Should Your Family Get a Dog Just Because Your Child Wants One?

Most children at some point will turn round to their parents and ask for a pet, and they’re animal of choice is usually a dog. But is bringing a smile to your child’s face on Christmas morning enough of an incentive to make such a big commitment? We’ve looked at all of the pros and cons when considering buying your child a dog.

+ It will help teach your kids about responsibilities

A big factor that can put a parent off from buying a family dog is the huge responsibility they bring, as it’s almost like having another child. However, if you encourage your child to take a bit portion of this responsibility, depending on their age, it will help to teach them valuable skills regarding looking after something important, and will help them gain maturity and common sense. You may be thinking this sounds pretty impossible if your child is very young, but even by setting them a simple task, such as filling the dog’s food bowl with Iams dog food each day, as recommended by Vet Medic and many other sites can be highly beneficial. They’ll also experience a great feeling of pride at being given such an important job.

– If they get bored, you’re left with the hard work

However, if it doesn’t quite work out as well as you’d anticipated, you’re more than likely going to be left looking after the dog if the kids get bored. The best way to avoid this is to try and prepare your children for having a dog in their life as best as possible. Try and ‘borrow’ a dog from a friend, neighbour or family member for a few days to show them all the things that looking after a pet involves, and that it’s not all just cuddles and nice walks.

+ They will form a close bond and friendship

Dogs are notorious for being loyal companions, and generally really great pets. It will no doubt take your child just minutes to fall in love with their new best friend as soon as they set eyes on them. Dogs are also popular due to their nature of enjoying being both active and restful, and this can be looked into further when choosing your breed of dog, if you’d like more of an active, playful dog or not.

– The idea of vet’s bills can be off-putting

Insurance, vet bills, food, bedding and toys can all add up pretty quickly, so you and your family will need to ensure whether you are financially stable enough to deal with a dog, and any problems it should have, should they arise. This can be one of the more difficult aspects of explaining to children about the responsibilities of a dog, as they will have no financial worries! Try to explain the situation to them as honestly and simply as possible, and reassure them that even though buying a dog may not be possible in the present, it could be in the future.

+ It will help your child get more exercise

With childhood obesity rapidly on the rise, it’s vital we ensure our children our getting the right amount of exercise each week. A dog can provide the perfect source for this, as they need frequent walks and will usually have lots of energy for playing! If your child is not very keen on the idea of exercising, why not set them the task of helping to train the dog, which will take a lot of effort and energy, but they may not even realise they are exercising.

– Dogs can cause disruption to your home

If you are house proud and hate mess, welcoming a dog into your home may not be the best idea, especially a young puppy. If you’re a little more relaxed, do try to prepare yourself of some problems you may encounter in your home with the presence of a dog. There are measures you can take to make dog-related disruptions as minimal as possible, however, so they key is lots of research. Also, ask advice from people you know with dogs, and how they deal with the mess.


Laura is a 21 year old English graduate

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