Being a single parent is hectic enough. So when your child asks for a pet, your first response may be no. And while having a pet can be great for developing the characteristics we all want in children, it’s important to consider whether you are ready for the responsibility. There’s no guarantee your children will look after it, and if they don’t, the responsibility will fall on you.
Make it a Family Decision
If you are considering getting a pet, you need to take the time to consider it carefully with your children. Everyone in the family needs to be prepared for the upcoming responsibilities. Depending on the age of your children, getting their buy-in before you bring puppy home is crucial.
If possible, borrow a dog from a family member for long weekends and have your child practice the basic chores that come with having a dog. Then discuss how well they did and how they would feel about having to do it full-time.
To give you an insight into what you need to be able to offer to be ready for the responsibility of a dog, see below.
Are You Ready for the Responsibility of a Dog?
Dogs Don’t Come Cheap
The first thing to know about adopting a dog is that dogs aren’t cheap. Not only is the initial price tag for adopting a dog or puppy usually high, it’s important to ensure you can afford to care for them.
Puppies, especially, have a round of shots that first 6 months, plus monthly flea, tick, and heartworm medication. Some dogs need additional medication for allergies and some breeds are more susceptible to certain diseases or hip dysplasia. Pet insurance is an option but also another cost.
Dogs eat a lot and their food can be expensive, at least, good-quality food can be, which is what you would want to feed your pooch. There’s also the cost of your dog’s toys, kennel, and bedding to consider.
Then there’s the cost of pet care when you’re on vacation – dog boarding is a great option but all the best boarding facilities come with a cost.
Once you add a dog to your family, they’re part of your brood, you can’t just get rid of them if they become unaffordable – a dog is for life, after all.
Lots of Exercise is Required
While different breeds of dog require less exercise than others, it’s important to understand that every dog requires some level of exercise. Usually, this means that they will need at least two 30-minute walks per day, potentially more depending on the breed and the individual dog’s energy levels.
Ask yourself, are you ready to walk every day regardless of the weather? Do you have time to be walking twice a day? And if not, do you have the funds to pay for a dog walker to walk your dog for you?
And although exercising your dog is listed as a consideration point, it can also be a huge benefit to you and your family. This can force your whole family on daily walks. If you have a large dog, the chances of them letting you forget a walk are slim!
These are all important things that you need to consider, to ensure that you are ready for the responsibility of having a dog.
Love and Time is Needed
Dogs are like people, they need lots of love, care, and attention. If you are going to get a dog, you need to be willing to provide them with lots of love, time and care. A dog loves being petted and played with, they like spending time with you and get lonely if they’re left alone all day. You need to consider whether you have the time needed to give a dog the life that it deserves and whether you and your family have the love that a dog will need.
Certain breeds do not do as well as others with their owners being away eight hours or more for work. Take that into consideration as well when choosing which breed you want to bring home.
Different breeds have different lifespans. Research this beforehand and discuss it with your children. If you are adopting an older dog, this is especially important. Of course, anything can happen at any age but having realistic expectations with our children is important.
So, Are You Ready to Get a Dog?
Dogs make amazing pets, there’s no getting away from that fact. They are loyal and loving, and will always do whatever they can to make you happy. Before taking on a dog, and bringing him home to the kids, make sure you’ve thought carefully about whether you are ready the extra responsibility.