Things to think about if your kids are putting pressure on you to get a dog
Is it sensible to get a dog just because the kids want one? The Dogs Trust advises on what to consider before getting a family dog
Q: My children are desperate for a dog. They've promised they'll look after it and walk it, but I know I'll end up doing it and just haven't got the time. It would be nice to have a dog though – what advice can you give?
A: Dogs Trust head of education Hollie Sevenoaks says: "Dog ownership has so many benefits, but making the decision to get a family dog shouldn't be taken lightly as there are many things to consider.
"Firstly, this should be a whole family decision as everyone has a part to play in making it a successful relationship. You should consider time, finances and the commitment needed to look after a dog for the average lifespan of 10-15 years. You should also research the breed and size of dog and where you want to get your dog from, to ensure you're buying responsibly.
"Do you have enough room for a big dog, or would a smaller dog suit you better? Either way dogs need a lot of care and attention, consisting of walking at least twice a day, playtime and feeding time.
"It's also really important that your family attends positive training classes to ensure your dog is sociable and well-behaved.
"The cost of a dog varies depending on how much you pamper your pooch, but the average cost of owning a dog for a year is £1,300; this includes all the essentials such as veterinary care, food, insurance, new toys and bedding.
"Although it's important to realise dogs are a huge commitment for the whole family, there are plenty of positives to having a family pet. Studies have shown that stroking your dog can lower your blood pressure and make you feel calmer. Another positive is teaching your children responsibility and commitment, which is always a good thing.
"So as a general rule, if you've considered all of these factors before making your decision, you're already onto a winner."