Choosing the best dog for your family | Mum In The Madhouse

Choosing the best dog for your family

Choosing the best dog to join our family was one of the hardest decisions we ever made.   I am not going to lie, it filled me with dread.  I was worried that we would make the wrong decision and I would be left to pick up the pieces and that it would really change the family dynamic.  Having a pet is a big responsibility and It really scared me, but I also knew that as a family we would all benefit from having a dog.

It is hard to think that Alvin has been with us for six years already.  In some ways, it just seems like yesterday when we got Alvin but in other, ways I do not feel we could be a family without him.  We are a better family for having him as part of it and both the boys have gained so much from living with a dog.

However, I am not going to pretend that choosing and looking after a dog is easy.  There are so many things to consider, so I am going to share with you the things we took into consideration when choosing Alvin and what is our routine with him.  Alvin is a Bichon Frise and we knew quite a lot about his breed thanks to our friends who also had a Bichon, in fact, it was due to their dog that we knew this was the right breed for us. The reality can be far from easy.

One of the biggest expenses when it comes to having a dog is Vets bills and I would always recommend comparing pet insurance providers.

Things to consider when looking at Pet Insurance

  • How much is the excess?
  • What are the maximum vet fees?
  • When does cover start from?
  • What isn’t covered by the policy – the exclusions.
  • The age of your pet.
  • The cancellation policy.

All about Bishon Frise

Alvin is a really great family dog.  He doesn’t like being left on his own and this is common for his breed, but he is an amazing family pet.  He loves spending time with us and sits with me during the day, but he also loves playing with the boys when he gets home from school and adores a cuddle from MadDad on an evening.

He is crate trained and the boys know that if Alvin is in his crate that you leave him be and he goes to his crate on an evening to sleep.  We were really lucky that he was crate trained when we got him and considering that we had a six-year-old and a seven-year-old it worked really well for us.  The crate isn’t tiny and takes up quite a bit of space in our kitchen. Crates can also be expensive, so it’s important to choose the right type and size to avoid needing to replace it in the future.

When it comes to food we took advice from our vet and we feed Alvin dried food, this is partly to help keep his teeth clean, help with skin issues (which are common in white dogs) and also because Mini and I are smell sensitive and hate the smell of pet food.  

MadDad grew up on a farm and his family has always had dogs.  At the moment they have two Maltese puppies who are definatly not farm dogs!

It seems that we have something about white dogs!  Also, dogs that require daily grooming!  

We have been so lucky with Alvin.  He loves children, he is gentle with them, however, we would never leave him alone with any little ones.  Here he is with my best friend’s youngest.

Questions to ask yourself before you get a dog.

  • How long do you have to walk a dog and how often?
  • How much space do you have for a dog? Do you have room for a big dog or a garden they can use?
  • Do you mind if your dog sheds or needs grooming on a daily basis?
  • How much time are you at home during the day?
  • Can I afford a dog? Not only the initial cost of purchasing a dog but food, vets bills, insurance, grooming, treats and bedding.
  • Is anyone in your home allergic?
  • Do you travel a lot? Alvin doesn’t like staying in kennels, so he stays with a dog sitter when we go on holiday.
  • Are you precious about your furniture?
  • Are your children scared of dogs?
  • What do you do when you go on holidaytake them with you?
How to choose the best dog for your family. The choice of dog breed is really important when it comes to your family.

We were super lucky that we could borrow a dog and make sure that all of us were aware of how much responsibility having a dog is.

If you’re unsure of what family dog to try, then please try this dog breed quiz from Legal & General. Answering a few simple questions will help dogs choose the perfect owner! 

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