Picking the Right Pet For Your Family (Frenzied Friday Guest Post)

Some folks believe that it is actually cruel and inhuman to force children to grow up without a pet.   I guess my parents held that theory, although they never expressed the sentiment, because there was not one period of my youth where at least one dog was not a part of the household.  Cats, turtles, goldfish and even snakes had their spells of popularity, but a dog was a fixture in our home.

By the same nonchalant attitude towards pets in general, the pet dog was chosen in a very haphazard way.  A neighbor had a litter, or a mongrel was found cold and starving or the old dog died and we went to the ASPA to get a new one.  Not much thought (or knowledge, for that matter) about designer or pedigreed dogs.  Today, choosing a dog is, like so many other aspects of our modern life, fraught with complications.  We have to have the right dog.

In retrospect, it makes sense to have a dog that suits your family and your lifestyle.  Years ago, friends of ours had twins (preemies, at that) just before Christmas.  Hubby, in his excitement, thought this was the perfect time to get his dream dog, since his wife would be staying home with the babies and would have the time for a dog and enjoy the company. So he presented her with a Newfoundland puppy for Christmas.  Needless to say, not the perfect dog for their family and lifestyle at that time.

Couples without children

When you have no children in the home, your options are probably as wide open as they will ever be, except that most couples with no children also enjoy their freedom.  So, even though you can probably have a pet that needs a lot of exercise, such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers or Greyhounds, you must also be sure that the dog you choose will be content in a kennel for vacation periods, or you have a reliable dog sitter to replace you when you are away.

Families with small children

There is a charming video that circulates on the internet of a toddler and his big, old, lab.  The toddler sits on the dog, plays with his ears and generally torments him, and yet the dog follows the baby everywhere.  That’s a lucky kid.  Most of the time, older dogs do not take well to the newcomer in the family, and that is why so many people like to get a puppy when their children are young, so they can grow up together and love each other. The breeds that are said to be best around children are Setters, Labradors, and mutts. Over bred and frequently neurotic breeds such as Chihuahuas, Poodles, especially toys, and other such designer dogs are not the best choice for active children.

Retired folks

There are two different mind sets when it comes to having a pet dog after retirement. People often are sad to see the last old family dog pass on, but vow to never have another, or they feel the need for companionship and adding a little fun and excitement to the empty nest.  The advantage of retirement is that you have lots of time to walk a big dog, but the other side of the coin is that you have all this freedom now and want to enjoy it, and so a small “portable” dog is ideal if you want to be able to travel around. Depending on your lifestyle, you finally have the option for a big beautiful Newfoundland, or that teacup Chihuahua that your kids would have sat on.

If you need a vet for your new family pet, a people search might be just the thing for you. With only a few clicks of your mouse you can find veterinarians in your area.

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