Cats and dogs are supposed to not get along, and yet mixed households like these are not only numerous, but they are happy. You can have a dog and a cat in the same home, and better yet, these two species can be friends. The notion that they’ll only argue and chase each other is a thing for cartoons. When your children or your partner are begging you to bring a puppy into the threshold, you don’t need to hold back. Your cat (or cats) will be fine, and you’ll have a new happy, bouncy family member that you’d be surprised at how much you come to love.
Now, while cats and dogs both offer the same relaxing, reassuring presence that allows many people to de-stress and calm down, dogs offer another unexpected benefit. This benefit being in the fact that yes, you do need to take more care of them. They cannot entertain themselves as well, and they need plenty of exercise in order to be healthy and happy. If they do not get this exercise, they could turn to more destructive tendencies to relieve their pent-up energies.
Walking your dog, however, is where the extra benefits come in to play. The daily exercise needed to keep your new pet healthy is the same daily exercise that you might be missing from your life. That is why dog owners typically have lower cholesterol and blood pressure. These daily walks are just as good for you as they are for your pet. You could even lose any unwanted weight.
Dogs also require more responsibility. This means that, for families, they are excellent training tools. Get your children involved with taking care of your new pet, from feeding, to exercise, to training, but first, you need to choose which breed is right for you:
What Is Your Living Situation?
One of the biggest indicators of what kind of dog breed you should get is your living conditions. This doesn’t mean the state of your home, but rather the size and location of it.
Space in Your Home
If you have a small apartment or otherwise small living space, you can still have a dog, but it would need to be a small dog bred for city-living. If you either have a large property, or if you live in a remote location, you have a lot more choices in terms of size and breed.
If your family does want a big dog, and your place is small, it can only be done if you have a lot of parks or even dog parks nearby. Your dog will need to be able to run himself silly. While smaller dogs can be walked, larger dogs need to be taken off the leash and be allowed to run. You cannot walk them into being tired, but you can let them loose so that they can exercise themselves to their heart’s content.
Are there Any Hiking Opportunities Nearby?
Similarly, if you love being outdoors and love hiking, and here are great trails nearby, then medium and large dogs will love the opportunity. They will get the run they need, and you can get the walk that you need. Just make sure that the area you are in is dog-friendly, or otherwise rather remote, since not everyone is accepting of dogs.
Whether you get a small or large dog depends on your lifestyle, living conditions, and your personal preferences. All dogs are good dogs, after all, which is why you should find a breed that suits your family.
How Experienced Are You?
Now that you know the answers to those three previous questions, the last one you need to ask yourself is how experienced are you. If you grew up with a dog in the house, you have experience. The same applies if your partner has had dogs before. If you still aren’t sure, you can read Canine Weekly for tips and advice for taking care of a dog, so that you can give your new pet everything he needs.
Preparing for Your New Dog
Once you have decided to get your new dog, it is time to prepare for one. This should only be done once you have researched dog breeds and found one that not only looks cute to you, but also one whose breed’s personality matches your lifestyle.
Dogs, like cats, come with financial responsibility. Thankfully, if you are already used to paying the necessary food, vet, and toy bills for your cats, you are likely already financially prepared to own a dog.
Preparing Your Home
Puppies chew. That is why you should remove all the delicate things that you don’t want ruined away from the floor. You should also get your puppy a lot of toys that they can enjoy chewing. Harder toys that have different textures are a good start. Once your puppy is in the home, however, you will still need to be firm. Stop them from biting things that they shouldn’t, and replace it with one of their toys. The same applies to how they behave with your cats. You will want to train them to respect your cats from the start.
Preparing Your Family
Dogs are a huge amount of responsibility, which is why you need to ensure that your whole family is on board with their new responsibilities. You need to be as firm with your children as you are with your new puppy. Otherwise, you’ll be the only caretaker. You will need to take your whole family to puppy training class, and to delegate responsibilities early.
Puppies thrive on routine, and so do children, so combine the two so that your children are the ones responsible for feeding your new puppy, and, if they are old enough, even walking them after school. The more involved they are in the care, the more they will learn and the more they will love their new family member.