Have you ever wanted a dog but felt that you just don’t have the time or money? Maybe you’ve thought about getting a rescue or a puppy but you are worried about the huge commitment that having a dog entails?
In this modern age where the definition of a family unit is becoming more and more flexible, there is no reason not to consider co-parenting a canine friend. This is not just relevant for those considering this concept with a new dog, in some cases this happens without any prior planning. For example if a relationship breaks down and both parties want to have access to the family pet.
Co-parenting a dog can be a truly rewarding experience for everyone. It allows two households to benefit from the amazing companionship that a dog provides, whilst sharing both the cost and the responsibility. You don’t have to worry late finishes from work, you can eliminate the need for using kennels or expensive doggy day care services and you’ll always have someone to fall back on if the unexpected happens. Ultimately your dog will have two stable homes where it can receive double the care and double the attention. For those of you with doubts, believe me, dogs really do cope with this arrangement.
When co-parenting dogs the rules are simple. Communication and consistency is key and you just need to follow these basic tips in order to have a balanced doggy parent partnership.
• Have an established custody routine and be as flexible as possible particularly around the holidays.
• Be consistent with exercise regimes and timings. Remember once your dog is used to getting up at a certain time for a morning wee then it has to be maintained.
• Make sure you talk about medical expenses and costs and who is responsible for what. Everybody needs to know where to go for routine and emergency veterinary care. Agree on the microchip registration details too as one address will need to be the primary. You can register multiple contact details so this should not cause any problems should your dog become lost.
• Agree on the diet and meal times and be consistent-even down to the treats.
• House rules! Again consistency is key, dogs are adaptable but it is important you establish similar boundaries to avoid confusion.
Anyone who shares custody of a child will most probably recognise these tips since the principles are the same. If the logistics are ironed out from the word go and everybody is in agreement then you shouldn’t have any problems.
So double the joy with half the responsibility. Being a co-parent is dog ownership in the modern age!
Paul Manktelow regularly appears in the media as one of the UKs leading veterinary surgeons. His accomplished career as a vet allows him to talk on a number of key animal subjects and he regularly provides valuable advice to pet owners across the UK. Appearing on TV shows such as Junior Vets, Animal Madhouse and This Morning, he also writes columns for the Times, Dogs Monthly and blogs on his popular website Vital Pet Health