Are you thinking about adding a new dog to your family? Dogs can teach children responsibility, unconditional love, and give them a lifetime of memories. Lots of dogs are adopted on a whim without much thought about what’s really involved. Before you add a four-legged family member, make sure to do your homework, starting with our tips below!
Have a Family Meeting
Adopting a new dog should be a family decision where everyone gets to provide some input. Get together with your family to discuss what life will be like with Fido. This is a great time to express to your children that a new dog means new responsibilities. You’ll need to determine if your family has the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to a new pet. Discuss how you will work together to divvy up duties like feedings, walks, training, baths, vet appointments, etc.
Create a Budget
It almost goes without saying that it cost money to take care of a pet! You’ll need to figure out if your family budget can afford things like food, routine vet bills, grooming, toys, treats, and even medical emergencies.
Determine the Right Breed
Think about your family’s lifestyle, living conditions, and allergies. If you live in a smaller home or apartment, you might be better suited with a “toy” breed like a Chihuahua or Min Pin. If you have a home with a large yard, a bigger dog might be a better choice. If you or your children have allergies to dander, think about hairless breeds or breeds that aren’t prone to producing as much dander.
Research Where to Adopt
The Humane Society estimates that there are about 6-8 million dogs and cats living in animal shelters across the United States. The best way to add a new dog to your family is to adopt from a local animal shelter. There are many animal shelters and rescue organizations in Hampton Roads just waiting for you to adopt your new family member. You can usually get a listing of adoptable pets on their website.
Dogs require your time, money, and most importantly your love. All they ask in return is that you provide them with these things for the remainder of their lifetime. A dog should not be returned like a pair of shoes! Preparing yourself and your family will ensure that you make the right decision when thinking about adopting a new dog.
Aimee Beltran is a pet blogger (and dog mom!) teaching pet parents how to save money with DIY inspiration at Irresistible Pets.