10 reasons why getting a puppy when you’re pregnant is totally awesome

Guest post by Cat Neilson

My nickname is Cat, but I’m a dog person through and through. Comparable to a little boy’s knowledge of cars, I’m simply transfixed by all the different breeds and personalities of dogs. I can remember a babysitter once introducing me as “This is Cat, she knows more about dogs than anyone I know.” I was about nine at the time and was quietly surprised by the remark — didn’t everyone know about dog breeds?

My childhood pet collection ranged from hamsters to turtles to budgies but Oreo, our miniature poodle, was the center of my life. When he died (I was 20) I wept like I’ve never wept before. It was like losing a sibling. After university and moving away from home, I’ve not had the chance to have a dog again — renting flats doesn’t usually give you that option.

At seven months pregnant my husband and I decided we needed to fork out for the space and have moved into a rented house (with friendly landlords). The house is dilapidated but roomy, and there is a backyard. It’s in a quiet residential neighborhood near some woods and a large recreation ground. Ideal for kids…and ideal for dogs!

The backstory on getting my puppy while pregnant

I had seen the advertisement in the paper a few weeks earlier … “I’ll just drive over and have a look,” I said to myself. “If there is one thing wrong with the place, the people or the dogs I won’t get one.” Famous last words. A week later we came home with Roscoe.

My overwhelming desire to have a dog blinded me from all the reasons why I shouldn’t get one. Namely, being pregnant. “A baby and a puppy, are you crazy?!” was the response I got from several people. How would I manage a yapping puppy and a crying baby? How would I walk the dog and the buggy? How would I stop it from chewing the baby?

These questions bounced off me as if I was encased in an invisible happy bubble. “I. Don’t. Care.” And that’s really the overriding factor to getting a puppy while pregnant. You don’t care, because you are so focused on the puppy, totally high on re-directed maternal hormones, that you don’t even think about the baby. Which brings me to this:

Top 10 reasons why getting a puppy while pregnant is actually not such an insane idea:

  1. Good practice: Puppies need to be let out in the middle of the night to pee, they need feeding, stimulation, grooming, fussing, training – the list goes on. You’re constantly up and down providing for the puppy. It’s great practice for interrupted sleeps, patience and setting a routine. Their needs are very similar to what a baby demands.
  2. Distraction: If you are worried about pregnancy and becoming a mother, having a puppy will distract you from all that. You will forget you are pregnant entirely because you’ll be busy with the puppy.
  3. Exercise: Puppies and pregnant women are the perfect match in levels of fitness. Puppies shouldn’t be walked too much because their joints and bones are still soft and forming. Two twenty minute walks a day is sufficient – also the perfect amount for a pregnant woman and it gets you out even when you’re feeling super tired.
  4. They sleep a lot: Yes puppies can jump about and get excited, but for most of the day they sleep. You’ll still have time to obsessively clean your house before the baby comes.
  5. Trainability: Puppies follow their new human parents around like lambs to ewes. They are playful and unsure about life, but really want to please you. Now is the ideal time for training and setting the rules. If you set boundaries and rules now, the puppy will respect them and grow up to be a well trained adult dog.
  6. Friends for life: Your baby and puppy will grow up together as if they were siblings. Your baby won’t be afraid of dogs and will learn about caring for animals. Likewise, the puppy will grow up looking up to the baby as if he were the baby’s minder.
  7. Spare time: For the first month (at least) puppies really need to be in your company. They shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time, so if you are on maternity leave you’ll have the spare time to spend with the puppy. And after the birth, you’ll be at home with the new baby and dog.
  8. Mothering: I am positive the pregnancy hormones in my body are making me sing lullabies to Roscoe. I can’t help but cuddle and brush him, or settle him down when he is in a strop (“chew time is over!’). The puppy definitely brings out those hidden mothering skills you never knew you had.
  9. Prepares the father/partner: Fathers-to-be benefit from having a puppy because they’ll get their first dose of feeling neglected while you spend all your energy and thoughts on the puppy. They also must deal with things like poo clean up, disruption when trying to simply watch TV or read the paper, new noises, laying down “the law”(no jumping up, no biting, teaching commands, etc), as well as gratification from witnessing their cuteness.
  10. New role: When the baby comes, suddenly there’s a new priority in your life – you are no longer number one. The baby’s needs come first, end of story. You get the same feeling with a puppy. If it needs to go to the vet, you take it straight away. If it needs special food, you buy that special food even if it’s expensive. Being 100% concerned for the welfare of someone else 24 hours a day is a new but nice feeling.

