WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A dog can be a great addition to your household. But how do you choose the right one for your family?
Start by thinking about your living space, the American Kennel Club suggests. Do you live in a house or a small apartment? How big is your yard or your car? Is there a park or dog run nearby?
You'll want to pick a dog whose size and needs are a good match for your household.
Next, think about your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time indoors, you might want a dog that also enjoys being inside with people, like a Pug. If you're looking for an exercise companion or have a family that loves outdoor activities, a Retriever may be a good choice.
Decide who in the household will be caring for your new pet. Is that person up for long walks every day, or will your dog be getting most of its exercise in your backyard?
If you've got kids, make sure any dog you're considering loves having kids touch and play with him or her. Also talk about the role of caring for the new family member. Having a pet is a great way to instill a sense of responsibility in children.
Consider adopting a pet from a shelter. Contact your local SPCA to find one in your area or look at the database on the website of the national organization, the ASPCA, at https://www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/find-shelter. Volunteering at a shelter might even give you a good sense about whether a dog is a good fit for you.
The American Kennel Club has more guidelines on choosing the right dog as well as 10 great activities to do with your new pet.