Erin is a mom of two and has been with Today’s Mama for ten years. She is charged with finding and sharing all of the wonderful things the web has to offer. She is particularly fond of food, photography, printables, and funny things. She writes about losing weight in her Healthy Living for Mom series, and is chronicling her attempt to master her DSLR camera with her series, Big Girl Camera.

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5 Reasons Why Taking Care of the Dog is My Kid’s Job

Spoiler alert: it’s not because I don’t like dogs or had to be coerced into adding a furry baby to the family.

We are dog people.



As a kid, it’s EASY to love a portable, adorable, puppy that your parents let you name after a Disney character (Jessie from Toy Story 2.) It can be harder for kids to stay interested once the puppy breath had faded.

My kids are 7 and 4. They are the perfect ages for taking care of our dog (with reminding and supervision) they share the following responsibilities:

  • Putting the Jessie in her kennel when we leave and letting her out when we return.
  • Helping clean up after the dog in the yard, this includes puppy mischief like digging holes, and cleaning up waste.
  • Training…but this can get out of hand if the 4 year old is holding the treats.
  • Feeding the dog at breakfast and dinner.

Our dog eats twice a day. We feed her at breakfast and again at dinner.

We’ve always been picky about the food we feed our pets and been somewhat militant about the “no people food” rule. It’s served us well, and my husband and I believe that our commitment to good nutrition has led to long lives of our previous two dogs— our boxer, Duke, lived to be 12, and our Alaskan Malamute, Juneau, lived to be 14.


(My old girl, on one of her last road trips.)

So we talk about the importance of feeding our 9-month old boxer, Jessie, healthy food A LOT because I’m positive that my 4 year old would share his fruit leather, orange juice, and any number of not-for-puppy food with her. I was happy to have our girl try Beneful Healthy Puppy with Real Chicken because it’s packed with tons of tastes and textures to nourish both inside and out and because Purina’s high standards for sourcing and manufacturing.

I can’t imagine my home without a dog in it, but I’m committed to my kids doing the heavy lifting when it comes to caring for her. I think it teaches kids some really important things…

1. This Dog is a Member of our FAMILY
A dog is a living, breathing member of the family. A family member cannot be cast off when you’re done playing fetch. They are included and underfoot, just like everyone else! By taking care of the dog, they learn that loving a family member is done through caring and providing for their needs. They reap the rewards of this relationship in a million different ways.

(Waiting for my daughter’s bus to arrive home from school.)

2. It Teaches Responsibility
By matching up Jessie’s feeding time with our breakfast and dinner, it’s ensures that my kids are home to do it, and the task rests SOLEY on their shoulders. My daughter doesn’t get to skip feeding Jessie in the morning if time gets tight.


3. Dogs Bond with the Person That Provides for Them
Feeding Jessie is their job, from start to finish. They go outside for the bowl, they fill it up, and set it down for the dog. This is not lost on the dog.


4. Teaches Empathy
Feeding the dog has led to more proactive overall care for the dog by my kids. My daughter pays closer attention to the status of the water bowl, adds a blanket to the kennel when it feels chilly in the basement, and keeps an eye on her rambunctious brother when they get too rowdy.

5. It Teaches Patience
Our pup got spooked on a recent camping trip, wriggled out of her leash, and RAN LIKE THE WIND away from us. Long story short, my daughter has taken it upon herself to teach that dog to “stay” and after school she’ll open the pantry, stash a few treats in her pocket, and head outside to work with the dog. A key component is delicious treats — Jessie will happily head to her kennel or “stay” for Beneful Baked Delights.


P.S. THIS zip top seal at the top of the bag is my FAVORITE. Because you know what kiddos are great at? Spilling dog food all over the garage. This minimizes that bunches.


Beneful dog food brings your best buddy tons of tastes & textures to nourish both inside & out. For more information, please visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Beneful. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Comments (6)

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Reasons Your Next Pet Should be a Chicken (or Flock of Chickens) - TodaysMama

  2. jenifer cuttill 12/10/2015 at 9:46 am

    My routine is to give my dog his favorite treat when I wake up. then they get tummy & ear rubs.

  3. Nicole Hanvey 11/02/2015 at 4:59 am

    My dog is so funny. He can’t eat if I am not beside me. So he goes to his bowl, picks some up, brings it by me, drops it on the ground, then eats it!

  4. sheila ressel 10/31/2015 at 10:57 am

    Rodney knows when dinnertime is even if I don’t. He will come up to me every day at 4:30 p.m. with his ears pricked up and stare at me, sometimes pawing at me, until I pick up his empty bowl and fill it with food, all the while doing his happy dance until he swiftly empties the bowl again!

  5. Aleshia 10/25/2015 at 8:43 pm

    Our special routine consists of our Treeing Walker hound loudly proclaiming it is time for breakfast and dinner at the kitchen gate, while frantically wagging his tail. At which point, whoever is assigned dog duty for the week will feed him.

  6. Jenn 10/25/2015 at 8:39 am

    Our son is nearly 4 and learning how to take care of the dog, a corgi. He feeds hey most of the time and has her sit before she gets her bowl. She is learning to listen to and trust him.