You don’t become a dog person over night, you are just born as one. My parents often told me how even as a toddler I used to bring stray puppies home. I would beg my parents to adopt them. We already had one adopted dog in family. We’ve always had pets and supported as many strays as we could in vicinity. Having a furry companion is the WAY OF LIFE for me. When I met my life partner only question I ever asked him was “does he like dogs?”. Thankfully, he loves them as much as I do.
Raising a dog and a toddler is not an easy task but nothing worth comes easy. I have been asked numerous times how do I manage both? There is no easy recipe or quick fix to it. One thing common between a dog and a toddler is, they are true to their emotions. They love you selflessly and give you their one hundred percent. Therefore, if you and your family is planning to bring a pet in your life, you need to think about following 15 factors and then decide.
1 Are you ready as a family?
This is the most important factor before you bring a dog in family. If there is even one family member who isn’t ready to have a dog, you should avoid bringing in one. Especially, if that member is your wife or mother. It’s a fact, major responsibility of feeding, walking and grooming ends up falling on mothers and if they don’t think they are ready to handle additional responsibility then their point of view should be respected.
Bringing a dog in family is like having a baby. Can you have a baby without your partner’s consent? Similarly, everyone in family should be on board when you decide to bring in pet.
It is not only just emotional responsibility but financial too. You might not have to send your dog to college but you definitely need to take care of his health and other expenses.
2 Pup or a grown up dog?
Another important decision to decide whether you want to bring a full grown dog or a pup in your family. Bringing a puppy in your home is like having another baby. Everyone knows puppies need extra care and attention. So, be very conscious of your decision if you have an infant or toddler in the house. Taking care of two babies is not an easy task. Puppy kisses and puppy days are the most wonderful part of having a dog but on the flip side they poop and pee all the time. You can’t put diapers on them.
According to experts a pup should be 90 days old before you bring them home. Even if you follow the rule, dogs take six to nine months to get house trained. Till then it will be testing times for you and your family. You need to be extra careful about maintaining hygiene, if you have toddler or younger kids at home. Also, pups have sharper nails and teeth, they become more blunt as they grow up but you have to be super careful around kids.
3 Don’t be impulsive
We all think, plan and then think some more before we start planning for a baby. One should put equal thought in bringing dog in family. Never ever get a dog on a whim. All actions have consequences. Your family might love it or hate it or later regret it. They will be able to voice their opinions but your pup will never say a word. It is scientifically proven, once you bring a dog in your life, it imprints on you. You become his/her person. You will forever be his family.
I would really ask you to think twice before you decide to get pup with a baby and toddler. It can be overwhelming responsibility for some and I don’t blame them because it is a lot of work. As they say, there should be at least two years gap between two kids, it applies on pups and babies as well.
4 Do you have the right set up for a dog?
Dogs need space, to be fed, taken for walks (irrespective of weather or your mood or a drunken night with friends or late nights at work). Your furry baby is waiting for you at home. He needs you for his survival because he is now domesticated. It’s imperative you evaluate if you have right set up in place. How would you feel if you have to wait whole day for someone to come and take you for pee or poop? Not very good. right??
You don’t want a hungry, bored, depressed or cranky dog. Couches dug up, pillows torn, poop/pee accidents are the sign of bored and hungry dog. A dog needs his/her exercise and good meal. No body wants nasty surprises after a long day at work. Ensure your dog has food and exercise routine.
Plus do you have a dog walker, sitter or a safe place to leave him in case you go on a vacation? Once you bring dog in family, you will have to bear his finances as well.
5 Adopt or buying?
Another major decision one needs to take is whether you want to adopt a pup or buy one from legitimate breeder? I strongly recommend to adopt and not shop but if you have your heart set on a particular pup make sure you do a thorough background check on breeder. We all as animals loves should make sure never to get a pup from puppy mill, they might be easy on your pocket but you can’t be a dog lover and encourage such trauma against these loving creatures.
Still, look out on facebook adopting groups, pet adoption sites and pounds before you make the decision of buying. Adoption is the best. Your favorite breed might be up for adoption.
6 Do you plan to move or put in your roots?
When we brought our first puppy 6 years back, we were all set to put our roots and settle down but life is full of surprises. We just didn’t transfer to a different state but a whole new country. I still remember everyone suggesting us to give away our pup. Till date when we tell people that sparky came with us from India, they are surprised. My experience has taught me it is important to realize where you are in your life and what are your ambitions.
One would think it is not such an important consideration but it is. As the world is shrinking by the day and we have to travel to different continents for our dream opportunities, it is an important factor. I did a detailed research about which airline to take and how to safely/comfortably transport my pup. Soon, I will share that experience as well.
7 Rescue dogs need extra care
You have a very special heart if you are rescuing a pup. The best happy endings are where a dog who has been through severe physical and emotional distress finds a forever home. But please ensure you have required skills to rehabilitate rescue dog or access to a suitable trainer.
8 Why do you want a dog in family?
Ask yourself why are you getting a dog? It’s not like a movie. Having a dog is not just about running in the sun, playing fetch and swimming in the ocean. It is all that and much more. Having a dog means irrespective of what’s going on in your life, it is your responsibility. A dog is a friend, a baby, a companion and most important of all a life-long COMMITMENT.
9 No one in family is allergic to pets
Nothing’s worse than bringing a dog in family and then have to give it away because someone is allergic. It is also better to ensure no one is allergic to a pet before you get one at home. In case, there is a new family member in the household and they have allergies, what is your back up plan for the pup?
10 How responsible are you as a person?
Every where on TV, radio, print and social media you will hear “Pet is not a gift”. Why people say that? Dogs are living, breathing beings, who think and feel. When you get a dog in family, it becomes his family too. You become part of his pack. So, before you get a dog ask yourself, are you responsible enough? Committed enough? Because you might decide to leave him after few months or years or when it gets old but a dog never leaves you.
Mum Mum Ma