I am now due any day and Roscoe is four months old. He was the best decision I ever made and my husband thinks so too. We have no concerns about raising Roscoe with our baby because he brings us such happiness. There’s a niggling worry that I might not love the baby as much as I love Roscoe, but I hear the bond between mother and child (human child) is stronger than any other. However, a friend of mine has bought me a cuddly poodle costume for the baby…just in case.

Comments on 10 reasons why getting a puppy when you’re pregnant is totally awesome

  1. Love it! Getting a puppy is also a good strategy if you’re aching for a baby but don’t yet have the proper finances/living situation/partner.

    My mother refers to my 8 month-old puggle mix as her “grandson”.

  2. Not puppies, and not while pregnant, but we inherited two dogs when my daughter was just a couple months old. My father in law passed away just before Emerson was born, but there was a few months where those poor pooches were passed from home to home and not wanted. Though we have a small home, a newborn, and already have an old dog, we had to adopt these pooches. I thought it was perfect because I was feeling maternal, they were feeling displaced and confused. They were stressed, I spent a lot of time on the couch nursing and napping with baby, and a dog or two sleeping around my legs, realizing this was a safe, calm new home for them. It also helped them get used to our daughter – from a squirming but pretty still newborn into becoming a curious and active toddler. They have grown with her and know when to play, when to back off, when to protect.

  3. YAY for this article!!! I got told all the time I was crazy for buying my puppy the second I got out of university and less than a month before I got pregnant.

    Honestly all the reasons you listed are so true, it has been an amazing experience for both myself and my fiance (who has never had a pet before). We get to practice the late nights, the midnight wakeups and even a whole lot of throwing up and nursing our sick puppy back to health (day and night) after a mild bout of parvo….and you can bet that we bought a darn expensive bag of food for her when she started eating again.

    Brunswick has been amazing “practice” for both of us, and with her incredible loyalty to us and our families, I know she will grow to watch over our little one. 🙂

    • I am currently 23 weeks and we just got a 6 week old puppy.. I know that he’ll eventually calm and he’ll be a good addition. But he is driving me up the wall.. it’s a pain getting up and down WHILE pregnant. I know this is good practice, but the practice is killing me. Cleaning his pee and poo makes me super neasous and his serious amounts of energy are a lot to handle. What are some good tips for helping him and I adjust??

  4. I wanted a puppy so bad during my pregnancy. My husband thought I was crazy. We didn’t end up getting a new puppy, which turned out to be the right decision for us–I was sick, we already have a great dog (who requires a lot of attention), and we didn’t really have the space. But I’m totally going to make him read this article just so I can say “I told you so!” Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hey Cat! What kind of pooch is Roscoe?

    Methinks he might be a Bedlington Terrier?

    We had ours, Dave, from puppyhood until January of this year, and miss him dearly.

  6. I love this article and all the reasons on why getting a puppy while pregnant are all so very true. I’m a happy mom of a three month old little girl and a seven month old bulldog. When my fiance and I finally moved in together we decided that we were going to try to rescue a bulldog. We put in the application for the rescue group right before I found out I was pregnant so that was obviously not in the application. Finding out I was pregnant didn’t waver the fact that we still wanted a dog. About 5 1/2 months later they called us up to schedule a visit to check out place. At this point I was obviously showing and when the lady came she said that they didn’t feel comfortable placing a dog with us because we were expecting. That it would be to much of a hassle on us with the baby and a new dog and that we would probably dump the dog back in the shelter. This obviously made me mad and we ended up finding someone local.

    When we got the dog same story over and over… You’re crazy for getting the dog. How will you manage your time between the dog and baby? The dog is going to be too much for you. The dog is going to chew on the baby…

    I’ll say one thing though. It was a bit hard in the beginning managing my time between the two of them but now we have a solid routine down. I can’t see my life without the little guy. And FYI: Dealing with dog poop made dealing with baby poop a breeze.

