Parent to Parent: Choosing a dog for your family | Parenting | #parenting

Maybe first start by writing down some doable guidelines before making a choice. Do as much research as possible on the type of dog you are considering. For example, look into the size of the dog when fully grown, the normal activity level (as in, is the breed known to be especially energetic?) and maintenance and bills you can expect for teeth, coat, skin, grooming, dietary needs, vaccines, etc. If shedding is a concern, check into that as well; just remember that there are all kinds of products to help lessen or control it.

Sometimes, considering an older dog makes just as much sense, if not more, to get as a first-time pet, so be sure not to leave them out of the equation. They have already been through the puppy stage and many love and understand children, are housetrained, enjoy riding in the car, have experience with crates or doghouses, and so much more.

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email:, or go to, which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.

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