Want a dog? Here are 10 reasons to get a dog for your family, and some questions to ask yourself before getting a dog.
A Dog for the Family
Getting a dog is a big decision for any family. It’s important to think about whether or not a dog is right for you and your lifestyle before you make the commitment.
You’re probably thinking: is getting a dog right for us?
Buying or adopting a dog is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, and they require a lot (and I mean, a lot!) of love, care, and attention. Before you get a dog, you need to make sure that you and your family are prepared for the responsibility.
10 Reasons to Get a Dog
Here are 10 reasons to get a dog for your family:
- Dogs provide companionship and unconditional love. Dogs can be loyal and loving creatures that will always be there for you, no matter what. They can help to reduce loneliness and isolation, while also providing a sense of purpose.
- Dogs can help you stay active. Dogs are active creatures. They need to be walked and played with regularly, which can help you exercise more, improving your physical health and reducing your risk of chronic diseases.
- Dogs can help reduce stress and anxiety. Spending time with dogs can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels. They can also provide a sense of security and comfort, which can be helpful for people who are stressed or anxious.
- Dogs can help improve mood. Interacting with dogs can boost mood, reduce feelings of depression, and increase self-esteem. They can also help you to feel more connected to others. Lots of people love to talk about dogs and meet new dogs, which leads me to my next point…
- Dogs can help you meet new people. When you take your dog for walks, to the park, or anywhere public, you are likely to meet other dog owners. This is a great way to make new friends. (Introvert like me? Some people will spend most of the time talking to the dog, and conversations are usually short…)
- Dogs can teach children responsibility. Caring for a dog can teach children important life skills such as responsibility, empathy, and compassion. They can learn the importance of caring for something other than themselves.
- Dogs can help you stay safe. Dogs can sometimes be a deterrent to crime, and they can also help you to feel a bit safer when you are home alone. Some of them can also be trained to help people with disabilities, such as guide dogs for the blind or service dogs for people with medical issues.
- Dogs can make you laugh. Dogs are often goofy and unpredictable. Ever see the thousands of videos of funny dogs online? They can be hilarious! You can see some of our dog’s antics on their Instagram Ruby and Keeva.
- Dogs can help you learn new things. There are many dog activities that you can participate in, such as obedience training, agility training, and tracking. These kinds of activities, no matter at what level, can help you to learn new skills and have fun with your dog.
- Dogs can make your life better. Dogs can bring joy, love, and companionship into our lives. They can possibly even make us healthier, happier, and more connected to others.
All of these are really great reasons to get a dog, aren’t they?
Now that you know all of the reasons to get a dog, you also need to know the realities of getting a dog.
Should I Get a Dog?
These are some important things to consider before actually getting a dog:
- Do your kids like dogs? It may seem like a silly question, but it’s an important one for your family. Do your kids like to look at dogs from a bit of a distance, or do they have prior experience with dogs? Do they like to ask to pet dogs? Do they get anxious around dogs? Are they capable of helping to feed, walk, clean up after the dog? This is an important discussion to have with your family.
- Do YOU like dogs? Face it; unless your kids are older and very responsible, you’ll be the one taking care of the dog the most, especially during the day when the kids are in school. Are you comfortable with having a dog in your home?
- Do you know about dog behavior? Puppies and young dogs bite, nip, and chew…on everything. They cry and whine. They have accidents. They jump up on people and objects. They dig in dirt and mud, and sometimes in clean laundry. They roll in dirt and other things. They shed, sometimes a lot. As they get older, guess what? They still do those things, but in a larger size with a louder bark. Some dogs can be cuddly, and some are not. Ready for all of that?
- Is your home ready for a dog? Getting a new dog can be like having a baby in the house again. Your house needs to be dog-proofed before Rover comes to live with you. Think gates, crates, secure food storage, non-toxic plants, favorite pillows and toys in safe places, furniture covered, yard fenced in, etc.
- Is anyone allergic to dogs? This is something to find out BEFORE you bring a dog into your home. There are tests available to find out, or you could visit a family member who has a dog.
- Are you going to have any major events coming up? Getting a new, demanding job? Expecting a baby? Moving? Grandma moving in? Either delay getting a dog, or just be prepared to help your dog transition to the changes. It isn’t fair to the dog if there was a change in your life and you needed to give the dog up for adoption.
- Do you have a job? There are two reasons to ask: one, because you need to pay for dog-related things, and two, because you need to figure out what to do with the dog during the day. Yes, many dogs can sleep up to 10 hours a day, but it’s probably not a great idea to leave a dog alone for that long all the time. Do some research into pet sitters or walkers, or find out if a neighbor can check in.
- Are you financially able? Dogs are not just a one time payment. Things you’ll pay for will include: vet visits, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, dog license, training, grooming, dog food, treats, toys, bedding, etc. Start adding up the costs now and see if there are things you can save money on, like saving money on dog food for instance.
- TIP: We love these raised dog beds from Bedsure!
- Are you physically able to care for a dog? Dogs are active creatures. They need to be let outside and fed. They benefit greatly from walks and playing. They occasionally may need to be picked up or held. Are you and others in your household physically able to care for a dog or will you need help? If you need help, who is available to help you?
- Purebred or mixed breed? This is a matter of preference, but still something to think about as it will affect your financial contribution in the short term and long run. It could also be a matter of buying vs adopting a dog. While there are a few purebreds that are desirable, it has been found that mixed breed dogs can be generally healthier than purebreds. You will usually pay more initially for a purebred than the adoption fee for a mixed breed. (Personally, I say adopt, don’t shop! So many wonderful dogs in shelters!) It’s important to do some research about different breeds and mixed breeds and their characteristics to see if they’re right for your family.
- Do you like to travel? Do you like vacations and trips? Will the dog travel with you or stay home? This is another thing to consider financially as you may need to pay for boarding, a dog sitter, or even extra expenses on your vacation if you bring the dog along.
- Are you ready for lifelong commitment? A dog is a commitment. It is a lifelong commitment that can live around 10-15 years on average. Are you and your family ready for such a lifelong commitment?
It’s so important to ask yourself all of these questions before getting a dog. Too many dogs are bought or adopted, only to be returned or rehomed. Many of the rescues and shelters are overrun with pets and because of that, some dogs may end up in kill shelters.
Please, please do your homework before choosing to get a dog!
Ready to Get a Dog?
After reading everything, think you’re ready for a dog? I hope your journey to finding the perfect pet for your family goes smoothly!
Have any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!