Owning a dog brings many wonderful physical, emotional and psychological benefits, especially where children are concerned. Some children are known to find it easier to interact with dogs and other animals than they do with other kids and adults.
This can give them the confidence they sometimes lack, and this can have a positive impact on their lives later in life. However, it is not a decision to be made lightly because owning a dog has certain ramifications which need to be carefully considered.
Here are 10 factors to consider when determining whether your family is ready to welcome a furry new family member:
- Owning a pet means that it will have an almost childlike dependence on its owner. Who will be responsible for feeding, walking, bathing and cleaning up after the dog?
- Do you have enough space for a pet? If you live in an apartment building and will be out all day, you may be better off with a cat, bird, rabbit or fish rather than a dog.
- How much time do you have? A dog will not be suitable if you work full-time because they cannot be left alone for hours.
- Can you afford a pet? For example, owning a dog can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 in feeding, grooming and vet bills, depending on its size.
- How do your kids interact with dogs? Ask a friend or pet store owner that will allow your child to play with their dog so that you can see how they interact with the animal. The way you child interacts with the do will play a key role in determining whether your child is ready for the responsibility of owning a dog.
- Is every member of your family committed to the idea and comfortable around animals? If anyone in your family is allergic to or doesn’t like animals, you need to respect that.
- Which breed would be the best fit for the entire family? If you are considering adopting a dog, it is really important to get a breed that would be the best fit for the entire family.
- Have you given pet ownership a trial run? Consider offering to take on a weekend of dog sitting so that your family can experience what it’s like to have an animal in your everyday environment.
- Is your family truly committed to the idea? Pet ownership can feel like a chore. Your children must understand that adopting a pet is a huge responsibility and long-term commitment, and the dog will be part of the family for 10—20 years. It cannot be a passing fad.
- Can your child be trusted to respect animals? Your child must be able to stick to the guidelines for appropriate behaviour around animals such as when they are eating.
Owning a pet is a massive commitment, and the decision to own one cannot be taken lightly, so think carefully before adopting a furry new family member.