Charming Ways Dogs Are Just Like Having Kids
There’s a reason we call our dogs “fur babies.” Even though they are (obviously!) not our genetic children, plenty of proud dog owners feel as if their four-legged companions are as much a part of the fam as any human additions that might come along.
Along with all the benefits of having a fur baby, however, is all the work and responsibilities that go into caring for a pet. Like having children, the decision to care for a dog changes how you plan your days, weeks, months, vacations, holidays, work schedule — everything. Not only do you need to make sure you have the resources to care for them, but you also need to make sure you have the time.
It’s no easy task, but caring for something is totally rewarding and worth the effort. And if you’re not yet ready to plunge into the world of parenting children (who undoubtedly require much more overall care), you may want to start by first caring for a dog. While there are plenty of differences, there are actually a ton of adorable ways that having dogs is very similar to having kids to which both dog owners and parents can relate.
You Need to Budget for Them
Both dogs and children are not cheap. Though having dogs may seem like it’s an easier choice than having children, they require money for basic needs, vet bills and everyday expenses. And that’s not even considering the value of time you’ll need to to spend ensuring their needs are met.
Both dogs and kids require exercise, playtime and lots of attention (not to mention space to run around). There will always be surprises and things you didn’t plan for, but preparing yourself mentally and financially will help you to be the best dog (or real) parent possible.
You Love to Show Off Pictures of Them
Whether your baby is furry with four legs or has your same hair color, you can’t help but excitedly show off pictures of how incredibly adorable they are. Both dog and kids have the distinct ability to pull off some of the cutest poses on the planet that you’re simply desperate to show off to anyone who might be willing to look.
And sometimes, you just want to show people a picture of them looking completely normal because somehow their normal face is still the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.
You See Them as Your Own
Although some people may not be on board with the idea of dogs being “fur babies,” there’s scientific evidence that we actually see them the same as our own children. A study showed that both dogs and children evoked similar responses in human mothers.
Basically, women who saw pictures of their dogs had similar brain activity as when they saw ones of their children. And that activity did not occur when they saw pictures of random dogs or children. In other words, the love and bond we share with our dogs creates similar responses as how we love and bond with our children.
Their Birthday Parties Are Particularly Adorable
Throwing a birthday party for both children and dogs is a guaranteed way of making you and your lucky attendees smile. Both dogs and kids are pretty happy to be with friends and play. And both of them smile adorably in party hats as they devour cake made especially for them.
Plus, if you bring along some of their friends, you’ll get lots of pictures and memories everyone will remember and enjoy for years. And you might even wear out your little loved one so much that they get a good night’s sleep (giving you the gift of the same).
They’re Both Generally Slobbery
Let’s get real about raising babies and fur babies for a moment: There’s a lot of mess. Between the poop cleanups and random puke — what could they possibly have eaten?! — there’s always something that you have to just embrace and clean up.
And they both tend to be covered in some sort of goo, whether it’s from a slight cold or because they decided to lick their paws for an hour before you came home. Both dogs and kids require you to get over any holdups you may have about touching gross stuff and enjoy the fact that they live life to its fullest and its messiest.
They Thrive With Routines and Boundaries
There’s plenty of literature reminding new parents that children do better when they’re given clear boundaries and regular schedules. And the same is true for dogs. When they have some predictability in their life in terms of their daily routine, then they can better understand the expectations others have for them as they interact in that life.
Being able to give your kids or your dogs a stable routine and provide them with healthy boundaries will make both types of babies thrive.
You’re Very Proud of Their Accomplishments
For both human and fur parents, the perpetual favorite topic of conversation revolves around their babies and what amazing (or miniscule) new thing they accomplished. Whether it’s sitting up on their own or learning to sit on command, there’s always something to celebrate.
And embracing the fact that you love to celebrate every little thing your little one does is yet another thing dog and human parents have in common.
They Communicate (Mostly) Non-Verbally
Eventually, human babies will learn how to talk in full sentences like the rest of their species, but for the first couple years of a baby’s life, they speak non-verbally just like their canine counterparts.
Not being able to say full sentences, however, doesn’t keep dogs from effectively communicating with their humans. In fact, dogs are even able to pick up on lots of vocabulary and problem-solve like toddlers.
They Look Adorable in Outfits
If you’re looking to up your Insta-game, few things will attract more “awws” than a cute dog or cute baby in an adorable outfit made just for them.
But even if you just want to experience the adorableness in real life and not only in pictures, playing dress up with your dog or your kid is a sure-fire way to make your heart melt.
Their Cuteness Makes Your Heart Grow
Whether you choose to dress them up festively for special occasions or just let them wear their usual outfits (fur or kid clothes), the pride, love and joy you get from your little critter will continually surprise you.
And just when you think your heart can’t grow any bigger, they’ll go and do something that will make it beam even brighter. That’s part of the pay off for dealing with all the gooiness that comes along with them.
They Take on Your Personality
It’s no surprise that your own children may have elements of your personality within them. But it is sometimes surprising when your dog takes on parts of your personality, too. Whether they look like you or just share your aversion to Bird scooters on the street, there are all sorts of reasons your pup may take on parts of your personality.
They may pick up on you not liking something and decide that they also need to not like it. Or they may get loving vibes from someone in your life and feel those same good feelings towards that person. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty safe to say that both your kids and your dog will reflect parts of yourself.
They Need School (and Learn Quickly)
This need may be obvious for children, who pretty universally attend school. But the same need is true for dogs. All breeds need to be intellectually stimulated. And many of the smarter and more energetic breeds and mixes will actually become destructive to themselves or your home if they don’t get their mental stimulation.
A good training course, agility class or daily socialization will help dogs — just like kids — to better understand how the world works.
They’re Excellent Cuddlers
Duh! This one may feel like a given, but both kids and dogs are world-class cuddlers. They love to snuggle up and keep you (and themselves) warm after a long day of playing.
For both kids and dogs, cuddling is a chance to feel safe and bond with their parent. Plus, it releases good-feeling hormones such as oxytocin for everyone involved, making the entire experience pleasant.
They Prefer to Sleep With You
Both fur babies and regular babies are often given their own special place to sleep. But many of them prefer to sleep next to you with the rest of the pack.
Sometimes, they’re feeling nervous, sometimes they’re uncomfortable, and sometimes, they just prefer to cuddle with their parents than sleep in a bed by themselves.
Traveling With Them Becomes More Complicated
Traveling with a dependent, either furry or not, immediately complicates your plans. It’s totally manageable, and plenty of great products exist to help you get your dog (or kid) through the airport or on the road safely and easily. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t add at least a little stress to your general plans.
If you’re the type of person who likes to roll up just in the nick of time, you might want to prepare yourself for the inevitable roadblocks that come with bringing along another (adorable) living thing with you. Simply schedule in a little more time (and snacks, treats, cleaning supplies, extra clothes, regular food, toys and distractions) to your schedule.
They Force You to Be Very Responsible
Whether or not you agree that dogs deserve (or even need) many of the same things as children, there’s no denying that the decision to take care of a dog will make you a much more responsible human — just like the decision to care for a child.
Your priorities change and you have to embrace that your new reality includes caring for something that is completely dependent on you for its well-being. Sure, the levels of either depending on a kid or dog’s needs may vary, but you will have to choose to give more of your time freely to something that cannot pay you back except with love and appreciation. And, if you’re lucky, lots of slobbery kisses.