A dog in the family

You will get the most benefit from your dog if he becomes an integral part of your family. All your family members have to adapt to his presence; but equally he has to adapt to them.

A family is a dynamic thing, and there are often changes occurring – sometimes several at the same time. This could potentially be stressful to your dog and cause anxiety that might influence his behaviour. It is better to anticipate potential problems and think of strategies that will make it easier for him.

Children may arrive in the family after the dog! What should you think about if you are pregnant or perhaps have a new baby? Children grow rapidly, and your dog will have to cope with them being babies, toddlers and school age children.

Other changes include the introduction of a new pet in the house, or even moving house completely. Taking your dog on holiday may involve travelling by car or by air, and may require a pet passport. Some holiday destinations are associated with added disease risks for your dog. 

Having a dog in the family is associated with proven benefits to human health and child development. However, there are also risks from disease (especially in countries where rabies occurs), and from physical injury from bites.

Check out the can my dog bite me section to find out more. Fortunately, once you have identified the potential hazards from both disease and injury, there are actions you can take to greatly reduce the risk.

Sadly, there will come a time when you will have to cope with the death or euthanasia of your dog. This will be a difficult emotional time for your family and you may need help at this tragic time.

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