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Should Our Family Get a Dog?

Tessa Jurewicz

Family Pets

Dogs can make amazing pets. There are many reasons that the term “man’s best friend” rings true across the globe. Yet, dog ownership isn’t for everyone. If you are thinking of adding a dog to your family, there are several factors to consider. Here is a list of pros and cons of dog ownership.

Pros of Dog Ownership

  • Companionship– The main reason that many people add a dog to their home is because of the unconditional love, affection, and acceptance that these animals offer to their owners. Dogs relish your company and shows pure joy at your presence. Dogs are animals that need your companionship. They love car rides, vacations, visiting your office, and truly being anywhere that you are.
  • Exercise– Dogs, no matter the breed, need daily exercise. If you are looking for daily motivation to take walks, hikes, or runs a dog many be a good choice for your family. Dogs act like the ultimate accountability partner.
  • Teaches Responsibility– Due to their need for daily care, dogs teach a great deal of responsibility. It is important to remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families wait until children are mature enough to handle and care for an animal—usually around age 5 or 6—if the child is to help share in the responsibilities of pet ownership.[1]
  • Adorable– Are you looking for a four-legged friend to make you continually smile? A quick browse on any social media outlet will quickly show just how adorable dogs can be. Their goofy smile, mischievous behavior, and silly personalities can warm the coldest heart.
  • Empathetic and Loyal– Dogs are free from human restraints like pride and materialism. They are trusting, truthful, grateful, unselfish and forgiving. They live joyfully. They love absolutely without condition.

Cons of Dog Ownership

  • Cost– Dogs can be expensive! Quality pet food, trips to the veterinarian, and (depending upon the breed) grooming can add up quickly. If your family is in a budget crunch, carefully consider this aspect before adding a dog to your family.
  • Time Commitment– Dogs require daily care. They must be fed, groomed, cleaned up after, and exercised every day. If you have a busy on-the-go family, consider the amount of time that a dog requires compared to what you have to give. By adding a dog to your family, you are also committing to the lifespan of the animal, which could range from ten to thirteen years depending upon the breed.
  • Space– Dogs require room to roam. The majority of large-breed dogs need space to run and play, whether that is in a local park or a fenced-in backyard. It is possible to own a dog while living in an apartment or other smaller space, but you will need to be creative and committed to offering your dog opportunities to run and play.
  • Training– If you start with a puppy, you will begin with housetraining, but it doesn’t stop there. Training a dog—either by yourself or with the help of an expert—to sit, lie down, stay, come, stop, and get along peacefully with other people and animals is a big jobs. All of this takes a great deal of time and patience.

Consider the Breed

Not all dogs are created equal. Each breed has different advantages and disadvantages. Dogs such as retrievers and beagles tend to be gentle with kids. Other breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, and miniature French poodles, may be more unpredictable. Shih Tzu, Saint Bernards, and bulldogs are generally less active, whereas terriers, retrievers, boxers, and sheep dogs tend to be the opposite. Keep the breed’s characteristics in mind when selecting a dog.

The decision to add a dog to your family is monumental. Carefully weighing the pros and cons of adding a dog to your family will ensure that you are happy with your decision for years to come.

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Tessa Jurewicz

Tessa Jurewicz is an accomplished writer who is passionate about helping parents find joy in raising a family. She has honed her passion while teaching elementary-aged children for fifteen years and earning a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. She practices discovering joy daily in raising three young children of her own.