Dogs are often called "man’s best friend" but are they a mum’s best friend?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets nagged about getting a family dog every day, but how do you know whether to give in or not? Here’s a quick checklist to see if adding a canine to your pack is a good idea.
The Kids Are Alright
Your children may love the idea of getting a dog but how are they around other people’s? They might love books, shows and songs about puppies but getting a real one is a whole different ball game. The first thing to be sure of is that they are confident and happy around them.
A Little Respect
It’s really important that children know to be gentle with animals and how to stroke them and play with them. They must understand that they are living creatures that need to be respected and that they can’t be rough. It’s a good idea to get some practice in by hanging out with a friend or a family member's dog before you commit to purchasing your own.
Clean Up! Clean Up! Everybody, Everywhere!
It’s great for children to help with age-appropriate chores to teach them how to be responsible and if they want a dog, they need to be prepared to get their hands dirty. Depending on their age they could help with various duties including exercising and feeding them. It won’t be all fun and games!
Is It Just A Phase?
Do your kids change their minds constantly or are they consistent with their requests? My son has been asking about a dog for the last 12 months or so. Although I’ve suggested other animals, he’s still sticking with a little puppy. As they say, "a dog is for life" so if there’s any chance they’ll lose interest quickly, it might be best to hold off.
One Size Might Not Fit All
Every family is different, and every dog is different. So, if you’re thinking of going ahead, there is a lot of research to be done. While children will no doubt be drawn to whichever animal looks the cutest, there are lots of other factors to consider. From how much exercise they’ll need, to how much they’ll eat, you need to find your perfect match.
Are There Any Allergies?
If you’ve spent plenty of time with other people’s dogs, you should know by now if anyone in the family has allergies. Sniffing and sneezing every time you’re around your pet is a no-no but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rule out getting one altogether. There are hypoallergenic breeds such as a Bichon Frise, so this could be the perfect solution.
Money, Money, Money
Dogs are expensive. While your kids might want to contribute, their pocket money won’t cover all the bills by a long shot. In addition to the initial expense, there are also ongoing costs such as pet insurance, kennel fees and food. There is a large financial commitment in addition to everything else, so it’s important that the adults are on board just as much as the kids.
Free Time – What’s That?
Children love to spend as much quality time with us as possible and dogs are exactly the same. It’s a good idea to think about how much time you’ll all be at home with your puppy pal, taking into account weekdays, weekends and holidays. Does your lifestyle suit a dog, or will you find yourselves pulled in ten different directions?
We’re holding off for now as I feel like I’ve already got my hands full looking after two little monkeys. But I won’t stop my son from wishing, he’ll just have to hold on a bit longer for it to come true…