Updated: Jan 20
Ok, deep breath. You got this. You can overcome the chaos and get things in order. You can make it to work......We'll help!
Once you have children, your pet choices might need to change to accommodate the limitations and needs of your family. If your pets came first before you had children, there’s not much you can do (remember all those "Dog Mom" mugs and shirts you bought??) But, if you’re thinking about a new addition to the family, it will save you energy and headaches to research upfront. This should be a functional fit for your family and there's many choices ahead of you. Here are some tips for either making the decision to welcome a new pup into your home or adjusting your lifestyle to fit kids into your house full of pets.
1) Research. Research. Research.
Explore how certain breeds get along with children in general. Try to be realistic about how much work they require (e.g. Huskies). For instance, if you have a baby who is crawling and putting everything in his mouth, maybe a long-haired dog breed who sheds all over the place is not the best choice at that particular moment.
A new pet needs to fit in with your family’s lifestyle as seamlessly as possible. And of course, it’s best to avoid any potentially dangerous pet or aggressive dog breeds who don’t get along with children. The compatibility of pet species is another concern you should address. Also take a look at your schedule, whether it's your current situation or in the future. For instance, if you're going back to work after a parental leave, you'll need to plan ahead for not just your child, but your pet.
2) Create Spaces To Coexist
The size of your home and living spaces should be one of the considerations when planning the size of your full family. A step in the direction of peace and good organization is to make sure everyone has their own place and things.
Every animal should have their own bed as well as a food and water bowl...obviously. Kids need a space for playing and activities. Remember that both animals and children sometimes need a calm, empty room for a time-out.
If you rent instead of own a home, it’s good etiquette to check with your landlord whether they're okay with renting to a big, multi-pet family. Some animals also need their privacy when they eat, food aggression is a real thing. Feeding them all in the same room or letting children disturb them during meal times might lead to fights and aggression.
3) Split up tasks/roles
When it comes to running a household, often the bulk of the work in a family falls to a single person. If you're like me and don’t want to drop dead from exhaustion, then ask for help and delegate. In large families, defining new routines can be a life-saver.
Between the kids and the pets, there are so many things to keep in mind and do (meals, bedtimes, naps, walks, activities, meds, etc.). Unless you know exactly who needs to do what, and when, some of these are bound to slip your mind.
Make a family meeting and split the duties. For extra security, you can make a chart and stick it on the fridge or wall. Don’t just divide the duties between yourself and your partner either. Children can help out more than you think. Caring for pets or younger siblings helps develop empathy, independence, and a sense of responsibility in kids.
4) Manage a Budget
When you have a family with multiple kids and pets, money can be tight. Make a list of your priorities each month. Quality food and healthcare top the list, but depending on the month, these might be joined by new clothes, grooming, back to school supplies, or other expenses. Each month, put a little bit of money aside for unforeseen circumstances. Especially now that you have such a larger family.
You never know when your pet might get sick and need additional veterinary care (Check out our article on Pet Insurance). When considering a new pet, review your budget first to see if you can afford it. Skimping on proper nutrition and care for your children and animals is likely not what you'd choose.
4) Maintain Cleanliness a Little at a Time
Children who grow up with animals tend to have less allergies and better overall health. It's true believe it or not. Exposure to a certain amount of pathogens is actually beneficial, as it boosts the body’s natural immune response.
However, it’s still necessary to keep your home, animals and children clean, in order to ensure everyone is safe and healthy. It’s especially important to take precautions if you are cooking for your pets, and particularly if their diet consists of raw foods.
For example, raw food (especially meat) can carry dangerous pathogens such as Salmonella and E. Coli, so don’t let your kids handle it. Clean all the surfaces and the pets’ bowls regularly. Clean their cages, wash their bedding and give them regular baths.
Schedule your pets & children for regular check-ups. Regular check-ups ensure that vaccinations remain up-to-date. They also help manage appointment reminders.
Check your pets regularly, daily rub downs & pup scratches and Grooming appointments help detect ticks, ear issues and matting before they get out of hand. Some vets offer discounts for households with multiple animals, which could be a great help to your budget. Also, groomers often encourage regularly scheduled grooming appointments by providing discounts, like we do at Townhouse for Dogs and Cats.
Please reach out to Town House for Dogs and Cats to schedule your pup's boarding or grooming appointments. Call us for more information or make your appointment today.
As always, thanks for being a member of our Townhouse.