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Choosing a new puppy or dog this New Year?

New Year is traditionally a time for looking ahead and often starting something new. You may find that now’s the perfect time for getting a dog. To help it all go smoothly, it’s best to have a good idea of what dog will suit you, your family and your lifestyle. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance and pet health advisors, vetfone®, suggest some practical points to consider when choosing a dog.

Dogs can add an exciting new dimension to life, whether you’re a family with children, empty-nesters or living alone. They get you out for regular walks and provide engaging company. The therapeutic effects of owning a dog are well known. They’re also an opportunity for children to take responsibility for daily care such as feeding and grooming, as well as enjoying the fun and satisfaction of playing games and teaching tricks. And there’s all the excitement of choosing the perfect name for your new canine friend.

Before you start your search, consider who lives in your home and who visits regularly. Do you have small children with friends who come to play? Little ones find puppies irresistible, so some curious poking, prodding and pulling is likely. Several mid-sized breeds are known for their calm and tolerant temperaments so a Beagle, Cocker Spaniel or Whippet may be a good choice. Of course, babies and young children should never be left unsupervised with any dog, however well you know it.

Smaller and larger breeds can be suitable for families with children aged 6 to 16. Popular larger breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs and Mastiffs – but ensure that a full-grown larger breed will f it into your home comfortably, with plenty of room for a swishing tail.

For the elderly, a low maintenance, affectionate breed can make a great companion in the home and for leisurely walks. Why not see if there are any ‘rescue’ dogs of the right size, age and temperament? Some well-trained and socialised dogs can end up needing a new home because their owner has died or gone into care.

So you’ve done your research and you’re ready to give a loving home to the dog that’s right for you. Now is also the time to ensure that help will be at hand if your dog has a mishap or isn’t feeling its happy self. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance offers three levels of cover, so visit to find out about which product is right for you and your dog. And as a standard benefit with every Tesco Bank Pet Insurance policy, you get 24/7 telephone access to vetfone® and their team of nurses qualified with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

vetfone® is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.


A good way to encourage and teach children to interact with a family pet is involvement in grooming and daily playtime. It is important to choose a dog that suits the whole household. For example, if you have children and they are at school all day while the adults are out at work, then perhaps it’s not a good idea to have a puppy.


It’s important to be honest with yourself about the amount of time you are able to dedicate to exercising your new dog. Working breeds, such as Border Collies and Springer Spaniels, will require more exercise every day, come rain or shine than, for example, a Yorkshire Terrier.


The average dog may live 10-12 years; the very large breeds have a shorter lifespan than the smaller ones. Puppies need lots of care and attention and may develop destructive behaviour and become distressed due to boredom and loneliness. It is worth considering that the rescue centres are full of dogs over a year old, looking for homes.

For more information about caring for your dog, please consult your veterinary surgeon.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.
Terms and conditions: Pets must be at least eight weeks old when cover starts. Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered and certain breeds of cats and dogs are also not covered. Full policy details are online at
Tesco Bank is a trading name of Tesco Personal Finance plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC173199. Registered Office: Interpoint Building, 22 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

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