I own a dog and I have a 3-year-old child as well as a 5-month-old baby. There are positive and negative factors to this and you may wish to consider them before you decide whether to go ahead and get a dog or not.
You have to take them out for a walk every day. This gets you and your children out in the fresh air and ensures that you all get some daily exercise. Baby carriers are a must.
They act as a quick dustbin. When your toddler or baby is throwing food all over the floor, the dog will quickly come along and eat all the scraps. No hoover needed.
Your dog and children will quickly become best friends. The relationship my 3-year-old son has with my dog is so sweet. They really look after each other and are inseparable at times.
Dogs get your children used to being around animals and teach them to be gentle and kind from a young age. They understand quite quickly not to hurt your dog and learn that smacking is wrong.
As your children get older, having a dog gives them some level of responsibility. They understand the dog needs to be fed and cared for and my toddler now tries to assist with this.
They have to be walked even when it is cold and rainy. This can get very difficult when you have young children and no additional help and is virtually impossible some days.
They can actually become a nuisance when your children are eating. My dog constantly mithers my toddler and occasionally takes food out of his hand. This can be very frustrating for your child and means you are constantly having to watch the dog.
You need someone to look after them if you go on holiday. Unless you have family members, you will have to pay a professional which can be costly. This can restrict those precious family vacations.
Sometimes you can feel like you have another child with a dog. They need lots of attention, cuddles and affection and if your time is already spread thinly this can put extra pressure on.
There is always that risk that your dog could turn on your children one day. They can be the sweetest dog in the world but for whatever reason, something just snaps. For this reason, you can never leave your dog and children alone.
I hope this has helped provide some perspective as to whether or not a dog is the right decision for your family. The one piece of advice I can offer is to carefully consider all options before reaching a decision.
Dogs can be fun but they can also be hard work so as long as you know what you are letting yourself in for and are prepared, you can't go far wrong.
Does your family have a dog? What are the pros and cons? Let us know!
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.