For many people in the UK, getting a pet is almost as much a staple of family life as getting married or having children.
But this doesn't mean that a great deal of time and consideration should be taken before a family gets a dog, as it is a big commitment to make.
Not only do you need to be sure that someone will always be available to walk your dog and put down its pet food, you'll also need to think about how any young children will interact with an animal and if you live in a suitable home for an animal.
As dog behaviourist Steven Havers notes, children will often nag their parents to buy them a pet, but the grown-ups must be prepared to be left with the work of looking after the animal.
"So the parents need to consider if they have the time to educate the dog and the children in how to behave around each other," he said.
"If the children are looking for a playmate, then getting a dog should be reconsidered, as dogs are not toys."