Most parents need to face the decision of whether to allow their child to have a dog. Almost every child dreams of having a furry friend they can play with, teach tricks, take for walks, and spend their free time with. But, dogs are so much more than a source of entertainment. They're also a huge responsibility. Why? Because they're live, emotional creatures that need care, attention, and unlimited love from their owners. This raises the question of whether your child is ready to have a dog.
If you’re considering getting a dog for your child, but aren’t sure whether to do it, we’re here to help you make a smart decision. Here are 5 things you have to consider before getting your child a dog.
1. Is Your Child Responsible?
Responsibility sometimes comes with time, but some kids show a high degree of responsibility even from the earliest age. Think about how responsible your child is, and try not to be subjective.
You can see it in the way they handle other daily activities and obligations they have:
- getting up on time
- cleaning up their room
- taking care of their own security
- taking care of their possessions
Why is this important?
If you do get a dog, your child should learn to be responsible for feeding them, taking them for a walk, taking care of their health, and cleaning after them. This will help with your child’s mental development and independence.
If you’re happy with the way your child handles their obligations so far, you have one less thing to worry about in case you get a dog.
2. Do You Have the Right Conditions?
A dog deserves to have their little happy place in your home. You should never get a dog if you don’t have the right conditions for keeping them happy.
So, what will a dog need? Here are the essentials:
- a warm place to sleep in
- room for play
- freedom to explore and just be a dog
It would be ideal if you had a backyard that the dog could conquer. If you live in an apartment, your child would have an additional daily responsibility:
- take the dog out at least three times a day
- play with them actively so that they spend the built-up energy
Consider this factor before getting a dog. Does your child have the time to do this every day? Are you ready to step in if they don’t? Will the dog be happy?
3. Are You Ready to Live With a Dog?
Once you get your child a dog, it becomes your family's dog. That means the dog's most likely to get inside the house, spend time with all family members, but also leave a trace of their furry existence.
This means you'll be dealing with:
- dog hair around the house
- potential dog smell
- little accidents such as scratches or bite marks on your possessions
This is just a minor bump in the road. If you train your dog properly, they’ll learn to behave. You can also get dog cleaning products and minimize the smell.
But, it all asks for a certain level of attention and energy that you and your child will need to invest in your new family member.
4. Can You Cover the Costs?
While it would be amazing for you to get your child a dog and have them fall in love with animals from the earliest age, you have to consider the costs of owning a dog. Depending on the breed and specific needs of the dog, it can add up to your monthly budget.
And, your child is certainly not the one who’s going to cover those costs. So, consider additional costs such as:
- dog food
- dog healthcare
- dog equipment
Ask around how much can owning a dog cost you and try to work it out in your budget. If your budget can cover the additional expenses, you have a reason more to get your child a dog.
5. Are you Aware That Dogs are for Life?
Finally, there’s one last thing that you and your family need to consider before deciding to get a dog for your child.
Dogs are for life.
That means that once you sign up for this adventure with your child, there's no turning back. You will be responsible for this creature's life for as long as it lives, and hopefully, it will have a long life.
Therefore, it’s a serious decision that you need to make today, that will potentially impact the future 15 years of your life.
And, as much as they’re a huge responsibility, they’re also the most wonderful, loyal, and caring animals in the world. The benefits of owning a dog are almost immeasurable, especially for your kids.
So, consider that as well!
Yes, dogs are amazing. The amount of love and attention they give their owners is unlike anything you've ever seen. But, if you're thinking about getting your child a dog, there are additional factors you have to consider.
Have an honest conversation with your child, after you consider the 5 crucial things we’ve listed above. If they’re willing to step up and take responsibility, and you’re ready to help them out, nothing is stopping you from getting them the dog they want so much.