At one time or another, every mom is going to get asked by their little one whether they can have a puppy. In fact, if you are truly ‘lucky’ you might hear this questions daily or even many times a day, making it particularly hard to resist! However, before you make the commitment of adding a canine family member, you need to carefully consider the following points.
Is your child old enough?
The requirements for getting a puppy or dog are not the same for every family, but one thing you really need to consider is the age and development of your child. This is so important because it can help you to make the right decision as to whether to get a full grown dog, a puppy or to wait until a more convenient time.
After all, if your little one has just started crawling it’s unlikely that you will want a brand new puppy that needs toilet training, as they are likely to mess on the floor. Something you definitely don’t want your child coming into contact with, as it can be incredibly dangerous to their health. In that case, it would be far better to choose an older trained dog or wait until your child has progressed through that stage before invited a dog into the family.
It’s is also important to consider how much time and effort the dog will need when it comes into the home. Even dogs of 2-3 years can have an incredible amount of energy and can be very destructive if not exercised regularly as much as possible. Combine this with sleepless nights caused by young children, and you have a lot of stress on your plate that it may be better to put off until things are a little more stable.
Is your child responsible enough?
Next, if you think it’s the right time to get a dog it’s also important to check they are responsible enough to have one in the home. This will be different for different kids and families as all children mature at a different rate. So some kids may be perfectly fine with having a dog around because they can follow their parent’s instructions about how to treat them. While others may need a little longer, to ensure their own safety, and that of the dog’s!
Can you afford it?
Don’t forget the cost side of things either, as any mom will tell you having a young child isn’t cheap with all the diapers, wipes and clothes to pay for. That means adding the additional financial strain of paying for a dog and its upkeep can be problematic.
Remember, it’s not just the cost of adopting a dog that you need to worry about but also vets fees, food, and boarding kennels for any time that you go away on vacation. That is why it’s so important to create a realistic budget including these costs to assess whether you can really afford to take care of a dog at this time.
Monthly dog ownership cost breakdown
To do this, I have roughed out the money it will cost each and every month to care for a dog properly. First of all, you have food to pay for. The cost of this will be different for various sizes of dogs with larger ones eating more. You can expect to pay from $30-$60 per month for basic food. Although, it’s likely that you will want to add a little to this for things like these Betsy Farms treats too. After all, the occasional treat is a great way to reward good behavior and show your pup how much you love them.
Then there are vets bills, something that is much better to address a monthly basis instead of being caught out by them unexpectedly when they do occur. To do this, you have two choices. Some vets have packages where they offer vaccinations and checkups for puppies for a length of time for a fixed monthly fee of around $40. The other option is to get dog insurance, for a small premium each month $25-$45 as then if you pooch does get sick or is involved in an accident you will be covered by your premium. It’s also worth noting that insurance is useful too, in case your dog causes damage to someone else’s property. Something that you can still be sued for, even though it was unintentional.
Last, of all don’t forget an additional amount for emergencies and other items such as kennel boring if you have to go out of town. They will need a new lead and ball from time to time as well. So budget around $80 per month for this that you can build up and then dip into all year round.
Is there a vet locally?
The locality of a good vet is also an important factor in deciding whether it’s the right time to get a dog for your child. You will definitely want one close to a maximum of 20 minutes drive away. This is so they are within easy reach for emergencies and it’s not too big a hassle to get them there for the more regular treatments and checkups they need.
Remember that your dog’s health is important because they are like to become your child best friend. That means ensuring that they are as healthy as possible for as long as possible is something that is crucial to everyone’s well being.
How will exercising your pet fit in with your day?
Last, of all, you need to consider the schedule that you keep with your children during the day. Are you at home enough to care for a dog? Can you commit to walking them twice or three times a day and still keep the other commitments that you have like taking the little ones to nursery or school? Have you got enough energy to chase around after the dog, as well as everyone else?
If the answer is yes to these questions, then you are in a pretty good position to welcome a canine friend into your family. Something that will be an important and emotionally enriching experience for you and your child.
Disclosure – I have teenagers who constantly need something and a husband who thinks items like race cars and boats are toys. So, throughout the blog you will find affiliate links that enable me to buy a bottle or two or three of wine to keep my sanity intact.