    • Hi – I am currently 4.5 months pregnant, due in December. We would be getting our dog in October when he/she is 16 weeks of age. It will have been in a puppy boot camp for about 8 weeks prior to coming home. I will therefore be in my third trimester by the time the dog comes home. It will help that he has training started but am I crazy? May I ask what routine ended up working for you? Did your husband have to help with a lot of the walking and training? I fear that taking the dog for a walk or to pee with a newborn will be difficult if I don’t have help. I live in a Condo building so unfortunately other than a balcony I don’t have a backyard for the dog. The condo itself is fairy large though. Any advice appreciated. Thank you!

  7. We did have our puppy for a couple of months before I got pregnant (we planned for the puppy, not the baby!) and I was worried about having to deal with both during pregnancy and when the baby came. But my dog ended up being such a wonderful companion during pregnancy, especially these past couple months…luckily, she’s a snuggler! Yes, there were some struggles when it came to training (stubborn puppy + cranky preggo = patience wore VERY thin at times…) but the good still outweighed the bad. I’m not sure I would have planned it this way but it turned out just fine, especially since she’s more of an adult dog now and is a little more independent. Plus I love the fact that they will grow up together and learn from each other.

  8. I think if you’re committed to making it work, then getting a puppy while pregnant(or when you have an infant) can be great! They can grow up together, and they’ll have a great bond. Unfortunately, a lot of people are NOT prepared or just don’t care, and thousands of dogs are dumped in shelters because of it. I even see adult dogs which a family has had for YEARS being dumped because of a new baby. It’s all rather depressing.

    • Agreed – only do this if you are 100% committed to NOT throwing the dog back in the shelter b/c you’re “too busy with the baby” or whatever. Make sure it’s not just filling a temporary emotional need, but something you ARE going to stick with for the next 6, 10, 15 years.

      Any concerns about dog/baby safety should be brought up before you acquire the dog. Just make sure you have done your research and explore all options for making sure both parties are safe from picking up/biting/chewing each other (yes, dog needs to be safe from the baby too!).

      If you’re ready for the (BIG) responsibility of taking on a dog and its needs, then there are plenty who need homes! 🙂 It’s wonderful to adopt a dog, no matter what stage of life you are in.

      ~Just in case if ppl need some resources: you can go to http://www.petfinder.com/index.html , and http://www.adoptapet.com/ .

      Also – remember that there are older dogs who need homes too, not just puppies. Many of the older dogs are already great with kids!! 🙂

      • I am currently 23 weeks and we just got a 6 week old puppy.. I know that he’ll eventually calm and he’ll be a good addition. But he is driving me up the wall.. it’s a pain getting up and down WHILE pregnant. I know this is good practice, but the practice is killing me. Cleaning his pee and poo makes me super neasous and his serious amounts of energy are a lot to handle. What are some good tips for helping him and I adjust??

    • This really gets to me too! Using a dog (or cat) for a practice baby is fine as long as you keep the pet too. Dogs and cats are not JUST practice babies – you should only get one if you intend to keep it for life.

    • I was EXHAUSTED by how many people told us that we’d stop loving our dog once the baby came. It seems that it’s so common that people do “you’ll seeeeees” about it.

      I’m happy to report that our dog gets even MORE attention now that the baby’s here … my husband or I are almost always home caring for Tavi, so our dog has a lot of company. The baby needs to get outside even more than the pup, so we take three walks most days.

      This is all to say: it’s tragic that so many people fall out of love with their pets after babies come. And I’m so glad my experience has been quite the opposite.

      • I’m totally looking forward to being pregnant/having a young baby, and the chance to get to stay home with my lab too. He will LOVE someone being home all day, and all the extra walks.

  9. Probably a good thing I didn’t read this earlier – We have one high-energy 2-year-old pup and I’ve been wanting a puppy to be his friend all year… but put it off once I became pregnant. I kind of can’t imagine dealing with puppy things while super pregnant but then again puppies are so very cute and awesome that I probably wouldn’t have minded. Great post!

  10. We have the opposite story: I’m 7 months pregnant, and friends keep telling us to “Get a puppy!” and I say “Are you crazy?”

    Haha!

