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Bringing a Dog Into the Family

Mar 08, 2016

At some point, your family may contemplate getting a dog.  Parents may have had dogs in the past and enjoy the companionship.  Children may love the idea of having a cute furry friend to play with. While dogs can provide wonderful new life and love to a family, careful consideration must be given before the decision is made.

First, determine whether or not a pet fits within the family budget.  Owning a dog involves time and money.  Veterinary checkups, food, vaccinations, licensing, registration, toys, all these things require a financial commitment.  When discussing getting a dog, first sit down with the family and go over the budget to determine if it’s comfortably affordable.

After discussing financial considerations, testing children for animal allergies may be a good idea. Among other concerns, Ronald Ferdman points out that having to remove a pet due to allergic reaction once it becomes part of the family can cause heartbreak, sadness and resentment. Before bringing a dog home, taking children to an allergist may be the most accurate and effective way to determine allergies. Another way is to allow the children to play or spend time with dogs.  Because pet allergies appear very quickly, exposure to dogs will bring about symptoms almost immediately.

With all the joy and love that comes with a dog, so does a lot of responsibility. While a dog may be financially affordable, families must also consider the time commitment necessary to care for a dog.  If parents work all day and kids are at school and participate in after-school activities such as sports, there may not be enough time to care for a dog.  Determine your lifestyle, according to veterinarian Kim Karvahlo, before deciding to get a pet.

If affordable and health-risk free, dogs can be a tremendously positive addition to the home.  Families can bond through activities involving the dog such as walking together or taking the dog to the park for exercise.  Children learn how to love and care for something that depends on them.  Also, caring for and tending to the needs of the pet teaches duty and responsibility, according to comedian, mother, and enthusiastic dog owner Shari Simpson.

All in all, dogs can be a great addition to the home.  They provide love and companionship, help teach responsibility, duty, and obligation.  As adult educator Rona Renner describes, having a dog teaches children to learn to care for something that depends on them.  They may get to experience the cycle of life with their dog as they watch it grow up and grow old.  Provided it is chosen carefully and fits well, a dog makes a wonderful addition to the family.


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