Planning on adding a dog to your family? Here’s what you need to think about first.
Updated: Apr 25
I absolutely love animals, growing up there was always a dog in the household and my best friend growing up was my grandparent’s little Jack Russel – Lassie and my protector German Shepherd – Sam. I just love dogs. I have made it no secret that I want to add more to the family.
However we need to wait until we get a bigger house! Currently I have Summer (6) who is a Border Collie x and Iris (1) our Border Collie. I think it is so important for a children to have animals in their lives and even better if it’s a dog.
Saying that, before you do get a dog there are things you need to think about and ask yourself, to ensure you and your potential new family member are happy and living the best life.
Questions to ask yourself
Where will you get your new member from? There are endless amounts of shelters out there with dogs, desperately waiting for there chance at happiness. Absolutely do your research if you choose not to use a shelter. If you have children, some shelters do lots of tests on the dogs to find out if they are suitable to live with children. all you have to do is ask. There are too many Puppy farms around.
What time will you have? A dog needs lots of attention. Ideally 2 – 3 walks a day. They need plenty of exercise to ensure they stay fit and healthy, not only physically but mentally too.
Training. You will need to train your new pet, regardless of its age. You are bringing them into new territory, you will need to show them where to go toilet. You also need to master basics like sit and stay. There are tons of companies that offer training, but in all honesty when we got Summer she was 5 months old with no training, not even toilet trained. I didn’t take her to classes, instead I trained her myself. I dedicated all of my spare time to her, she was toilet trained in 24 hours and is now classed as a therapy dog for Toby. I had previously read lots of books and watched youtube videos. I also had a close knit group of friends and family who we socialised with along with their dogs. This is all achievable if you find what is right for you. I also trained Iris myself from 11 weeks old.
Money. The main thing here is Vet bills, now I know most vet surgeries offer a bundle for a monthly fee. Currently we pay £17pm with our local vet and this includes Injections, flea, tick and worm treatment and a few health checks a year. On top of this you have cost for food, grooming and any other equipment you may need. Again this does not have to be expensive but please do make sure you are registered at a vets. You will also need to Insure your dog. You will also have to think about going on holiday, what will you do with your pet? Home boarding is my choice. They both stay at a boarding kennels but in the owner’s house.
Children. Like I previously said, children should have a pet in their lives. For me it was dogs. For my boys it is a mix of dogs, fish, rabbits and bugs. However on a serious note you need to make sure you can watch your children around your dog at all times no matter how much you trust your dog never leave them alone with a child, especially a young child.
Spay/Neuter. Touchy subject but bottom line is there are millions of dogs in the world that would love a chance to be a part of a family without bringing more into the world. Both of ours are spayed. Iris had hers after her first season, not our choice it just happened, right when we were about to go on holiday too. She had her spay in January 2019 with very little issues and she was back to her normal cauliflower self in a few days. The only issue we have had is she is a bit podgy.
Research breeds. Some are better suited to certain people. If you are getting a flat faced breed you need to think about their health as they sometimes suffer breathing issues. Big dogs like Great danes are lovely but are they right for small children? Don’t get a certain breed because it’s popular or “in” this is just the worst thing ever. Just as bad is the attitude towards certain breeds, because they are seen as dangerous or aggressive. Literally any dog can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Can you dog proof your house and garden? You will need to get rid of any toxic plants that you have lying around your home or garden, you will be surprised at what a dog will much when they are out in the garden! You will also need to make sure you don’t leave medicines or any other chemicals lying around and if you have chocolate in the house, you need to keep a close eye on that too.
Are you prepared to pick up the poop? When you take your dog for a walk you must make sure you clean up after it, no one wants to step in poop that an irresponsible pet owner has left lying on the floor. Even worse when they leave it in children’s play areas!
Your house will become a storage box for toys. I’m not joking! My two have so many toys, yet they only play with a few of the same ones. A tennis ball is a must for outside fun.
Are you prepared to have them around for 10- 16 years? Most breeds live for quite a long time, are you prepared to take care of your new dog for that long? I have seen some people sell their dogs online and it says “didn’t realise it would get so big” or “didn’t realise how long they live”. COME ON PEOPLE!
It’s all about common sense and being responsible, you will have so much fun with your new family member.
PLEASE NOTE: All UK members with dogs must legally Microchip them. You can find out more HERE