This article is sponsored by Mirum. All opinions expressed are my own.
Five summers ago, my boys started a campaign of epic proportions. They decided that our family should have a panda.
Yes, a panda bear.
The first few days were adorable…
Mom, can we have a panda?
Mom, I found a panda in China we could go get.
Mom, the panda can sleep in my room.
As the days, weeks and MONTHS continued, it got less and less cute. I found myself increasingly frustrated that multiple times a day I was saying things like…
It is illegal to own a panda.
We can’t go to China this summer.
WE CAN’T HAVE A PANDA!
It was the week before school started and we were all in the car. My middle son asked, “Mom, do you want to live a long time?”
Of course, honey.
“Well, I have been doing some research and people who own dogs live longer…and are happier!”
“I think we should get a dog.”
It sounded so reasonable.
The entire summer’s panda conversation had a purpose. I had been played. Well-played!
That night I started a search for a black and white French Bulldog. We found one a few days later that my husband and I went secretly to pick up.
It was a joyful day when the boys were introduced to Panda.
Choosing a Dog for the Family
Choosing a dog can be a big part of the fun. Our previous dogs (and cats) all came from the local shelter. Shelters these days are a magical place! They often have areas where you can spend time alone with the dog and find out about their temperament. Because we were looking for a specific breed, we talked to a friend who had one and did some research around our options close to home.
My advice: The reason why I wanted a frenchie was because we had owned English Bulldogs previously. I loved their personalities, but they were so large! When my youngest was a toddler, our bulldog, Abby, would accidentally push him down…not because she was aggressive, but because she didn’t know her own strength.
We also had an English Bulldog named Blossom who was 75 lbs. She was known for deciding half way through a walk that she was done. She would sit down in the middle of the sidewalk and no amount of pushing, pulling or begging would get her to budge. I vowed that a future dog would be the size that I could pick up in such a situation!
House Training a Puppy
Sometimes house training a puppy can rival potty training a challenging child! In both cases, you feel a little out of control and at the mercy of the little one.
My advice: Panda was not an easy puppy to train. It didn’t seem to “click” for her for several months. I used child labor to take her out frequently and we crated her when we were out of the house and at night. Her crate became her bed and safe spot that she will still go to willingly today. Be persistent and don’t give in. Eventually she did get the hang of it and hasn’t had an accident since!
Controlling Fleas & Ticks
Dealing with fleas and ticks is a normal part of being a pet parent! Because fleas and ticks can be present year round, even in colder climates, and can lay dormant for several months before hatching, it’s recommended to treat your pet each month throughout the entire year.
The easiest way to do this is with PetArmor® Plus which is now available at PetSmart – yay! Now when you are picking up all your other pet supplies at PetSmart, you can grab a three month’s supply of vet quality protection for less. This fast-acting, waterproof formula helps break the flea life cycle by killing flea eggs and larvae for up to 12 weeks as well as kills ticks that may transmit Lyme disease.
Save Money on PetArmor Plus
How to Apply PetArmor Plus to Your Dog
Applying PetArmor Plus is super easy, but should be done by an adult.
The package comes with three tubes connected together. Since these are three doses, you will want to separate one from the pack to get started:
- Clip off the end of the tube where the notches are (along the line) using scissors.
- Turn the tube upside-down over dog in between her shoulder blades and use the tip of the tube to part the dog’s hair.
- Squeeze firmly to apply all of the solution to the dog’s skin in that area.
- Keep treated pets apart from each other and children for 24 hours after treatment and until the product is dry. This helps prevent pets from ingesting the topical by licking or grooming one another.
If you would prefer that PetSmart apply your PetArmor Plus treatment, check out the limited time offer, “You buy it. We apply it.”! That makes it even easier.
My advice: I prefer PetArmor Plus treatment because Panda won’t take pills or medicine chews. Even if I crush it up and put it in peanut butter, she will spit out a molecule that has medication in it. This is so much easier!
Because our house is surrounded by woods, I also like that PetArmor Plus can be used for protection, prevention and/or treatment of fleas and ticks. This can help make sure that we don’t have an initial infestation, but if we do it can help eliminate a re-infestation.
Kids and Pet Chores
One of the reasons many families choose a pet is to teach kids responsibility. Kids can learn to take care of their pet and see how important that role is to the entire family.
My advice: In our house, chores include making sure Panda has food and water along with the boys are responsible to bathe her regularly. Since they are all teenagers now, this is completely within their skillset. At first, I would help and show them how to make Panda comfortable (and feel safe) in the water and how to make sure she was clean. Now they are able to accomplish this independently. I actually think they are better at bathing her than themselves!
Panda is Part of the Family
It is hard to believe Panda has been part of the family for only 5 years. I can’t imagine our home without her! I am so thankful that three boys got sneaky a few summers ago!