Kids Want a Dog? How to Introduce a New Pet to Your Family in 7 Steps

Kids Want a Dog? How to Introduce a New Pet to Your Family in 7 Steps

By Nohad

For Moms|Lifestyle|Outdoor|Play|What's On


By Nohad Mouawad


I have been avoiding getting a pet for years. Since having 3 kids in 5 years, I’ve always felt like I was juggling so much at home, and that there were enough living creatures to take care of at one time. So, every time my daughter used to cry and beg for a dog, I would say: “when your little brother is older.”

I was sure that despite my girl begging me for a dog, she would probably never actually walk or feed the puppy, let alone pick up his poop (which is the absolute worst part of having a dog if you ask me). We had long ago ruled out getting a cat, as I’m allergic, and my experience with fish is that they tend to only last a week or two before you find them floating belly-up in their fishbowl.

To be honest, getting a pet is a big commitment, but it can bring so much love, warmth and companionship to your family. If you can get your kid to take care of their pet on a regular basis, you will truly give them a sense of responsibility and teach them what it means to care for another. There are lots of things to keep in mind, though, before you actually bring a pet home:

Do the Research:

Choose the Right Breed: When you’re looking into getting a dog or cat, the breed is very important. If you live in a smaller space or apartment, you will want to avoid large breeds of dogs, and each breed of dog and even cat has a certain temperament that can match or clash with your family. There are other aspects to consider, like whether the breed sheds or not, and that can really affect your daily life! There are lots of legitimate websites that explain the difference in dog and cat breeds and what to expect when looking for a pet.

Borrow a Pet: One thing that you can do before committing to a pet, is a “dry run.” If you have friends with a dog or cat similar to the one you’re looking for, ask them if you can borrow the pet for a weekend. That will give you the real sense of what it means to take care of the pet, and how it can fit into your family and with your kids. Your kids will also see that a pet isn’t a toy, but a real responsibility and a real addition to the family. Another way to see if your kids are ready for a pet, or to get them used to the idea is to go to a cat café or to the Meet & Play for dogs in Al Quoz. Kids can get close to pets and see what it’s like to interact with them, without the full commitment.

Make Sure You Check for Allergies: It’s important to do allergy tests on both adults and kids before introducing an animal into your home. These are usually done through a simple blood draw at an allergy clinic, where they can tell you through the results, if there’s anything concerning. The good news is, for mild allergies, there are several breeds of hypoallergenic dogs out there that might be an option.

Consider the Cost: One of the biggest factors to consider when getting a pet, is actually how expensive it is to be a pet owner. Besides the pet’s food, grooming and accessories, bills for the veterinarian can really pile up and you never know when your pet might need an urgent operation or another treatment that can be very pricey. Of course, that doesn’t mean that having a pet isn’t worth the cost, but it’s better to know the true cost of being a pet owner and to see if it’s in your budget, before you commit yourself.

Prepare Your Home: Before you bring a puppy or kitten home, keep in mind that they are still being trained and will dirty and ruin quite a few things. That’s why it’s a good idea to cover precious furniture, put down absorbent mats (you can even train your puppy to do their business on these), and to get important accessories like chew toys for a dog and a scratching post for a cat. You can also get a dog or cat bed and a crate ready, so that your new pet can get used to them right away, and it will help them feel secure and cozy in their own space.

Make A Chore Chart: So, if you’ve given in a gotten the pet that your kids have been begging for, it’s a good idea to have a pet chore chart ready from as soon as they come home. This can be as simple as a piece of paper that shows who is responsible for walking the dog, changing the kitty litter, or feeding the pet on each day. You can reward your kids weekly for taking care of the pet, by giving them little treats and stickers or just by allowing them to give the pet his/her treat.

Plan to Train: Bringing an animal into your home, especially one as complex as a dog or cat, usually requires the commitment to “train” them. This training can be as simple as training them where to go to the bathroom, sleep and when to eat, to giving them more sophisticated training for their behavior. In fact, you wouldn’t expect it, but puppies actually wake their owners up at night when they first come into your home, just like a newborn!

If you don’t feel confident training their behavior, you can send them to special dog training specialists, and it’s important that you research which dog trainers are near you and what kind of reviews they have. Ask your friends who have pets if they would recommend any particular trainer. One the best daycare centers in Dubai is BarkPark  where they offer play, swimming and even grooming. These “doggy day care” centers can also take your dog or cat in when you travel if there’s no one to watch them. Vetwork offers you grooming, medical consultations, training and even potty training for your dog in the comfort of your own home. You can book any number of packages with Vetwork for your pet.

Once your pet is settled in and trained, it’s a great idea to take them regularly to the different dog parks around Dubai or to a cat café if you have a cat. There are dog parks in Burj, JLT, and TownSquare, and Damac Hills. Going to the dop park regularly keeps your dog healthy, sociable and calm. Your own cats are welcome at the cat café, but it can also be a place to see if you and your kids are ready to have a cat. There’s a cat café at Vibrissae in Al Safa and at Ailuromania in Jumeirah. At Flopster beach, dogs are also very welcome, when your dog needs to have a run and cool off, for a change from the typical dog park.

If You Decide Not to Get a Pet: There are actually still lots of ways you can get your kids to spend time with animals (furry and otherwise) even if your family isn’t ready for a pet. There are so many different locations to enjoy animals, including The Green Planet, The Dubai Dolphinarium and the Dubai Safari Park. There’s also a special offer on at The Dubai Aquarium where you can have the ultimate experience for a big discount. A really special animal experience, is taking your kids to the Dubai Oasis Petting Farm where they can get up-close and personal with rabbits, goats and many other creatures and actually feed them and learn more about them.

Whatever you decide, getting a pet like a dog or cat is a big commitment, and it’s basically like adding another member to your family. It can be a lot of work at first, and you can even have some sleepless nights, but in the end if you find the right type of pet, the amount of love and caring at home can really multiply! A new dog or cat can make your children feel even more loved and happy, and you too! If you have a new or old pet, don’t forget to check out the Woofstock event on March 4th which gathers all kinds of products and activities for your furry friends.



Image Credits: <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/little-girl-holds-puppy-her-arms_1471519.htm#query=kid%20with%20pet&position=3&from_view=search&track=ais”>Image by freepic.diller</a> on Freepik

<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/closeup-shot-entrepreneur-working-from-home-his-personal-finances-savings_10477515.htm#query=spend%20money&position=13&from_view=search&track=ais”>Image by wirestock</a> on Freepik


Image by <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/full-shot-kid-feeding-cat_16688796.htm#query=kid%20feeding%20pet&position=2&from_view=search&track=ais”>Freepik</a>

Planning the Perfect Kids Birthday PartySITT: Connecting Hearts and Hands in CaregivingNeuro Play: Where Play and Learning Converge in a World of SensesExploring Aventura Parks: Dubai’s Ultimate Adventure DestinationExploring The Green Planet: Dubai’s Tropical Oasis

More Stuff

23 Healthy Lunch Box Ideas For Kids5 Easy Getaways From DubaiWhy Early Childhood Education Is ImportantQiDZ People’s Choice Awards 20195 Kids Activities In Dubai For This Weekend4 Cools Things To Do This October Half-TermHow To Easily Carve A Pumpkin7 Ways Your Family Can Care for the EnvironmentYas Winter CarnivalHatta – The Perfect Family Staycation4 Family Friendly Activities To Enjoy This Weekend In DubaiTerm 2 Afterschool Activities In Dubai5 Fun Kids Activities In Dubai & Exciting Family Activities In Abu DhabiArts And Crafts For Kids In DubaiChinese New Year Celebrations In Dubai & Abu Dhabi