If you have children of the 2-legged variety, the time will inevitably come when they start asking for a dog. Kids love dogs, and it’s not surprising that they want one of their own. In fact, some kids can be pretty darned passionate about it. Just take a look at this video to see what I mean:
Today I’m sharing 5 questions to ask yourself – and be honest! – before you adopt a dog for your children.
So The Kids Want a Dog: 5 Questions To Ask Yourself First
- Will A Dog Work With Your Lifestyle?
Not every family’s lifestyle is ideal for pets. Does your family travel often? Are you gone several nights a week to kids’ school and sporting events? If your family maintains a busy, hectic schedule, now is not the time to bring a dog into your home. It’s not fair to the dog, or to the family, to leave her at home alone all day. Dogs are highly social animals that love to be with their people, and they require training and attention that your family won’t be able to provide if you’re always on the go.
Think about it honestly: is there room for a dog in your family’s schedule?
- What Breed Would Suit Your Family?
If you’ve decided that you do indeed have time to bring a dog into your family, then your next step is to start thinking about what you’re looking for in a dog. Do your research to learn about breeds that will be a good fit for your family. The most popular breeds may not be the best suited for your situation. Understand that some breeds require more grooming and care than others. Some breeds are prone to certain illnesses. By really getting to know the breed, its personality, and disposition, you’ll be able to find the kind of dog that will be the best fit for your household.
Even though doing breed research is important keep in mind that shelters are full of mixed breed dogs, including some mysterious breeds like the one VT recently uncovered. These “mutts” can make terrific family companions and should not be overlooked simply because they are not pure breeds. Spend time with them and get to know their personalities to learn more about them.
- Who Will Care For The Dog?
Caring for a dog is a great way to teach a child about responsibility. But it’s important to consider your child’s age to determine the level of responsibility that they can handle. The dog will need to be walked, fed, and bathed, just to name a few of the tasks that will be required. Will these be your child’s chores, or yours? It’s of the utmost importance to have an in-depth discussion with the entire family to make sure that everyone is on the same page before bringing your new pet home.
- Can You Afford a Dog?
Taking proper care of a dog can be expensive. Even if you get a “free to good home” pet, you still need to be prepared for the cost of pet ownership. There’s quality food, vet bills, insurance, and ongoing care. Make sure you seriously consider this, because if you’re on a tight budget already, it’s unfair to even think about getting a dog you’ll struggle to care for properly.
- Is This Something That Will Work For You In The Long Term?
As I mentioned before, dogs live for many years and they become very attached and dependent on their families. Before adopting a dog, make sure you’re in it for the long haul. Understand that you’re committing to 12-15 years and that your dog is counting on your to keep your promise.
Even though your kids may be begging for a dog, only you can decide if it’s the right time for your family because ultimately, as the adult, you are the one who will be responsible for this innocent animal’s life. Although the kids want a dog, make sure you do too before making any decisions about adding a 4-legged creature to your family.
What tips do you have for parents whose kids want a dog? I’d love for you to share them with me in a comment below.