Perhaps you’re about to bring a baby home; maybe you’re considering having children; or possibly, you already have children. Either way, if you already have a dog in your home, you probably feel like that pet is one of your kids as it is. Many pet parents who then become human parents find themselves torn and even a bit guilty, feeling like they’re splitting time between their human children and their ‘fur babies. Furthermore, parenting a child while taking care of a dog can be overwhelming, taking up a lot of your time and making you feel overwhelmed. No matter what you’re currently dealing with as you take care of your dog and your child, you have a right to feel a little overwhelmed and stressed out, like you can’t find time in the day for your dog, your child, and yourself.
Fortunately, there are resources that you can turn to, as well as lifestyle changes that you can make overtime to make it a little bit easier for you to take care of your dog and your child. If you feel like you’re this close to contacting a pet adoption service to find a new home for your furry friend, take a breath and wait a moment. There are solutions that will allow you to be a good parent, kind to yourself, and a good dog owner.
1. Talk To Your Vet
If you feel like your dog’s behavior is a little out of hand, or perhaps extremely out of hand, you may want to begin by talking to your vet first. Some of the behavioral issues that dogs exhibit are actually related to their health. Many dogs show their stress in destructive ways, through chewing and barking, or sometimes even through small displays of aggression. All of these behaviors are understandably concerning and difficult to deal with. Your local veterinarian may be able to start you out on some tips for curbing your dog’s behavior. Furthermore, some dogs are more prone to anxiety, which can make them especially challenging to handle. Your vet could potentially diagnose your dog with an anxiety disorder, and help you by prescribing medication just as they would if you were speaking to a psychiatrist or family care doctor about your own anxiety.
Your vet can also be a resource for other services that will better help you take care of your dog. Vets are great at offering referrals to other dog-related service providers in your area. Sometimes, you can even get a bit of a discount through your vet’s referral, which will certainly help lower your stress a bit more! You may also want to talk about your vet if your dog is having accidents in the house, or excessively shedding. Some of these physical symptoms can be treated through medication; however, they may also be signs of other underlying conditions that need to be treated by a vet. If you have any major questions about your dog, it’s always worth beginning with your veterinarian. They’re more than just a resource for dog vaccines, after all!
2. Consider Doggy Daycare
If you work while parenting, or simply feel like you can’t fully balance taking care of your dog all day with taking care of your child all day, you should consider getting in touch with a local dog daycare center. Doggy daycare centers essentially offer babysitting services for your dog and are excellent resources for those that are overwhelmed and don’t quite know what to do with their dogs on their own. Doggy daycare often offers playtime, socialization with other dogs, and much more for your pets, and can often help you in ensuring that your dog’s energy is probably expended. If your dog is stressed and acting out due to that stress, sometimes at a doggy daycare could make a big difference for them.
Of course, you’ll want to be very careful when considering a doggy daycare for your beloved pet. While there are many great doggy daycare centers out there, not all of them are created equal. You’ll want to make sure that you research numerous kennel websites before settling on one that is right for you. Make sure that you don’t just read the Google reviews. Look for good word of mouth from people that you can potentially speak to directly, even if it’s just through social media. Check out references from community groups and boards on sites like Facebook and Reddit. You could potentially get a much better idea of the best doggy daycare in your area if you speak to other dog areas in the community. Furthermore, ask questions about doggy daycare centers before you commit to one. Good doggy daycare will ensure that all dogs are carefully monitored when they interact with each other, that doggy residents are assessed behaviorally to ensure that aggressive dogs do not interact with other dogs and that vaccinations are required before a dog is accepted. Furthermore, you should ask about whether or not dogs at the daycare you’re considering are required to be on parasite prevention medications before you drop your dog off. The last thing you want is to have to contact a local pest control company because your dog brought home fleas.
