5 Tips For Getting A Dog When You Have Young Kids

There can be many benefits to getting a dog when you have young kids. Your children will learn from an early age how to behave around dogs, plus it could provide them with an extra playmate. Your dog meanwhile will benefit from having your kids to play with so that you don’t have to spend as much time entertaining your dog.

Of course, whilst there are advantages to owning a dog with young kids, there are also many challenges. A dog can be like another child and you need to be able to cope with this extra responsibility. Here are just a few tips that could help to make owning a dog with young kids easier.

Be realistic about how much you can take on

Looking after young kids isn’t easy. Adding a dog to the mix – especially a puppy - could increase the stress levels. Consider how well you’re coping at the moment and whether you’d be better off waiting until your kids are a little older. Once your kids are over five and at school, you may have more time and patience to offer a dog – which is important for the dog’s happiness, as well as your own.

Choose the right breed

Some dog breeds aren’t great with kids - although it’s generally not the breeds that people assume. Small dogs like chihuahuas, Shih Tzus and Pomeranians are most likely to get timid and aggressive around young kids. Akitas and dalmatians can also behave erratically around kids. Choosing these breeds may not be ideal, although many families do still make it work.

Dog breeds that are traditionally well suited to households with kids include collies, Labradors, Newfoundlands and bull terriers. Consider the temperament that will fit your lifestyle – some dogs will want constant play, whilst others may be a lot calmer.

The likes of Rottweilers and Pitbulls often get a bad name, but can actually be great family dogs. This is particularly the case if they’re raised from puppies (most people looking for pitbull puppies for sale are families with kids). Rescue dogs can sometimes be a little more of a risk just because they may have been taught bad behaviors by previous owners.

Teach your kids to play nice

Your kids need to be taught from the start how to play nicely with a dog. Infants and toddlers can be a little rough and need to be discouraged from pulling and taught to pat gently. You should always monitor them as they play – eventually they will learn how to interact in a friendly way.

Similarly, you may have to discourage your dog from behaviour such as jumping and nipping (this is likely to be more of a problem with a puppy and is worth correcting as soon as possible – some kids can develop fears of the pet dog from this behavior, so make sure to reassure your kids if they are accidentally jumped on or nipped).

Set some boundaries

It could be worth having individual no-go areas for your kids and for your dog. If your kids or dog are getting overstimulated by each other, this allows you to take them into their ‘safe place’ where they can take time out. This can be particularly useful with puppies and young kids – if you kid or puppy needs a nap, they need a place where they can be left alone. An easy rule could be to not let your kids into the dog bed and not allow your dog into the kids’ bedroom.

Take care with certain foods

Kids tend to be messy with certain foods, which could fall on the floor and be cleaned up by your dog. In other cases, kids may deliberately try to feed dogs certain food. It’s worth noting that certain foods can be toxic to dogs. Grapes and raisins are one prime example of this and may require an emergency trip to the vet if your dog ingests them. Chocolate is not so bad but can be serious in large doses. Take care when feeding your child these foods to ensure that the dog doesn’t try to eat them.


  1. We have always had a dog, even when our children were babies. They are an awesome part of the family. Thank you for sharing this great information

  2. These are great tips, everyone should definitely be prepared when getting a dog but especially children. Thank you so much for sharing!