:46:00

I did think about the possibility of adopting from overseas because I do believe there are some rescues that do great things abroad (Amichii to name one, don't know if I spelt that correctly). However I've decided to rule it out mostly because of the issue of importing diseases/parasites etc that cannot be detected/are not symptomatic at the time of the vet checks done before their travel into the UK. I also saw that thread Scrote about the worm and that made my mind up on that score. That is a risk I am not willing to take and think that these rescues really need to think long and hard about the issue of importing canine illnesses.

Just to clarify, I have two guinea pigs, no children yet but are planning for some in the not-too-distant future! Also agree that street dogs would be a particularly big gamble with two small furries.

Thanks so much everyone for your contributions it's all given me lots to think about and have been discussing it all with DH.

gingerbreadmanm Tue 03-May-16 13:18:36

We got a puppy last year.

The initial outlay we had was
a crate £25
a bed £12
a collar and lead (later multiple harnesses and extendable leads) £100+ to find the right one --and replace chewed through leads)
Injections & microchip £40-something.
Flea treatment & i think worm treatment £7 every 6 weeks(ish) when a pup
Dog food, dry and a wet mixer £10 (probably last a few weeks)
Dog bowls and a mat £5
Playpen (for when he is left a long time, open plan house) £25
Insurance £26 per month for life cover
Treats, toys etc £10
Someone to check in on him every day (family fortunately) £15 per week.
Puppy pads £12.99 large pack
Carper cleaner £2.99 (tesco do there own which is easily as good as the one in pets at home and half the price)
Anti chew spray (did try homemade ones but gave up. the one we bought wasnt really any good either) £4.99
Stair gate £15
Shampoo (johnsons baby as recommended by our breeder) £1

We are in rented and were in there before we got our pup. Asked landlord via text and she was happy as long as not much damage. One thing we didnt forsee was our neighbours, who share a yard getting a husky. Lovely dog but ours is a sausage dog so now we have had the added expense of trying to barricade him into our decked area to save any injuries.

Ongoing costs are
Insurance £26 a month
Carer £60 a month
Worm and Flea treatment £10 every three months
Dog food £15 a month (aldi so some great dog food)
Poop bags £1 every so often.
Toys (he breaks them just looking at them) & treats £20 a month
Nail clippings £5 every few month probably

I wish we had bought a pop up crate and taken him to classes too but additional expenses we never stretched to.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 03-May-16 15:14:58

Expensive dog food does not equal better quality, there is at least one premium brand (£50 + for a 15kg sack) that lists 'dehydrated chicken protein' as it's number one ingredient. All About Dog Food is an excellent resource for researching food brands and feeding costs.

Adarajames Thu 05-May-16 22:24:40

I'm veggie but buy hunks of meat / fish and raw feed my girl, you get over the squeamishness, and chunks are far better as they get a good work out and teeth cleaning from it which don't get from pre packed minced ones. Also some people have had problems with stomach troubles with mince, the thought is that all those extra surfaces encourage new bacterial growth. Mine eats almost anything (including dead / foul / stinking if she finds it before I see it!) but thankfully has a very strong stomach!

Insurance will increase each year, sometimes quite large jumps, mine nearly doubled in 2 years and no claims in that time! Changes to new one but you can't d that if you've already got an ongoing health issue when you're stuck with whatever increase they set unless you've thousands and thousands o pay out yourself.

CMOTDibbler Mon 09-May-16 10:20:39

OP, don't know if you are in a position to go ahead and get a dog now, but I saw Buddy and thought of you as he's a lurcher and furry safe

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