8 Things to Consider Before You Get a Dog for Your Kids
One of the most enjoyable experiences in owning your own home is having a pet to share it with. Often adults put this off because they are simply too busy to take care of one. However, once families begin to form, children tend to have a say in the matter. Understandably, saying yes to a pet requires more than an, “I want one” from your children. The following list entails some of the most important things to keep in mind before getting a dog for your children.
1. Make Sure They Are Ready
Parents understand how big of a responsibility bringing in a dog can be. After all, this is the reason you don’t have one from the beginning. Although you know it, your kids might not. Go through the list of everything they will have to do on a daily basis. Make them go through it, not just read it. This will allow them to see the work that it takes to really take care of a dog. Allowing them to understand the work will provide you with the question, “Are they ready”?
2. Make Sure It Matches Your Family
How does a dog match your family? A dog is a dog, right? One of the most common mistakes made by families seeking to adopt is that they get the wrong dog for the wrong house. Not to say that all dogs are bad, just that some fit better within certain homes. For example, dogs such as dalmatians and greyhounds need a home where their owners live an active lifestyle and can take them on long walks or runs. If this is not you, then you might need to look at other breeds. Need a dog for protection? Surprisingly, rottweilers are good with kids and tend to be very protective of them. Have a smaller space? Look into a lower energy dog based on your needs.
3. Is This a Phase?
Children are a bundle of creativity, curiosity, and energy. Much of that is often focused on one thing at a time and then quickly forgotten. Parents can attest to this as every Christmas they purchase a toy they just “needed” to have, only to see it under their bed covered in dust a few days later. Therefore, it is incredibly important that your children understand that this isn’t something they can simply treat like any other toy. Demonstrate that having a dog is a serious business and one that cannot be ignored because you simply got bored.
4. Is Your Home Ready?
If you ever visit the home of a person who has a dog, you might notice a few things. A major one is the over-protection of their trash can, such as a locking lid or having it tucked away under the sink. Dogs and many other animals can be harmed by human food. Simple foods such as gum can really cause harm or even death to a dog. Other things you might notice are their furniture. Sofas and smaller seats may have covers on them to protect the fabric from scratches and other dog residue. It is incredibly important to get your home to be as dog-friendly as possible before even considering bringing them in.
5. Fully Grown or Puppies?
One of the things you might not think about when seeking to adopt a dog is the choice between a fully grown dog or a puppy. Adult dogs tend to be independent and can get right into protecting the home. However, you might realize that taking care of them because of old age may become very expensive and emotionally draining on the whole family. Puppies, on the other hand, although usually happy and healthy will also need a lot of attention. This means showing them how to ask to go out of the house in order for them to do their business, training them to stop chewing or scratching on furniture, and many more aspects of simply being a curious new pup in the world. Be prepared to replace the neighbor kid’s shoes from when your pup gets a hold of them and shreds them in your backyard.
6. Can the Family Wallet Handle It?
As you can already tell from the information above, adopting a pet is not only a huge responsibility, but it can also be very expensive. Bringing in a new dog means providing them food, water, and a place to sleep every single month, not to mention the enormous cost of their vet visits. The last thing you want is to have a dog go without food or their yearly shots. Therefore, as much love and attention, you can give a dog; if the family budget is not up for the price tag, then maybe it should be postponed for now.
7. Is Your Family in It for the Long Haul?
The average dog lives up to 12 to 15 years, depending on their breed. Needless to say, adopting a dog is a huge responsibility that you must bear for many years. This should also prompt questions about who’s going to take care of them if you’re kids are going to college in a few years or if your family is prone to constantly moving to areas in which dogs might not be welcomed. Dogs have emotions just like everyone and abandoning them because you didn’t think about the near future can be heartbreaking for them and you.
8. How Will a Dog Interact With Other Pets?
The fact is, most people have more than one pet in their homes. Some might have a cat, a fish, or even a few hamsters. The question when your kids want a dog may not be any of the ones above, but how a dog will interact and eventually get along with your other pets. Small animals might not be a complete shock to a dog, but it is recommended that they are stored high above. Cats, ferrets, and even rabbits could face some competition. Therefore, it is very important to introduce them in a controlled manner in order to ensure future cooperation.
In the end, only you can decide if bringing in a dog is the right idea, not your children. Dogs can bring a tremendous amount of energy and happiness to a home if the right precautions are taken before. Therefore, it is highly recommended that families take the time to understand if they and their children are truly ready for a dog.
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