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I Need Your Help . . . When to Add a Dog Into the Mix

Thanks so much for helping out – and sharing stories – about problems we pet owners face! Next up, there's the subject of having baby kiddies and baby animals in your fam. MotoLinz has a question about this very issue . . . and, once again, let's brainstorm together and help her out. To learn what it is,


When our son was born, we had two dogs, but they were old, old, old and both passed away in the past year. He "met" them both, but they mostly lived outside, and he didn't interact with them much. We'd like to get another dog at some point, and I'm wondering what everyone thinks as far as how old the little man should be before we introduce "his dog." He's almost 15 months, now.

We're looking for a different house, so I'd definitely like to wait until we move, but I was thinking 2- to 3-years-old for the little guy? I don't expect him to clean up after the dog, feed it, wash it, walk it, and all of that – I just want him to be cognizant and understand how to treat the pet. Any advice?


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CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
i have to echo the Lab recommendation, wonderful awesome dogs with kids. My sister had one and he let the kids just walk all over him.
michelleyk michelleyk 8 years
3 years is a good age to get a dog, children need to have gained a true sense of awareness of others before they can be trusted around an animal. Golden retrievers and labs are great dogs for kids, they have incredible patience and are very gentle. If you can handle a bog dog. I remember a HUGE tail pulling problem, and the dog never even blinked, let the kids climb on him, ATTEMPT to ride was all good. I'm actually a huge fan of rescues, and puppies are definitely hard work, but they do come with baggage from their previous owners. As a mother, you have to decide if you can invest the time in training a puppy (we never had any issues with our Golden) or handling any problems that may come from adopting an older dog.
Jessie-M Jessie-M 8 years
I agree with Aphrosette- at least wait until your tot is old enough to brace himself around a clumsy dog. Even a small sized dog like a shih tzu will grow big enough to topple over a 3 year old when they are feeling rambunctious. Although if you are looking into adopting an older dog (which I reccomend! Adult dogs need homes too!), you may be able to find one that is already trained and is patient around kids. Puppies can get excited and haven't learned not to bite yet! If you are set on getting a puppy, and not an adult dog, IMHO, I think you should wait until your son is about 7 or 8. With puppies growing up around tots, some dogs may develop dominance issues with the child once they reach doggie-teenhood, which would be a major problem around a 3 or 4 year old.
Aphrosette Aphrosette 8 years
I agree with Renee that many people have very strong opinions about this. I think its important to consider a few things. 1. Are you an animal person?? If you are than even a house full of people might not feel right without a dog or cat in it and then I would say get one sooner rather than later. If you are a pet person than I am sure that you want your son to be one as well. 2. And this is a big one personally, if you have allergies that run in your family. The sooner you introduce an allergen to a child the less likely they are to develop that specific allergy later in life. (This goes for "nasal" allergies so to speak, definitely not for the many food allergies out there. 3. It also depends on what kind of dog you want. If you are going to want a big dog that in its growing process my get big enough to topple him over I might wait until your son is old enough to brace himself. Dogs have very little body awareness when they are growing and can be very don't want your little one getting hurt by accident. However, if you are looking at smaller dogs this may not be an issue. One last note, friends of ours just adopted a second puppy and their son is 2. The puppy (and his sister) were found abandoned on the side of the road. The decided to keep one, and friends took the second one. Their son adores the puppy. He really thinks its his dog, and its more his size so they play very well together. (Its a beagle mix) And if it were me, I would introduce a new puppy sooner than later so that the chance of my baby developing a fear of dogs in the absence of dogs is diminished.
wren1 wren1 8 years
I'd wait until 3 1/2 at least, when kids are getting out of the "me, me, me" phase, and are beginning to grasp that someone other than them have feelings and importance. Then, as already stated, it depends on the breed.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I had a friend go through a similar situation. Everyone had different opinions and I mean they were STRONG opinions. Personally I would start trying to introduce him to dogs soon, if you have a friend with a friendly one to let him get used to what it's like to have an animal walk around him. Research breeds, some become super protective like second moms around "their" kids. I'm not going to list of any breeds because everyone has different ideas of what the perfect dog is. Then once you decide on a breed try to find a breeder and see if they'll let you introduce your son to their dogs. a lot of times breeders have show dogs, they're used to being poked and prodded and are very well behaved so won't mind your son being curious about what's in their ears and such. Once you get a dog, just be careful to not let them be alone together for a while, just in case. Develop boundaries, like make sure your son knows not to bother your pup when he's eating etc. I'm sure they'll develop a great bond and be happy in the long run. Jeez sorry about the novel, but good luck!
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
I can't say as to what age would be appropriate for your child to be intoduced to a dog. But when that time comes, be certain to do a lot of research about particular dog breeds that you may be interested in. Many breeds are good with very young children...Labs and Boxers if memory serves me. Others simply are not kid-friendly by nature. Hope this helps! :)
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