Most kids love animals, so it might seem like a good idea to put a dog under your Christmas tree with a big red bow around his neck. Ok, the dog would be hidden somewhere, but maybe a collar and leash would be under the tree. A dog can be an important addition to your family, but only if your child is ready for one. Here are three questions to ask before bringing children and dogs together.
1. Is Your Child Comfortable Around Animals?
If you have a child that is afraid of animals, it’s not a good idea for a dog to suddenly appear on the scene. If your child is timid around dogs, build up their comfort level by spending time with a friend’s dog, or paying visits to an animal shelter. Introduce your child to older, calmer dogs rather than boisterous puppies. And, you never know, your child may fall in love with a dog at the shelter. Christmas present solved!
2. Does Your Child Show Respect for Animals?
Kids need to understand how to behave around animals. This means not slapping a dog or pulling on its tail. Dogs need to be patted gently and not bothered while eating. A child should be capable of learning when it’s an appropriate time to interact with a dog, and when it is not.
3. Does Your Child Help with Chores?
Does your kid willingly set the table or unload the dishwasher? If your child is taking care of their current household responsibilities, it’s a good sign that they’re ready to participate in pet care. While a four-year-old can’t be expected to walk a dog, they are capable of setting down a bowl full of dog food.
Children and Dogs – You, as the Parent, Have the Ultimate Responsibility
Young children should not be expected to have the primary responsibility for taking care of a dog. Older children can be given more doggy tasks, but even then, you have the overarching obligation to take good care of any animal in your home. Owning a dog is time-consuming. Before getting a dog for your child, make sure you have the time to walk the dog and take care of the training.
What is the Best Kind of Dog to Get?
Puppies or small dogs are not a good fit in a family with very small children. A toddler is apt to regard a small dog as a toy to be constantly hugged or chased around the house. If you have a family member who is allergic to dogs, you need to choose a non-allergenic breed. Children and dogs can be a wonderful combination. However, dog ownership is a big responsibility and is only a good thing if everyone in your family is ready for it.
Remember a Dog Needs Veterinary Care
A dog needs regular visits to a vet for shots and checkups. Plus, dogs, especially as they age, become more prone to various medical conditions. So, please make sure you have the wherewithal to pay for vet bills. And, if the dog you get for Christmas should ever experience an emergency situation and you live in the vicinity of Columbia, SC, CVETS is here to provide you with the absolute best in emergency veterinary care.