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

During the festive season some people may be considering buying a dog as a gift. Before you do, West Lancashire Borough Council is urging residents to remember that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.

Buying a dog can be an exciting time and they become a great part of any family, but owners mustn’t forget that owning a dog brings with it 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. In addition to the cost of the pet itself, there is the ongoing expense of food, insurance, bedding/toys, a collar with tag, a lead, and training classes. A dog owner’s main responsibility is to provide a loving home for their pet. Dog owners should take time to research breeds carefully and 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, especially children 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 identifiable, wear 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.

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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