This was my lovely dog, Holly, a gorgeous yellow lab that shared our family for 14 years. She went blind at the age of 7, and still lived a full life with lots of exercise. She loved swimming, and lived for her lead coming out of the cupboard. With the long lazy shut down for so many people, attention has turned to animals, but we need to be realistic.
Most kids have dreamed of opening that gift on their birthday or Christmas morning and finding a cute puppy snuggled inside. But what many don’t consider is the years that will follow. Unfortunately, people tend to search for puppies to get for their kids around the holiday season or when a birthday is coming up, but once they face the reality of dog ownership, the dog ends up in a shelter or re-homed. If your little one has been asking you for a puppy for a while and you want to surprise her with a pet of her own, it’s important that you are clear on what dog ownership for your family will involve. Make sure that your household is the right fit for a dog. Here are some of the main things to consider before you get a dog for your kids.
Dogs are for Life:
Thirteen years is the average lifespan for a dog, so before you get a dog for your children, it’s important to make sure that you are ready for this long, dedicated commitment. This means that you’ll need to be ready to continue loving and caring for your pet even after the cute and cuddly puppy stage is over, as they get into their energetic and boisterous teen years and then finally, the golden years of their life. When you research dog breeds, don’t just think about what each breed is like as a puppy but consider every stage of their life too.
Finding the Right Breed of Dog:
Before you go out and choose an adorable puppy to bring home, it’s important to do some breed research and make sure that you are choosing a breed of dog that’s suitable for your family, home, and lifestyle. You don’t have to go and spend a huge ton of money on a pedigree puppy from a breeder; in fact, many crossbreed dogs can make perfect family pets as they have a lot of qualities combined from different breeds that they are mixed with. Consider the size of the dog breed; they might be small and cuddly as a puppy but they might not be ideal for you if they’re going to grow up massive and you live in a small house. And, think about how much energy the breed has and how much time you can dedicate to exercising them every day.
Do You Have the Time?
Before you decide to bring a puppy home, be ready to sacrifice your time. Having a puppy in your home can be similar to having a small child. You will need to take the responsibility of looking after a living creature and putting their needs first. You will also need to be ready for the fact that you might need to sacrifice more time and energy into looking after your pet than you first thought or are used to, so be ready to make arrangements for them if you’re taking a family holiday, or if you and your kids are out all days at work or school and the dog will be left alone.
Caring for a Dog:
Many parents get a dog for their children in order to teach them about responsibility, and there’s no denying that having a family dog growing up can teach kids a huge amount of things along with boosting their self-esteem and simply providing them with a friend that they’ll always be able to rely on. However, it’s important to bear in mind that as a parent, you need to be prepared to care for the dog rather than leaving it solely down to your kids. Of course, you can show your children how to feed and walk the dog and make sure that they do it daily, but ultimately it’s down to you as the adult to make sure that this gets done and that when your kids do it, they’re doing it correctly.
Are you ready for the lifetime costs of looking after a pet dog? Dogs can be expensive, so make sure that you are going to have the funds available to care for them right through from puppyhood to when they are old. The expenses don’t end after you buy a puppy or pay an adoption fee to a shelter. You will need to factor in the cost of regular vet fees, plenty of food and water, a bed, collar, lead, toys, flea and worm treatments and anything else that your dog needs to make sure that they are happy and safe. On average, dog owners pay around £17,000 to care for their dog over their lifetime but this could vary depending on your dog’s breed, size, and health.
Making sure that your dog has a healthy and balanced diet is just as important as eating the right foods yourself, and the food that you give your dog can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing. It’s important to research your options to ensure that once your puppy is home, they are getting all the nutrients that they need to be a healthy and happy pooch.
Raw feeding is an increasingly more popular option amongst dog owners since it is similar to what dogs in the past would have eaten and doesn’t contain all the fillers and junk in kibble and processed dog food. A good raw diet will include protein, vegetables, fruit, vitamins, and minerals to make sure that your dog is getting everything that they need for optimal health and energy.
If you want to give your puppy the best start with a raw food diet, Bella and Duke have plenty of useful information that you might find helpful. Check out bellaandduke.com for pre-packaged raw food trays that are tailored to your puppy’s dietary needs based on their breed, size, age, and condition.
Healthcare and Insurance:
Finally, there’s nothing more important than your dog’s health and happiness. So, be sure to factor in the cost of insurance and veterinary fees when getting a dog for your family. Dog insurance costs can vary depending on factors such as breed, current health condition, and any pre-existing conditions or risk factors. However, it’s important to have because if your dog falls suddenly ill or injures themselves, a good pet insurance policy will help you cover the vet costs involved in getting them back to full health. In addition, make sure that you know a good vet nearby and register your puppy with them as soon as you bring him home.
If you’re getting a puppy, you’ll need to make an appointment for a health check and to get their initial vaccinations; don’t let your puppy go out for a walk until this is done as the risk of contracting diseases like canine parvovirus is quite high. Vaccinations will usually have already been given if you adopt a dog from a shelter, but it’s still a good idea to take them to your vet to register them, get a health check, and help them get used to the environment.
Getting a puppy for your kids is a great idea, but before you bring your cuddly new friend home, be sure that you are ready for the commitment and work that being responsible for a dog will bring.