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Please remember a dog is for life, not just for Christmas

With the festive season coming up some people may be considering buying a dog as a gift. But prospective pet owners are being reminded that a dog is for life not just for Christmas.

West Lancashire Borough Council has important advice for anyone considering buying a dog. A pet pooch can become a great part of any family, but owners have a lot of responsibility.

Councillor Kevin Wright, portfolio holder for Health and Community Safety, said: “People should remember a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, and by law they must be responsible dog owners. If people follow our advice their pet will be a friend for life, and not just a novelty gift.”

Dog ownership can be expensive and a new pet could live for 15 years or more. Costs include food, insurance, toys, a collar with tag, a lead, and training classes as well as the cost of the pet.

A dog owner’s main responsibility is to provide a loving home for their pet. Dog owners should consider the amount of time they will need to leave a dog on its own as some breeds and age groups would cope better with this than others. Dogs need to be safe, well-behaved with people and other animals. Owners should look into training their pooch.

All dogs should have a balanced diet and access to water at all times. Veterinary care is essential, including vaccinations and flea treatments. Owners should Groom, and check pets’ teeth, ears and nails on a regular basis.

Dogs also need time and attention. Some breeds will need more mental stimulation and exercise than others, or they may become destructive.

By law, owners must keep their dog under control at all times and prevent it from being a nuisance to others. A dog must be clearly identified, wearing a collar and tag with the name and address of its owner, and since 6 April 2016 it has been law to have your dog microchipped.

People thinking about buying a dog should consider which dog – if any – suits their family and lifestyle. They should ask friends about their dogs, and find out more about breeds they like.

Neutering a dog can have health, financial and behavioural benefits. Unneutered dogs can display unwanted sexual behaviour and aggression. Neutering could encourage calmer, more predictable behaviour which makes them a more suitable family pet.

Those considering buying a pedigree dog should only go to a reputable, licensed breeder and avoid puppy farms and backyard breeders. Visit www.rspca.org.uk for more information.

For more information about the Council’s responsibilities with regard to dogs please visit www.westlancs.gov.uk/dogs.

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