3. Consider Obedience Classes
A great resource that you may want to ask your vet about, or for that matter your doggy daycare provider, is obedience classes. If you feel like your dog is getting out of hand, you still may not know exactly how to fix their issues. Perhaps you simply don’t have the time to do so. There are several options that you can consider as far as obedience classes are concerned. Basic obedience is the beginning for most dogs, and despite the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you can certainly train a dog at any point in its life. You can either go to obedience classes yourself with your dog, or you could potentially have your dog sent away to a boarding kennel for a few weeks to be professionally trained. The latter option is often more expensive, but it frequently yields great results and can be easier for you to balance with raising a child and maintaining your life.
Another thing you may want to consider is getting your child involved with training your dog if they are old enough. Children love pets, and it can be quite beneficial for your child to take responsibility for helping you train your dog. The reality is that if you’re having trouble with balancing your personal life, caring for your dog, and raising your child, your child could possibly need to work on their behavior as much as your dog does. Working on your dog with obedience classes, with parental supervision, could help your child take on a level of responsibility, allowing them to learn valuable life lessons. Furthermore, once your dog is properly trained, your child can take pride in the results of their work. This is a great way of showing them that hard work and dedication can make a real difference, and will hopefully help them grow up a little.
4. Seek Academic Help For Your Child
As previously mentioned, balancing your life with raising your child and taking care of your dog goes beyond just addressing your dog. One of the biggest stress points for parents with children is their children;’s academic life. Many kids struggle with school. Sometimes, this can be linked to learning disorders or issues like ADD or ADHD. If you feel like your child’s issues in school go beyond choosing to not pay attention, you may want to get in touch with a psychiatrist that specializes in pediatrics. Your child’s doctor may be able to diagnose them and prescribe medications that will help them focus more on school, and perhaps even address other behavioral issues. Of course, sometimes, this isn’t quite the issue that your child is dealing with. But it’s always worth talking to professionals if you have concerns.
Another thing to consider if your child is falling behind in school is getting a tutor. Parents often feel as if their children’s academic issues can only be resolved by them on their own. But the reality is that you may not be the best person to help your child deal with academic challenges if you yourself haven’t been to school in quite some time. A professional tutor may be readier to deal with academic issues, and for that reason, we highly recommend turning to a professional tutoring service. When a tutor comes from a professional tutoring service, they are much readier to handle academic problems than tutors who haven’t been properly trained and vetted. You can trust a professional tutor to help your child work on their academics while at the same time taking a little bit of pressure off of you as a parent.
5. Get Your Child Involved In Extracurricular Activities
We hate to compare pets to children; but in a lot of ways, a dog is like a child. Just as your dog may benefit from doggy daycare to help it channel some of its excess energy in a positive way, your child may benefit from extracurricular activities. Every child has different interests, and therefore not every child is going to turn to athletic extracurricular activities in order to channel their energy positively. But many kids do benefit from joining a team or a club of some kind, as this allows them to really focus on something, rather than getting bored and acting out. You may want to consider asking your child about what they would be most interested in. Some kids are hesitant to begin extracurricular activities, and they may have to try several different options before they settle on the right one. Starting with gymnast classes could ultimately lead to your child deciding that they would rather get into theater club, for example.
There are several other benefits to your child trying extracurricular activities. For one thing, it can allow them to become more well-rounded and make friends that they would otherwise be unable to meet. For another, if they decide to pursue their new passions for the long term, they may be able to add them to future college applications, giving them a bit of an edge over other applicants that they might be competing with. Another great thing about extracurricular activities, however, is that they allow you to spend some time focusing on yourself. This leads us to our next point…
6. Take Time For Yourself
Yes, one of the best ways that you can balance raising a child with taking care of a dog is just through finding time for self-care. Taking even an hour out of your day to take care of yourself first is so important. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money on these activities, either. Just taking the time to read a book, or soak in your bath, or even take a walk can make a big difference.
of course, you won’t be able to do any of this is if you don’t reach out for help first. Make sure that you don’t become overly self-reliant. Much of our advice has hinged on reaching out for resources from others, whether those others include your local veterinarian, your child’s tutor, those running a doggy daycare, or someone offering extracurricular activities for your child. There’s a reason for that. If you take advantage of the help that is offered to you, it will be much easier for you to get revitalized. If you’re taking better care of yourself, you will be able to take better care of your child and your dog.