Kids begging for a puppy or a family dog? Maybe you have an empty spot in your home (or heart) that a four-legged friend might fill?

You’re not alone! From delicious cuddles on the couch to yellow piddle puddles on the floor, having a puppy is a wonderful, busy, happy and demanding time in a family’s life.

But before you decide on your new Fluffy, Fido or Wags, here’s what you need to know to make sure you make an informed decision. After all, as the saying goes, a pet is for life…

1.  “What is the right age for my kids to get a family dog?”

Technically there’s no right or wrong age but if you’re pregnant or have a newborn it’s probably not ideal. A puppy can be very demanding and if you’re about to enter a very busy and changing stage of life, a fur-baby might not get the attention it needs to settle in well.

If your kids are old enough to help with the responsibilities of day-to-day animal care and can understand being ‘gentle’, you’re probably better placed for a pup!

But whatever suits you is really what works – there’s no clear-cut answer here, only you can really know if you’re ‘ready’.

caring for pets - easy toddler chores

2. “What sort of dog should we get?”

You might have your heart set on a breed you’ve always loved (easy!) or you might have no idea what-so-ever (less easy!)!

The factors that you need to consider include:

  • Type of home you live in
  • Size of your garden/backyard
  • Whether you want an active or sedate dog
  • Size of the dog you want
  • How much time the dog will be alone each week
  • How much time you want to spend grooming
  • Who lives in your home (children, babies, grandparents, cats)

There are thousands of breeds so this can be an overwhelming decision! Be sure to do your research to make sure you get a canine who’s your perfect match. Also, be aware that the breed of dog might even affect your pet insurance premiums, so it pays to take your time researching.

grooming dog pet insurance3. “Will we buy or adopt?”

There are different avenues to take when buying your family dog. If you have your heart set on a new puppy of a specific breed, you’ll likely choose a breeder. Check they are reputable and members of the Kennel Club Association. A legitimate breeder will sell you your puppy with papers and allow you to see how and where the dogs live.

Of course, adopting a rescue dog is a wonderful thing and if you’re more flexible on what you want then absolutely explore what’s available at your local shelter. If you have a specific breed in mind but are open to a juvenile or older dog, there are also many breed-specific rescue organisations. These may get you closer to achieving both your rescue aspirations and canine breed preferences.

jobs we put off - worming the pets

4. “Will we get pet insurance?”

Once you’ve adopted a dog you’ll soon be giddy in love and suddenly see your pup as one of the family! That’s why when they are sick or an accident happens, it can be a very worrisome time – not to mention financially stressful!

From a lab with a bad tummy who ate the leg off the couch to the terrier that leapt from the steps after a ball and broke a leg … the reality is, accidents happen! Even to pets. This is where pet insurance can be a blessing. If your pup is in trouble, you’ll want the best pet insurance so that all you have to worry about is getting your fur-baby well again, not the vet fees.

pet insurance for injured dog

Petsecure is a great option for pet insurance. In fact, it is Australia’s longest standing pet insurer and with good reason.

The coverage is exceptional (85% of eligible vet bills with no excess up to $12,000 a year), you can keep your pet covered for life and their policies cover chronic conditions. There’s also a 14-day free look period and Mum Central readers can get a 10% lifetime discount.

If you are searching for the best pet insurance, take advantage of this great discount. Simply enter the promo code SURV15 when you get a pet insurance quote and you will receive 10% off your pet’s policy for life.

5. “When is the best time to get pet insurance?”

As soon as possible! The younger your pet, the less chance they’re going to have a pre-existing condition that may never get covered.

Plus, once your pet reaches eight years of age, insurance cover is limited to Accident Only for new policies. But as your pet ages, the higher the chance that you will need cover for illnesses that can crop up.

microchip children

6. “Do we have a secure space for a dog?”

This might seem like an obvious question but once you bring home a puppy it’s panic time if you haven’t secured your home. Puppy-proofing is a real thing so make sure you are ready to do it:

  • Check that boundary fences are in-tact
  • Cover open-railed fences that little pups might slip through
  • Consider baby gates if you want to limit pup’s access to your home
  • Ensure puppy has a safe shelter for sleep and play when you’re not home (probably not in your bed!)

children with a dog

7. “How will we train our new family member?”

Having a puppy can be a tricky time if you’ve never owned a dog before. What people fail to realise is that your furry bundle doesn’t arrive knowing not to chew on your favourite sneakers or pee on the Persian rug!

Puppy training requires commitment and kindness to bring a puppy smoothly and happily into your home. You can train a dog yourself if you have the experience, read a book or online tips, go to puppy school or hire an expert in to show you. Puppy school is a great way to learn as well as socialise your puppy with other dogs. Whatever method you choose, having a well-trained and socialised dog will make your dog-ownership a much more enjoyable experience!

8. “Are we ready to love something new? For a really long time?”

Okay, silly question but it’s got to be said! The thought of a puppy is alluring. Those little fluffy paws and big puppy dog eyes have tempted many adults into impulse decisions.

Having a dog can be the best decision you’ve ever made for your family, bringing you years of love, companionship, and sheer fur-covered joy! However, it’s important to put your puppy-loving-squeals aside for just long enough to really ask yourself, am I ready to make a 12-14 year commitment to an animal? To walk her, play with her, groom her, train her, feed her yummy dog treats and keep her healthy and happy?

If the answer is yes, then go for it! Have fun choosing your dog and planning for their arrival. This is a wonderful and exciting time for any family so soak up every minute!

two puppies cuddling pet insurance

This is a sponsored post for PetSecure.


Mother-of-two. Tea lover. Lego Ninja. Expert in carpet Play Dough extraction. Victoria Louis is a 30-something writer based in Sydney, NSW. A former marketing manager who loves to laugh there’s no topic she won’t explore. Victoria is full of opinion, big on kindness and believes the day is always better with a dash of lipstick.

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