Children and dogs: Safety, choosing a puppy, and responsibility

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Before you buy that cute little furball in the pet window or call that ad in the newspaper, make sure your children know the responsibility of owning a pet

So your child wants a pet of his own?

Before considering a pet, there are many questions that need to be answered. Who will take care of the dog? Is my child allergic to animals? Will this animal be an inside dog or live outside? If you rent your apartment of home, does your landlord allow pets? So many dogs today are purchased without thought as to the dog's welfare. Before long the owner realizes there has been a mistake made and that dog finds himself in the pound without a family to love him.

When considering owning a dog, make sure you also consider the breed. If you get an agressive breed and your child tugs at him, he won't take to the affection as easily as you thought he would. Also consider the other members that will come in contact with this new pet when they come to visit. Since there are so many different breeds, do you want a hunting dog, or one that sleeps on the furniture?

Also consider the size of the dog and if your child can handle walking it. No sense in getting a Saint Bernard to find out it is too big to be walked.

Another option to consider is if you are pregnant or have a small child. A dog too big will in most cases jump and knock over your child, leaving your child scared of the animal. If you don't fuss too much over the child with the new pet around, chances are your pet will accept any child in your household. Try and include the pet in family gatherings. If you scold your pet when he tries to come close and be a member of the family, he will get jealous and this could cause problems.

You as an adult have the upper hand in making sure that your child and pet have the best possible relationship. If the relationship starts off on the right foot, it will flourish into a long lasting union between your child and dog. Children that grow up without a pet in their life are missing a lot.