My family has two cats, who are, of course, well-loved by the kids. Periodically, the topic of getting a dog comes up. Neither my husband nor I want a dog, but the kids are always trying to convince us that we need a canine to round out our family. While we are not going to budge on this one, at least not anytime soon, you might be wondering if your family is a good candidate for a dog. Here are some questions to ask yourself before committing to adopting one of these tail-wagging, face-licking furry friends as a family pet:
Do you have time for a dog? Cats tend to be independent and, once they’re past the kitten stage, don’t usually get into too much trouble when left to their own devices. Our cats often don’t seem to care if we are home or not, and we have left them for weekends home alone (with a neighbor coming in once per day to feed them, of course). The same can’t be said for dogs: They really need human companionship, and they will get into mischief if they get bored. They also need to be walked frequently, and some breeds need to run. If you are constantly on the go, evaluate whether you can commit to giving a dog the time it deserves.
Can you afford a dog? Any pet brings along with it financial considerations. Aside from food, you’ll need to make sure that you can afford veterinary care for your new family member. You’ll want to buy leashes, a collar, a brush, toys, food and water bowls and other items for you pet, as well. Some breeds need to be groomed frequently. He’ll need rawhide or other chew toys to keep his teeth in good shape, and might need flea or heartworm prevention (talk to your vet about this). Estimate what your pooch will cost you and make sure it works with your family’s finances.
Can you commit to training your dog properly? A dog has the potential to bite, and an untrained dog might pick fights with other animals, chew up your new shoes or gouge holes in your leather furniture. You’ll need to teach your dog that you are “alpha,” or in charge, and you’ll have to show her how to behave like a respectable member of the family. If you don’t have the energy to commit to this, you might consider a different type of pet.
If you have decided that a dog is the perfect family pet for you, you still have some homework to do. You’ll need to decide what breed would best work for you, and you’ll have to choose between buying your dog from a breeder or adopting from a shelter or rescue society. Talking to your veterinarian or an employee from your local humane society can help you make the decision.
Do you have a dog for a family pet? What kind do you have? Tell us about your furry friend!