When my husband and I were in the market for a new home, we often took the kids with us to view open houses. At the time, we lived in a house with a great deck for entertaining, but no yard for little ones to run around – and certainly no space for a puppy to play or do his business.
So as we pulled up, the kids would make sure to point out that each open house had a lawn – perfect for our new pet.
Now that we’ve been in our new home for over a year, we think we might be ready for a furry addition to the family. A dog can be a wonderful addition to a home, but there are a few things you might want to consider first.
Pet ownership can be extremely rewarding. Dogs are awesome companions. Owning one also creates plenty of opportunities for the kids to practice responsibility and caring for others.
How does the breed and the specific animal you’re considering interact with children?
Certain breeds are known to interact better with children than others. It’s important to see how an animal behaves around your children before making it a part of your family. It’s important for not only for the safety and enjoyment of your children, but also the dog itself.
Do your research
Some breeds are more susceptible to certain health conditions. It’s important to educate yourself on the breed, so you can be aware of any potential issues. Knowing the breed’s typical personality is also key. For example, Golden Retrievers tend to be super friendly, social dogs that thrive on attention. This breed might not be a good fit for a busy family on the go.
Find a good veterinarian and groomer
Ask around – friends and family who are fellow pet owners will be your best resource. You can buy most any product you’ll need to care for your pet over-the-counter (i.e. flea and tick shampoos, etc.), but you’ll need a vet for your pup’s monthly heartworm treatments and annual vaccinations.
Read up on some good practices for both potty and behavior training
Even if you adopt an older dog, the newest member of your family may need a refresher course on potty training. When introduced into a new environment, a dog can’t be expected to naturally know what your expectations are. If you need help, there are plenty of local trainers available. Again, look to family and friends for a “word of mouth” referral.
Is your family ready for a pet?
The most important question to ask – is your family able to devote the time and energy necessary for being great pet parents?