Dr Magdoline Awad: Best age for a child to have a dog or a puppy

Having a pet is a big responsibility to take on, especially when your children are still young. Here are some tips to consider.

There are many factors to consider before introducing a four-legged friend to your family, especially when your children are still young.

Dr Magdoline Awad, chief veterinarian at Greencross The Pet Company and SMARTdaily’s weekly pet columnist, explains


My wife and I have considered buying a dog, but we still don’t know if the time is right. We have two children, ages two and four, and we think they would like one. How old do children have to be to present a puppy? We don’t like an older dog. Which breed would you recommend? We have a house with a yard and time for walks. – Zac

While there are no hard and fast rules, there are a few things to consider when considering a new family member.

It is well recognized that pets are good for our health. They provide companionship and can be a source of emotional support for children with developmental disabilities – and children who grow up with pets have fewer allergies.

However, having a pet is a big responsibility to take on. While your children can learn to help, the responsibility will really fall on you until they are much older.

For this reason, some people choose to wait until their children are older before taking on a new pet.

In terms of the dog’s age, it’s true that buying a puppy will likely increase your bond’s closeness, however be aware that it can be like having another baby.

They need a lot of training, especially in the early stages. A dog that is still young but has passed the puppy stage might be a good option.

They always have a way to find a special place in our hearts, regardless of their age.

It is important to be aware of the cost of keeping a dog. The budget should cover systematic parasite prevention, nutrition, grooming and veterinary care.

Consider boarding costs if you don’t plan to take your dog on vacation with you. It would also be a good idea to research pet insurance options.

If you have considered all of the above and are still interested in a new dog, now is the time to think about the breed. Consider your activity level, lifestyle, and time available.

A Cavalier King Charles spaniel needs less exercise than a border collie. Remember that daily walks are ideal for you and the animal.

Dogs such as Golden Retrievers are well known to be good with children.

However, any breed with the right temperament and training can be a great companion.

It is important to note that if you are buying a puppy you should always try to see the environment the dog was raised in and the behavior of the parents.

Crossbreeds are an attractive option, and adopting a pet from a shelter can be rewarding as well. Regardless of the breed, all children should learn to respect an animal’s limits to avoid accidents.

Supervision by an adult at all times is essential. Hygiene practices are also an important area of ​​learning for children.


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