Photo Credit: crazedparent.orgThe photo to your left is of my cute pup, Luna, when she was a mere eight weeks old. One year ago, I was dealing with training a feisty (but adorable) Labrador, my then 5-year-old son's summer vacation and my then 2-year-old. And I was working for a start-up in the middle of an acquisition. In short, I lived up to my crazedparent moniker.
She's the family pup and truth be told, we love her to pieces, even when she hurls her 60 pound self on a bed thinking it's her spot. But anyone will tell you that getting a dog when you have kids is no small task. And when it's a puppy, you can multiply your workload by 100 1000 more than you can ever imagine.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne over at whoa Momma! just posted five questions every parent should ask when their kid(s) start talking about wanting a dog:
- Age: puppy, adolescent or mature dog? Each bring their own pros and cons.
- Lifestyle: How will the dog fit into your world? Or better yet, are you ready to change your world for a dog?
- Breed: Small, mid--sized, large? Temperament? Coat?
- Rescue dog or pure bred? Again, pros and cons to both.
- Behavior red flags: When you finally are shopping for dog, what should be be looking out for?
Check out Sharon's post for drill downs on these 5 questions. And since I've just gone through this experience, I'll add my two cents:
- Unexpected Costs: Everyone factors dog food and vaccinations into their budget, but don't forget to think about the unexpected medical issues that could arise with your pet. My pup ended up having minor surgery at six months and major surgery at eight months for random ailments that no one could have predicted. And it was not cheap. Ask yourself what you'd do if this happened. Would you be willing to pay upwards of a few thousand dollars during a medical emergency? (And don't forget dog walkers, boarding costs, etc. if you have to travel and don't have a neighbor or family member who can care for your pup).
- Child Involvement: If your kid is old enough to ask for a dog, your kid is old enough to get involved in taking care of the dog. But any parent will tell you that younger kids are less likely to get involved after puppy gets big. So make sure you're 100 percent ready to take on all responsibilities of caring for a dog. And if you do want to get your kid involved, find one task that your kid can own, like feeding the dog everyday or changing a water bowl. Just be consistent in making sure they do that job every. single. day. (Perk: when your kid is being punky, you can make 'em be the poop scooper! Kidding (sort of).
Any other tips for parents considering a family dog? Drop a comment.
(p.s. I'm writing this post as Luna sleeps under my feet. It was all worth it...)