Choosing the best puppy for your kids is a very critical decision. It depends on your family’s lifestyle, kids' ages, temperament, and budget.
A puppy should be compatible with your kids to facilitate a smooth transition to your home. This involves satisfaction for all parties involved. Here are a few considerations to help you choose the right puppy for your kids.
Your family's lifestyle
All puppies love physical activity and enjoy the outdoors. Your family, including kids, should be able to provide a certain amount of activity for the puppy.
Some high energy dogs like German Shepherd, Dalmatian, Sighthounds, or Retrievers actually require at least an hour of exercise every day. Kids who are actively engaged in sports and outdoor activities will enjoy active puppies. You can even involve your kids in puppy's training sessions and socialization.
If your kids have an easy-going lifestyle and they tend to stay in the house, a high energy puppy won't be suitable. In this case, you should look for a puppy with a laid-back and easygoing temperament.
Size of puppy
Do your kids want a small or big dog in your family? Well, this question seems easy but matters a lot. Dog's size greatly affects his overall behavior and actions. Make sure the size of your home can comfortably accommodate the breed you choose.
The type of puppy you select will greatly depend on the type of living situation that you and your kids have. Ideally, larger and energetic breeds should live in pet friendly communities that offer a lot of parks and open spaces.
- Climate: You should also consider the climate in which you live. Some breeds with a long or dense double coat would prefer a cooler climate, while a short-coated breed may prefer something more temperate. Breeds like pugs and bulldogs tend to have respiratory problems when it comes to hot weather.
- Amount of space: Consider the amount of space in your home and yard. A large breed will prefer a lot of space, while a smaller puppy could be happy in an apartment. If you live in an apartment or a small house without a yard, you should avoid getting a large or high energy dog. Small breeds with laid back temperaments work best for apartment dwellers.
Before bringing a puppy, keep in mind that some kids may have allergies and a puppy might trigger allergies. If your kids are allergic to pups, but still want to keep one, don't worry! Look for some hypoallergenic breeds that are perfect for allergy sufferers. Consult with your doctor before selecting a puppy if one of your kids has allergies.
Although there is no 100% hypoallergenic dog breed, the good news is that some breeds cause fewer allergies than others. The hypoallergenic breeds are those that shed very little.
Grooming and care
All puppies require proper care and grooming on a regular basis. However, some breeds need more than others. Puppies that have long coats may need to be groomed several times a week, which can be tough for most kids. It is better to stick with puppies that have shorter coats and require less maintenance. Some younger puppies may require some extra care and attention as well which may not be possible for kids.
Before bringing home a puppy, it is important to understand the associated costs of owning a puppy. The upkeep is often overlooked when determining a puppy's true ownership cost. You should calculate the cost of the puppy’s grooming, healthcare, and food to get an idea of what you will actually spend on the puppy. As a family, you will have to know how much money you can spend on the puppy every month.
The price of puppies can fluctuate widely depending on many factors. These factors include the breed, breeders' location, the pedigree of the puppy, age, color, and much more. A breeder’s kennel club certification can also affect the price of a puppy.
When calculating your overall budget and annual cost of owning a puppy, make sure you account for the price of
- Puppy food and treats
- Vaccines, deworming, and flea control
- Annual health examination at the vets
- Spay/neuter fees
- Regular visits to the veterinarian
- Grooming and dental care
- Training the puppy
- Puppy supplies such as a collar, leash, crate, bed, bowls, and toys
- Cost of hiring a dog walker
Owning a puppy brings great joy despite the cost of looking after your puppy throughout its lifetime. After all, the little furry creatures are worth every penny and more!
Temperament of the puppy
The puppy that you choose for your kids should have gentle conduct, a friendly attitude, trainable nature, and an ability to keep up with your kids.
The puppy should have a similar temperament to your family in order to have the perfect match. Different puppies have different personalities too, and the one you choose should fit in right alongside your family’s.
Outgoing and friendly kids will do better with puppies that also tend to be more affectionate and approachable. Reserved kids will do better with puppies of a similar cautious mindset. The entire family should meet the puppy and see if they might be compatible before making the final decision.
Setting up a meet and greet
To get an idea of a potential new puppy’s temperament and energy level, you should always meet and greet the puppy before you make the decision.
When meeting a puppy, you will want to observe how they respond to all members of your family, including kids. Here is what you should look for in a puppy.
- Does the puppy hide in the corner of the room?
- How willing is the puppy to play or share with your kids?
- Is the puppy friendly and freely socialize?
- Does the puppy approach you and your family with a wagging tail or body?
Over dominating, puppies and the ones who don’t socialize are a red flag.
Some puppies become possessive of what they believe is theirs. They might become aggressive if young children try to pick up everything, including the puppy’s toys or food dish.
Health of the puppy
Some puppies are born with serious health problems that will simply break your heart and empty your wallet. Here are key features of a healthy puppy:
- The puppy should smell good
- The puppy should be friendly with a wagging tail
- Puppy trots around confidently and plays with his littermates
Look out for any signs of poor health like unusual gait, swelling, runny nose, laziness, ear or teeth infections, etc. Avoid puppies that show the following signs:
- Freezes when placed on the ground
- Trembles while sitting
- Doesn’t interact with his littermates or with people
Ask the breeder to provide you with the vet records, including vaccination cards, for the puppy. The breeder should provide a puppy vaccination certificate. It will tell you if any vaccines have been administered already and when they are due.
The highly trainable and intelligent breeds are great with kids. They’re usually eager to please and are more affectionate with kids. Look for a breed that showers the whole family with love and affection rather than attaching themselves to one person.
Puppies that belongs to the sporting group make great companions for kids. They are bred to work side by side with people and taking commands from their owners.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the correct breed for your kids. You may want to begin by researching breeds known for good relationships with kids.
Some of the most popular family dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, French Bulldogs, German shepherds, and Border Collies. The American Kennel Club (AKC) outlines 10 breeds that they consider to be the best for families with kids. These are:
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Irish Setter
- Brussels Griffon
- French Bulldog
What’s the ideal age to bring a puppy home?
You should not bring home a puppy younger than 8 weeks old. It’s not in the best interest of the little puppy.
Choosing a puppy for your kids should be a decision you make with their input. Sit down with your kids and discuss what types of dog breeds they prefer and will be suitable. Puppies are a source of unconditional love and can help teach responsibility and cooperation.
Educate your kids on how to approach a puppy and let them know the level of care required to raise a puppy. Make your kids understand the commitment that you will expect from them. Think about what type of lifestyle you and your kids have. Understand if your kids are able to manage along with their schooling and extracurricular activities. Given that everyone’s situation is different, there will not be one type of dog that will be suitable for every family.
By selecting the right breed, choosing a dog the right age, and meeting and selecting the best dog, you can successfully expand your family with a loving and loyal canine companion.