It's so hard to say no to your kids when they beg for a puppy. However, the welfare of an animal must be the most important consideration, and there are plenty of reasons why adopting a puppy might not be appropriate. It's not being cruel; a dog can be a ten- or fifteen-year commitment. Here are some good reasons to say no to your kids when they ask if they can have a puppy …
1. Lack of Time
You should definitely say no to your kids regarding a puppy if you don't have the time to look after it. The fact is that whoever the pup officially belongs to, you will end up walking and feeding it. It's really not fair on a dog to be left alone all day, so if all adults work full-time then you can't give it the time it needs.
Think of the space a dog needs. Do you have somewhere to exercise it? If not, that's another reason not to have one, as is not having a big enough home. Most dogs aren't suited to life in an apartment; they need a garden to run around in and plenty of room indoors.
Kids often want a puppy because puppies are cute and cuddly. They don't appreciate how much commitment a pet needs, and they may soon get tired of walking and feeding a pup. They certainly won't want to clean up any mess! Guess who'll end up taking over? Yes, you will.
Puppies represent a considerable financial investment, which your kids' pocket money won't cover! There are fees to adopt or buy from a breeder, vaccinations, food, kennel fees and so on. And if the pup needs treatment from a vet, you could pay out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If you can't afford this, you shouldn't get a puppy (or indeed, an adult dog).
5. Tantrums and Begging
Giving in to cries of "Mom, pleeeeeeeease can we have a puppy?" is a bad move. Don't let tantrums and "you don't love us!" sway your decision either. Not only will your kids learn that they can get what they want if they whine enough, but you'll end up with a pet that you probably didn't want.
6. They Don't Understand the Commitment
Children, understandably, love the idea of having a pet. It's positive that they like animals. However, they won't appreciate the cost, the fact that you'll have to look after the dog when they go to college, the need to walk it daily, that a puppy needs training, and the extent of the commitment that pet ownership brings.
7. Puppies Grow up
Yes, puppies are cute and huggable and lovable. But shelters are full of dogs that were abandoned when they weren't cute puppies anymore and the novelty wore off. Always bear in mind that puppies grow up (and sometimes end up quite big) - your kids may grow tired of their pet when it isn't a cuddly pup any more.
8. Partner is against It
Having a pet affects the whole family, so everyone needs to be in agreement. If your partner doesn't want a puppy, then listen to their views. Adopting an animal when your partner is against the idea is only going to lead to disagreement and resentment.
Having a pet can be very good for children. It teaches them to respect and care for animals. Often, however, a puppy is not as suitable for a family pet as a small animal is. It's a long-term commitment that has to be thought through carefully. How do you feel about puppies as family pets - was it a success for your family, or have you regretted letting your kids have a puppy?