  11. We have been wanting a dog for years now, and on our one year wedding anniversary last summer we wanted to get one, and name it “Paper”, as the traditional one year wedding anniversary gift. We were also trying to get pregnant and my ever practical husband thought it would be too much. We ended up getting pregnant after five months, then miscarried after three months, and ended up back again, at our two year anniversary this summer, and I thought, “now we should get a dog.” We both knew we wanted to try again, and I also knew that putting off doing things (including getting a dog) because of our plans to have kids was making the whole fertility/miscarriage/process much more stressful for me. So, on our two year anniversary we adopted a lovely 6 month old mixed mutt puppy. We had the paperwork in for her, though hadn’t picked her up, when we found out I was pregnant. In some ways, that increased my desire to get her, sort of as an insurance against another potential miscarriage. I will admit that my hubby did most of the care the first few months because I was either throwing up, nauseous, or astoundingly tired, but now I am into the second trimester, she has some basic commands down, and she is a dear. Like all rescue dogs, she has some stubborn and bizarre issues that we are slowly working through, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything. And since we didn’t think “Cotton” was as good of a name, we named her “Paper” anyways. 🙂

  12. the baby vs pets question has been on my mind so much! We have 3 cats and a rescued greyhound and we are going to start trying to get pregnant soon. With all the reports of animals ending up in shelters due to “New baby” I was seriously wondering – “Is it really that hard to care for some pets and a baby?” like “Is is impossible?” nothing would make me give up my current “babies” so thanks for answeing my question and putting my mind at rest.

    • Hard yes, but definitely not impossible. It changed one of our cats from being a complete hater to being a snuggly baby watcher. There are hurdles but work out a plan and you can make it work.

  13. Cat, you are like my dog-loving sister. I have always been obsessed with dogs. In fact, I have had a few dogs get me through the hardest times of my life. And since I was a child, I’ve been up on the latest training techniques, dog sports (agility, flyball etc.), and studied breeds. I have not had a dog for nearly 9 years because I haven’t lived in a place where I could have one and haven’t been stable enough, until now. We just had a home visit for a 1 year old shepherd cross who my husband and I are in LOVE with. I’m not pregnant yet, but I am curious about whether or not my urge to have a baby would fade once I have a dog. I’m still looking at this site, so that says something. Anyways, very inspirational piece, and from one dog lover to another, congrats on the new member of your family (new two members!).

  14. My dog birthed seven puppies when I was six months pregnant. There was a blizzard outside so they lived inside with us, in our bedroom closet. Then they got larger and we moved them to the living room and eventually we gave them the mudroom. Those little guys made so many messes but the frustration was so minor compared to the amount of love I felt for them, and I was in awe of my dog’s new role as a mother. I snuggled with all the puppies throughout the day every day (I wasn’t working – I was too sick to work while pregnant and was stuck at home most of the time. At least I had puppies!) and to this day all seven of them are snuggle bunnies. The one we kept adores my human family and my human family adores him. When my kids are older I would love to repeat the experience (sans being pregnant myself). Puppies bring so much joy to a home!

    • Same said for kittens, as well! My brother’s cats had kittens a few months ago (two of which are now my little rascals) and it was a wonderful experience for him, and his children in particular. All four kittens wound up becoming very social and very loving/affectionate from all the attention they got.

  15. We bought a weimaraner pup when I was about 4 months pregnant with our second baby. He’s grown up to be the most patient, caring dog. When the kids are sick, he takes turns with our older dog to lay near and watch them or try to snuggle with them. When the girls are in the yard, the dogs are right behind them. When the girls are playing in the lounge, the dogs nap in there and don’t mind when they get jumped on or squished. I can’t imagine not having both the kids and the dogs, and I also believe that my experience with animal ownership and working in a vet’s office prepared me for having our kids.

  16. My husband and I are crazy dog people, we LOVE them! All of them! We never coo over babies but every time we see a dog we both yell “puppy!!” and get huge goofy grins on our faces.

    We have currently have a 9 year old lab from a rescue shelter, a very feisty 2yo pugxshitzu and I’m 3 months pregnant. I totally understand the comment of maybe loving the dogs more than the babies!

    I agree that puppies/dogs are GREAT training for babies, not just in sleepless nights, training etc but also in learning to compromise in parenting styles. I’m the strict displine person and hubby is the softy that lets them get away with murder and spoils them rotten. Over the past 4 years raising the dogs, we’ve reached a middle ground which will be very important when the baby arrives!

    That being said, I totally wouldnt get a new dog while pregnant just because I am not a high enough energy person – but good luck to those people who are!!

    • Yes, to the discipline thing! My husband and I have cats and dogs, and we argue all the time on how best to discipline them/spoil them. It’s difficult, but I’m glad we’re working through this now instead of when we have kids.

