Choosing a family dog is a tricky job, you need first to establish what kind of dog you want and whether you really do have the time, space, patience and ability to look after it.
Here are some of the breeds best associated with families and children.
Renowned for their patience and good nature this is a breed that is rarely aggressive or too excitable. Labradors tend to be easy-going and intelligent. They love long walks and love being active but are also relatively calm and accommodating. They also live for around 12 years so a good long time.
These are similar to the Lab in their disposition. Again, they are mild mannered, and gentle. They also enjoy being near people and are easily trained. They love going out and running and fetching so are ideal for pr-school age children as they will never tire of a child chasing with them and running about. They do need care as they have long hair though.
A docile, calm dog although often stubborn, they are gentle and good for children because of their kind nature and love any attention from children!
A very small breed of dog: excellent with children and good indoor dogs. They tend to be very loving. They don't shed hair and are easy to take care of, even for kids.
A small dog who will play with anything and put up with lots of kiddie affection and cuddles. They don't shed much hair and they are fairly easy-going.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
An excellent breed around kids. It is a well-mannered and usually gentle and patient. They are also quiet dogs and patient about being poked and prodded by toddlers. They don't bite and like to play around children.
A little two year old may loose her sight in one eye, thanks to the discraceful negligence of a dog owner. Little Amiee Langdon was playing in a park, she fell over and put her hand in some dog mess that had not been cleared up. Before her mother could stop her, she rubbed her eye and it is now dreadfully infected and she may end up blind in one eye.
The little girl is on antibiotics to try and clear up the painful swelling and to attempt to contain the toxocariasis infection. If the infection doesn't clear up her eye will have to be removed to stop the spread of the infection to her brain.
A different type of toxocariasis, which is the main risk for humans from contact with dog faeces, can cause inflammation of the liver and abdominal pains and fever. There are, thankfully, only a few cases each year. But there is still a risk.
In Aimee's case, if her mother had not spotted the infection immediately and taken her to hospital, the toddler may have died! Apart from the swelling, the little girl developed flu like symptoms the day after the incident. Despite her mother bathing the eye as soon as they got home, the infection had taken hold. She was woken in the night by the screams of the little girl who was in agony.
Even if the infection clears, it may still mean that Aimee will lose her eyesight or may have to deal with the dreadful reality of impaired eyesight for the rest of her life.
Irresponsible dog owners are the bane of parks and play grounds all over the country. The majority are careful when it comes to picking up their dog's mess and keeping their dogs close by and under control., but most of us have experienced the disgusting sight of dogs being allowed to foul the pavements or parks and the dog owner just strolling away. It's a disgrace!
Be aware how dangerous dogg mess can be and act immediately if you see your children touching it by accident.
Having pets in the home is a great way for children to learn about responsibility as well as helping them to develop a nurturing, kind nature towards animals, and indeed, people! However, although it may seem nice to have a cat sniffing round your ankles or a dog wagging his tail at you, the reality of keeping a pet can be very different.
Not all animals are suitable for pets - unless you live in a rambling country house or a farm! To start with, go for something easy to look after (as it may be you doing the messy work rather than your children!) Choose something small, easy to keep, easy to exercise, cheap to maintain, and that fits your home and surroundings.
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