Are you weighing up the pros and cons of bringing a dog into your family? It’s a topic many children will pester parents over relentlessly. But while dogs certainly introduce new personal and financial responsibilities, they can prove especially beneficial for young families.
Furry friends have been in particularly high demand during the pandemic, with average puppy prices more than doubling. For many, having extra time at home has presented a rare opportunity to bed a new pet in. In return, their energy and affection will have eased some of our collective boredom.
Getting a dog isn’t a decision anyone should take lightly all the same. Below we weigh up some of the key advantages against the initial and long-term costs.
Benefits of dogs for young families
There are countless benefits of dogs for families beyond simply making everyone smile.
For little ones, taking care of a dog can impart important life lessons around responsibility, discipline and respect. Dogs aren’t just for Christmas after all, and just like humans they have their needs and boundaries. Bonding with them also often requires patience and empathy, which can help to develop a child’s social skills.
There’s lots to like for adults too of course. Walking a dog can improve our general health and fitness while reducing stress levels. Dogs also offer a sense of protection, which can be reassuring when out and about as well as when relaxing at home.
But all those advantages don’t come for free, of course…
Costs of dog ownership
There’s no doubt that dogs can represent a significant expense, and you’ll have various upfront, annual and one-off costs to budget for along the way.
Settling a new puppy in can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds. Whether you adopt or use a breeder will make a difference, but you’ll also have neutering, vaccinations, equipment and toys to factor in regardless.
Regular or annual costs will then include food, pet insurance or routine pet visits, treats and more. Extra expenses meanwhile might include emergency vet bills, kennel rental when you’re away from home, as well as grooming when the dog needs freshening up. In the unfortunate event of being hit with a large vet bill, which your pet insurance doesn’t cover, it may be worth looking into a long-term loan to spread the cost.
The PDSA suggests you should expect a dog to cost you at least £4,500 to £13,000 over their lifetime.
Is it worth it?
For some, dogs are simply too costly and time-consuming. But if you believe you have the time, love and financial flexibility to care for them properly, it’s easy to argue that the pros will outweigh the cons.
You’ll have a new companion for what will hopefully be years to come – and your little ones are bound to agree, too!