If you’re thinking about having kids one day, getting a dog as practice seems like a good idea, right? You get used to having to take care of another living creature, but this one won’t cry or wear diapers, so it’ll feel like an easy transition. At least these are the arguments I hear the most when people are pondering getting a dog before having a baby. Well, I’m hear to tell you that they’re wrong. The thing is, getting a dog is a commitment – for most an at least decade-long commitment. And once you add a baby or two on top of that, well the going gets tough.
1. Dogs need attention too. My dogs were my first babies, they were used to getting all the petting, trips to the dog parks and regular walks galore. But since having a child, there’s simply not enough me to go around. Regular walks have turned into playing all-too-briefly in the backyard, and petting is reserved for when the baby is in bed, and I’ve finally had the chance to sit down. Dog parks? Ha, a thing of the past! Packing 2 dogs and a kid into a car is a lot more work than you’d think.
2. You can’t just leave them for an impromptu family trip. This may have been the case pre-baby as well, but with a baby we find ourselves taking more long day trips to Grandma’s house, or wanting to go on an impromptu weekend trip – sans dogs. This requires desperate last minute calls to kind friends or family who might be willing to dog-sit for a day or two. Most of which don’t pan out. Or, alternatively, shelling out some big bucks to board them for a night, and having to rush back from wherever you are to pick them up (and rushing with a toddler is no joke.)
3. Getaways are a thing of the past. If my hubby and I want a quick getaway just for the two of us, it’s not so hard to find a willing grandparent to watch the kid for a night. But asking them take on the child and the dogs? Forget about it! This leaves you in a similar predicament as above.
4. Kids need doctors, and dogs do too. Even if your dogs are healthy, they will still need to go to the vet every once in a while for shots or a random ailment. And vet visits aren’t cheap! Combine that with taking your child to the pediatrician for every little ache and sniffle, and soon you’ll feel like a little creature transportation machine.
5. Baby brain affects the dogs too. That phenomenon known as baby brain is real – all of a sudden it’s harder to remember what you have to do on the endless to-do list that is now your life, and things get forgotten faster than they’re remembered. Add to that having to remember to feed your dog everyday, making sure they have water, washing their beds, giving them regular baths, making sure they go out to go to the bathroom before you go to sleep, put on their flea medication, and the list goes on and on. And whatever you think you had to do before you had a baby, now just times it by three! All that to say – it just means more work for you.
Now don’t get me wrong, dogs are amazing companions and I never regret having them, but just be forewarned that once a kid enters the picture, they will seem like that much more work. So choose wisely.