Getting a family dog is always a big decision and one that you shouldn’t take lightly. You have to consider whether you’ve got the time and money to properly care for them and whether the house is the right space for a dog to live in. If you don’t think about all of that stuff before getting a dog, you might find that you have to give them up a few months down the line which is always a stressful situation for the animal.

All of those considerations are amplified when you’ve got young children in the house. When you introduce a dog into the mix, it can cause all sorts of problems and even put the children in danger if you don’t think it through properly. However, you shouldn’t let that put you off getting a dog because it has so many benefits for young children. It’s a great way to encourage the family to exercise more and spend time together. It also makes them healthier because dogs bring small amounts of bacteria in from the outside which boosts their immune system without making them sick. In later life, it can also help them to prepare for the loss of loved ones when dealing with the passing of their family pet. Children that have a dog in the family tend to be more social which is another big plus when they grow up.

Getting a dog is always a good idea when you’ve got kids but there are a lot of things you need to think about and preparations you need to make. Before you get a family dog, these are the things you need to consider.

Introduce Them To Dogs

Little girl kissing her pet dog

Photo Credit: Donnie Ray Jones

Not everybody likes dogs so even if you do, that doesn’t mean your kids will. It’s a big risk to just get a dog and bring them home without testing the waters first. If you’ve got friends or family that have a dog, consider asking them whether you can borrow them for the weekend. If you don’t know anybody with a dog, there are websites that can put you in touch with people. Introduce the kids to them and see how they get along. Don’t worry too much if they’re a bit scared at first, that’s only natural. But if they don’t take to them at all and they tell you that they really don’t like dogs, you shouldn’t get one. It’s disappointing but if the kids don’t like dogs, they won’t feel comfortable at home with one around. Dogs can sense when somebody is nervous and it will make them feel uncomfortable so bringing a dog into your home when your kids don’t like them puts a strain on them and on the animal.

Choosing The Right Breed

Gernan Shepherd Dog Breed

If they do respond well to having a dog around and you decide together that you’re going to get one, the next step is to decide which breed you’re going to get. You should include the kids in this decision because it’s as much their pet as it is yours. When deciding on a breed, some are more suited to children than others. If you get a dog that is particularly energetic and prone to aggression, that’s not ideal if you’ve got young children in the house. There are plenty of dog breeds that are ideal for kids so it’s best to go for one of those. People wouldn’t think of German Shepherds when they’re trying to choose a kid-friendly dog because they’re often perceived as aggressive, possibly because they’re used as police dogs. The truth is, they’re actually very gentle animals and they’re good for children. For more info about the german shepherd temperament, click the link. The only problem with German Shepherds is that they’re quite large so if you don’t have a huge amount of space, they might not be the best choice. If you want a smaller, child friendly dog breed, Bulldogs, Beagles, and Bull Terriers are all great choices. Before you make any decisions, you should speak with a breeder and get their advice on which breeds are best for you.

Budgeting

Owning a dog costs a lot of money and you need to make sure that you’re financially stable enough to pay for it. The money stresses are a lot more difficult when you’re already budgeting for a family. People often make the mistake of not accounting for unexpected situations that arise when you have a dog. You’ve probably factored in all of the normal costs like paying for food and toys and the initial vet bills for spaying etc. but have you thought about any of the other complications. A new dog might be prone to chewing things up which you’ll have to pay to replace but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Even if you’ve got pet insurance, which is another cost that people forget to factor in, it might not cover more serious health issues. If your dog has a serious health condition you might end up having to pay thousands for treatment. Even if they don’t need an operation or anything, there is the cost of medication or specialist foods to consider. If you haven’t factored any of this into your budget, you could end up putting your family in some serious financial trouble.

Making The House Safe

Before you bring your new dog home, you need to make sure that the house is safe for the dog and your children. As a general rule, you should make sure that the dog can’t get into the kids rooms because it will disturb their sleep at nighttime. Put in some stair gates so the dog is confined to the downstairs area. It’s also important to make sure that any electrical cords are out of reach, otherwise, the dog can chew through them and injure themselves. Kids tend to leave a lot of mess around the house and that means a lot of things that could be a choking hazard for your dog. Before you agree to get a dog, you should tell the kids that they need to be a lot more careful about picking up after themselves.

Getting a dog is great for the whole family but it’s a lot more difficult to deal with when you’ve got kids so make sure you think long and hard about it first.