Babies and dogs have a lot in common (poor toilet habits, drooly mouths, overwhelming cuteness and sense of unconditional love), so, after three kids, Becky Dickinson thought a puppy would be child’s play. And then she actually got one…

If you’re feeling broody, but tempted to introduce a four legged addition to your family, rather than go through another pregnancy, there are a few things to consider before taking the plunge…

TOILET HABITS                                       

Most children eventually learn to use the toilet, even if it takes them longer than the textbook 2.5 years. So it’s reasonably safe to assume that one day you’ll be able to stop spending most of your child benefit on nappies.

Your dog will crap where it wants for the rest of its life, which means you’ll be picking up warm poo for about 16 years… which means you’ll still be buying nappy bags when the kids are at secondary school.

Most annoying: dog

HEALTH

When your kids get sick, you can rely on the good old NHS to come to their aid, without having to worry about whether you can afford to eat for the rest of the month.

If your dog gets ill, you may need to sell the car, or your own grandma, to pay for the vet’s bill. Ker-ching. On the plus side, dogs get sick way less than children.

Most annoying: it’s a tie

TABLE MANNERS

You thought the kids were gross for eating sweets, or trodden-in raisins off the floor. If only they showed the same enthusiasm for broccoli and pureed sweet potato.

The dog eats anything from used sanitary towels, to other animal’s excrement and the entire contents of your neighbour’s dustbin. Oh, and broccoli – as the kids will quickly discover. Be prepared to stock up on extra nappy bags. At least he’s not a fussy eater.

Most annoying: dog

SLEEP PATTERNS

Newborns are hardwired to wake you up all through the night, making you wonder who on earth invented the phrase ‘sleeping like a baby.’ Clearly not a parent.

The dog on the other hand sleeps like a (fictional) baby all through the night. Be prepared to be rudely awoken by dog-breath and wet nose the moment it gets light though – which will of course be the time the actual baby is finally sleeping.

Most annoying: baby

EMBARASSMENT FACTOR

Remember the time(s) your toddler snatched a piece of Lego out of another kid’s hand at playgroup. At least they said sorry. Eventually.

That’s nothing compared to the time the dog barged you out of the way, leapt over a fence, and shot across the park so he could hump the bitch from down the road, while the owner looked on in fury.

Most annoying: dog

HOLIDAYS

Sunscreen. Check. Travel cot. Check. Calpol. Check. Favourite toy-that-they-can’t-sleep-without. Check. Spare favourite-toy-that-they-can’t-sleep-without, in case the first one gets lost. Check. Once you’ve got a baby, going away gets a whole lot more complicated. Although of course it’s lovely once you actually get there.

Unless you have an exceptionally well-behaved pooch, you may want to consider leaving it at home. In which case, do you a) spend a fortune on kennels, knowing the dog will pine pitifully in your absence? b) enlist a house-sitter and hope they don’t go through your knicker drawer or load the contents of your house into a van? or c) take the dog with you (assuming you’re not going abroad) and spend the time trying to stop him having intercourse with other dogs and stealing people’s chips and balls? Just like at home really.

Most annoying: dog

LOVE

Your children are your absolute world, but there are times you could do with a break, at least from the constant cycle of mess, crying, noise and laundry. You’d love a day to yourself, but even if that was possible, you’d only miss them like crazy.

The dog on the other hand never cries, only barks when there’s someone at the door, and doesn’t require cute outfits that get covered in yoghurt within 30 minutes of wearing. Ok, he smells a bit, he makes you pick up his poo, and he demands to go out even when it’s zero degrees or pouring with rain. But he can’t get enough of you. Just the sound of your voice, or the click of your key in the lock drives him wild with tail-wagging glee. He never has an off-day, is never tired or grumpy and he loves you unconditionally. Just like the kids.

Most annoying: neither *heart eye emoji*

@mushmums @allotmentmum