A dog is a commitment for the next 10-15 years.

Did you know:

The likely lifetime cost of owning a dog ranges from £16000 – £31000, depending on the size of the dog. This excludes veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so this average cost could be even higher. Can you afford the lifetime costs of owning a dog?

Dogs, like all animals, need five things to be healthy and happy; these are called the five welfare needs. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland, all owners need to provide these five things for the pets they keep:

1. Environment – a suitable living environment

2. Diet – a suitable diet

3. Behaviour – to be able to behave normally

4. Companionship – to have appropriate companionship

5. Health – to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

More information about the five welfare needs can be found in the government’s dog codes – see the links at the bottom of this page.

If you decide to buy a dog or puppy, PAAG recommends the following:

  • Download the AWF/RSPCA Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack ( These are free to download and will help you avoid the problems that can arise from buying a puppy from an irresponsible breeder
  • Please consider contacting your local animal rescue/rehoming centre. There are thousands of healthy, loving dogs and puppies all over the UK who are waiting for a home.
  • Research before you buy. Different breeds have different requirements and temperaments. Be sure that the dog you are interested in is suitable for your lifestyle and environment.
  • When buying a puppy, you should see the puppy interacting with its mother and check that the facilities are clean and the litter appears alert and healthy. You should be able to handle the puppies freely under supervision. Make sure your puppy is old enough to leave its mother – at least 8 weeks old.
  • If your chosen dog does not originate from the place of purchase, ask where it came from and try to obtain its previous history.
  • Always ask for a copy of its medical records, including vaccination certificate and records of worming and flea treatment. For pedigree puppies, ensure that Kennel Club registration papers and the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates, where appropriate, are in order.
  • Consider purchasing from a Kennel Club Assured Breeder. The Kennel Club can also direct you to breed rescue organisations. The Kennel Club Find a Puppy service provides contact details for breeders who currently have Kennel Club Registered pedigree puppies available for sale.  By visiting the Find a Puppy Service you can check that the puppy is in fact Kennel Club/Kennel Club Assured Breeder registered. KCAB puppies will appear at the top of the search and will have a logo displayed next to their name.  However, if you do see an advertisement from an “Accredited” breeder in a newspaper or on a website, it is strongly advised that you check with the Kennel Club that the breeder is a Kennel Club Assured Breeder before purchasing a puppy.
  • If you are unable to find the breed of dog you are looking for, please contact the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme who will be able to direct you to a responsible breeder.
  • If you have any concerns relating to an advert about a KC registered puppy or a KCAB registered puppy you should contact 0870 606 6750.
  • If you require advice, your local veterinary practice will be able to advise you. Advice is also available from:

Your Right Pet – a pet selector tool that helps you find a pet that’s right for you:

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home:

Blue Cross:

Dogs Trust:



The Kennel Club:

The Mayhew Animal Home:

Wood Green Animal Shelters:

Government Codes of Practice on how to meet the five welfare needs for dogs: