Bringing a dog into the home is a huge responsibility. While it’s a fun idea to have a household pet to teach children about caring for a pet and all the unconditional love that comes with having a dog in the home, you need to remember that kids are not the primary caretakers for pets. If you accept that reality, then a dog might be right for your household. Here are some things to consider before buying a dog for your child.
Consider a Dog’s Age
If you are thinking about buying a dog for your child, you should carefully consider the age of the dog you will get. Often, families have warm thoughts of getting a puppy and watching a child and dog grow up together. This isn’t really the way it works out though. If you have children under the age of six, it’s usually suggested that you get a dog who is at least out of their puppy phase. A dog that is around two years of age is best if you have young children.
Consider why you might adopt an adult dog if you have older children:
- Time – If you have one or more young children in the house, it’s probably a somewhat chaotic place. Between diapering, naps, accidental head bumps and the like, you have your hands full. Remember that if you adopt a puppy, you have to help them just as you would a child. A puppy will need food and water, but they’ll also need playtime. They need to be socialized and potty trained. You’ll also have to supervise any time your child interacts with a puppy.
- Safety – Puppies are likely to jump around and get into trouble. They’ll sneak into places you don’t want them. They are great at making trouble, but they are also fragile. A puppy is still developing both physically and mentally. If your child has not learned yet how to properly handle a puppy, or is too young to understand the responsibility, there’s a chance the dog can be injured.
- Puppy Play – A puppy would like nothing better than to play and sleep all day. Most puppies use play as a way of understanding the world and their place in it. And their main way of exploring is with their nose and mouth. While you may worry about your small child hurting your puppy, you should also worry about your puppy hurting your child. Puppies love to jump and can easily knock over a child. Puppies also have tiny, sharp teeth and they can hurt or cut someone without meaning to do so.
Adult dogs are the best option if you have young children. Adults have learned how to properly socialize. They’ve learned the right way to play with other people. They’ve probably already gotten into a routine and have been potty trained as well. Overall, adopting an adult dog is going to make getting a new dog an easier experience. Even if they’ve been trained to do something you don’t like, an adult dog can still be trained to your liking.