Tips for families considering getting a dog

We always had dogs when I was growing up. My parents still have a dog and my children love spending time with him. And although we do have him when they go away, much to their disgust, I have resisted their pleas to get a dog of our own. Our current agreement is that if they are still living at home by the time they are 30, they can get a dog. You may laugh but this might not be beyond the realms of possibility!

Joking aside there are many benefits to having a family dog.

The family will be more active, dogs need walking no matter what the weather.

Your children will learn responsibility, they may need reminding sometimes, but if they promised before the dog arrived they would help, hold them to it!

It can increase confidence in children as they now have something to care for that relies on them for their basic needs.

It can help a child with a fear of dogs to overcome that fear.

The cuddles are great and their unconditional love is amazing.

Life is never dull and you will make new friends and meet new dogs and their owners.

You will laugh and smile at their antics.

You will have a least one member of the family who listens and won’t answer back!

Things to consider before taking the plunge

Do your research to help decide what breed of dog will best suit your family. Get advice from friends and family who have dogs before you decide what breed to go for. And make sure you’re all on board with the decision.

Consider how it will change your current lifestyle. Dogs need attention, walking, cleaning up after. And shouldn’t be left for prolonged periods of time.

Size matters, consider the size of your home and garden and how much exercise the dog will need. Do your research about how large the breed you are interested in will grow to.

Take into consideration family allergies. Some dog breeds don’t shed.

Consider whether to get a puppy or an older dog who may already be trained. Having a puppy is cute but can be like having a baby again. They may be up in the night, need supervision, get bored easily and will chew whatever they find lying around!

Consider the commitment and expense. From food to equipment and vet visits to dog training. Many dogs will live 15 years or more.

How will holidays work? Can you bring them with you or will you need to kennel your dog or do you have someone who will look after your pooch?

Be careful where you get your dog. Ask for recommendations and to see relevant paperwork. Go to the breeder’s premises to see the dog before going ahead. Do consider rehousing a rescue dog. Charities who take in rescue dogs will have strict guidelines around adoption and can help you with the final decision on breeds that will best suit your family. And you will be giving a good home to a dog who truly needs it.

Check out www.mykidstime.com for best dog breeds for families and other tips and advice on four legged friends.

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