Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Adopting a New Dog

Question from Laura in Claymont:
My family would like to adopt a small dog. What kind of dog should I be looking for who would get along with cats and children ages 6 and 3?

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
I always advocate adoption from animal shelters instead of private breeders or pet stores. Since you do not have your mind set on a particular breed of dog, this option may work for you. Adopting from a shelter can afford you the ability to find an adult dog that is known to be good with children and cats.

Based on the ages of your children, a small dog may be the best fit. While some large dogs can have wonderful temperaments, they are very strong and can jump on kids and be very intimidating. Take your family's schedule and activity level into consideration. If you run or hike, an energetic dog will be a good fit. If you and your spouse work all day and do not spend a lot of time outdoors, do not get a spunky dog such a Jack Russell terrier.

Many small dogs require regular grooming. Take this commitment and expense into consideration. If your family should choose a certain breed, gather as much information as possible before making your final decision. Learn about the known traits of the breed and possible inherited illnesses. If a mixed breed dog (mutt) catches your eye, they can make wonderful pets (I have one).

Most importantly, make sure everyone in the family is agreeable to a new dog and that no one has any known allergies. Your best bet is to make an educated choice and do not choose a dog on a whim. Good luck!

Posted July 25, 2006

<-- Click here return to the topic list

Please have your pets spayed or neutered!