My 13-year-old daughter and I would like to get a short-haired, grey "teacup" Chihuahua. We have two eight-year-old cats and I am worried about how they would get on together. Also, it would be alone while my daughter is at school and I've heard they pee a lot. Is this true? Rosie Sauvage, via e-mail
This sort of e-mail always gets me worked up because what so often happens is that parents buy their children a puppy, the children lose interest and mum or dad has to look after the pet. If a puppy isn't trained properly from the start, and they don't conform to the owner's wishes, chances are the dog will end up at the animal shelter. I don't mean to be rude and I hope your family isn't like this, but a child having sole care of an animal is not a good idea. When will they really have time to dedicate the love and attention puppies need?
However, having a dog as a family pet is wonderful. Puppies need to go out regularly as part of their house-training. In the beginning it can be up to every hour! So you could not leave the puppy while your daughter is at school, firstly because it's too long for a puppy to be left without attention, and secondly, because there will be little puddles everywhere. Please stick with your cats, at least until your daughter is old enough to be able to commit to training a puppy. And tell her to start saving her pocket money, as a good Chihuahua from a reputable breeder can cost up to £2,000.
Send your queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort, an early visit to the vet is always recommended.