Having a family pet can be a wonderful thing, and there are so many great options to choose from. We have a house full of not only kids, but pets as well. 10 chickens, 3 cats, 2 fish, a budgie and a dog. Of course at the top of the list of popular pets in Britain, has to be the wonderful and faithful, dog. Dogs are loyal companions, and your children can forge friendships with their pet dog and really love it. Scrapper (pictured below) is our best mate. Permanently by my side, and can read my emotions better than any human, he loves me and I love him. Same goes for my kids.
The question is, is your family really ready for a pet dog? They come with lots of responsibilities and they’re more hard work than you might think. There are so many factors to consider, many of them being a monetary dedication. Have a read of this article, and you’ll soon figure out if you’re ready or not:
Feeding The Dog
Dogs need food just as much as humans do. So, this means your family will have another mouth to feed!
The good news is, dogs aren’t fussy eaters. The main part of their diet should consist of a healthy and trustworthy brand of dry or wet dog food. Luckily dog food can be found in every supermarket so no special trips to fancy pets shops are needed. Dogs will pretty much eat anything. Our Scrapper loves being treated to the scraps left over from some of our dinners. The important thing to remember is how often you feed them and to ensure they get all the essential nutrients in their diet. Most dog foods will include all the things they need to stay strong and healthy, which takes the work out of your hands as you don’t have to prepare a gourmet doggie meal!
Dog experts tend to say that two meals a day will satisfy your dog, though puppies may need extra feeding when they’re little. Also, the more active your dog is the more food they shall require. If you’re unsure of how much to feed your dog and when, then you can always check with your vet, and they will also let you know if your dog is a healthy weight. You need to be able to keep up with this regular feeding and ensure your dog stays fully nourished at all times. No matter what time of day it is they should always have a bowl of water free for them to sip on too. Water should be changed daily, so the water stays fresh.
Can your family commit to feeding a dog two (or more) times a day? Also, can you guarantee that your children won’t feed it things that are harmful, such as chocolate? Chocolate can be deadly to dogs, especially if a large amount is ingested. Other toxic and deadly human foods that dogs can’t eat include; Onions, grapes and raisins, avocado, to name a few. You have to be ready for this responsibility as you can’t forget to feed your dog or neglect to feed it properly because you’re busy.
Walking The Dog
Most pets need to get their exercise in quite regularly. The difference with a dog is that you’re required to help out. You’ve got to take your dog for regular walks so it can get outside and stretch its legs. Otherwise, it will become depressed and overweight if it’s stuck inside all day long.
The length of time you walk your dog for will depend on the type of dog it is. However, most experts agree that you should walk any dog for around 30 minutes every day. If you can split that up into two 15 minute sessions, then it’s even better for your pooch. Turn this into a workout session for you too. A brisk walk will be good for both of you!
Family life can be very busy, and you might not have the time to walk a dog this often. You could trust your kids to do it, but what if they’re too young? If you can’t walk your dog for half an hour every day, then your family isn’t ready to have one. There are companies like Friends for Pets that walk dogs for you nowadays. So, there is a way for your family to ensure your dog gets its walk even if you’re busy. In the end, it doesn’t matter who walks them or how they get walked, just as long as your family commits to this responsibility for the sake of the dog.
I like to take our dog on the school run, as well as little runs to the shops. It gets him an extra walk and a tired dog is a behaved dog.
Grooming The Dog
Non-dog owners often fail to realise that dog owners have to spend time grooming their dogs. Some breeds of dog, their fur can grow long and unruly, just like your kid’s hair. You’d feel bad if you let your child’s hair grow excessively long without getting it cut.
You need to get your dog’s fur trimmed now and then when it starts getting too long. Not only will this help with its appearance, but it will also help keep fleas at bay. I sometimes tidy Scrappers fur with a rubber glove! I simply wear the glove and stroke it fur. Any loose, old fur will simply stick the rubber glove and come loose. Leaving him with a beautiful smooth coat again. The nasty issue of fleas is another thing to think about when grooming your dog. Ensure it gets checked for fleas and that you do all you can to banish any fleas from it as they can be irritating for your family. Your vet can issue you with the right dose/brand of flea control treatment. These treatments are often dripped onto the back of the doggie’s neck and stops fleas from using your dog as a home. Many of these treatments also protect from worms, ticks and other parasites. Don’t be tempted to buy treatments from shops, as these can often be deadly if given in the wrong doses.
The above three points have shown you the different responsibilities involved when having a dog. If you feel like you can handle them, then getting a dog may be right for your family, and they certainly will bring you years of joy, love and happiness. They will lift you out of times of loneliness, and shall always remain your best friend.
Choosing a dog has to be a family decision that everyone agrees with. Have fun looking at breeds and their traits. Small dogs can be more nippy than larger ones. Some breeds require lots of grooming or exercising, and some are bred for specific working traits. Choose wisely.