    • I know this post is seriously old and it’s almost 2020….but I am 4 months pregnant with a beautiful 8 month old Cockapoo and I love her to pieces but she really is annoying and a handful to deal with…She is a very happy and playful dog which she makes me smile everyday but she has way too much energy…she is a high energy dog and I don’t think she is the right kind of dog for me but I love her and I’m keeping her…

      I know that when my baby is born a family member will take her in for the first few months…I can not relate to loving my dog more than my baby though…my baby is a blessing from God from my body…she is apart of me and will always come first…although dogs are apart of the family too…I just think maybe having more experience with dogs than kids is why you might love dogs more but with your own child the bond is incomparable to that with a puppy…it’s just different and stronger and nothing wrong with that…

      I hope everyone found a good balance with their furbabies as I will have too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! 2020!

  17. I agree with the main idea of the post, that dogs and young children can happily co-exist in a family, but I do wish the author had suggested adopting an older pup or young adult from rescue.

    An adult rescue dog is an excellent option for a young family because the rescue’s foster homes get to know the dog’s personality more clearly than you can assess a puppy’s personality, so you can see how well the dog does living with children and, if applicable, other dogs or cats. Additionally, an adult (or even a slightly older pup) is likely to be house-trained and have less intense needs for attention than a very young puppy. Plus, of course, you get the satisfaction of saving a life.

    As a previous commenter mentioned, Petfinder is a great place to begin your search, and, if you have a specific breed in mind, you can Google to find a breed-specific rescue in your area.

    Adopting a pet is a life-long commitment, and while a determined owner can make almost any situation work, taking your time to find the right match and adopt from a responsible source is always worth the effort.

    • I would agree with this (as I cuddle on the couch with our lovely “Paper”). When we were looking for a dog on Petfinder, it was so nice to be able to specify whether you wanted the dog to be friendly with kids, dogs, cats, etc. Although she had (and still has) some training issues, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. For me, this was really important, especially as we knew we were still planning to have kids.

    • I have to disagree with you about shelters and rescues. Many will NOT give a dog or cat to a family that is expecting or has an infant. Similarly I had been turned down several times for animal adoption due to being single young and childless. I was trying to adopt a parrot as a companion for my blue front amazon and was told point blank that as soon as I have a child I would get rid of both birds. This nonsense is soooooo common in our culture, we have forgotten that just a few generations ago women had livestock and children and somehow managed. (20 weeks pregnant and sharing a home with one cat, one parrot, 4 hens, and a pair of breeding rabbits, and no one is headed for the animal shelter anytime soon)

  18. I had a baby girl at home in a waterpool on September 3. It was a fast and smooth birth and Roscoe was in the room outside barking away when he heard me moan through the pushes. My husband and doula were saying to me ‘Roscoe is cheering you on’. Baby Clara is very loved, so my worries of loving Roscoe more have been put to rest (although I would say I love them equally, he’s Clara’s naughty brother :)). Roscoe is teething, but very respectful of Clara’s space. I think he knows she is my ‘puppy’. He walks calmly beside us when she’s in the pram and gets way more attention on our walks from passers-by. ‘What a cute puppy! Oh, and there’s a baby too’. I’m very careful when the two are near each other, but good boy Roscoe hasn’t shown any signs of jealousy or aggression at all.
    Thanks for all your comments. Dogs are so fulfilling, they give you back so much love. For fellow dog lovers out there thinking about getting pregnant, raising a puppy and a newborn is doable.

  19. I love this! I haven’t had any babies, nor am I expecting any yet, but when we got our mini Schnauzer pup I definitely felt some of the sleep-deprivation/loss of total freedom/responsibility for a little soul’s life/total looove for my Zuzu that you’re talking about! Also, Roscoe is gorgeous… let poodles be fluffy, that’s what I say!

  20. I’m 24 weeks pregnant and would LOVE to get a puppy! I’he had the obligatory objections from friends and family but know that as a stay at home mom a puppy wouldn’t be much of a difference from my daily routine. We lost our 7 year old chocolate lab, Hank last month, our girls are devastated, myself included! I’ve cried for weeks now. I was hoping a puppy would give my 5 year old some responsibility as far as feeding him, we also have 3 acres of land for a dog to run! So glad there are people who think the same way 🙂

  21. I’m so glad I ran across this! I was wanting a puppy long before I got pregnant (now 18 weeks), and I just came across an older puppy at a rescue that seemed to meet everything on my wishlist – size, temperment, and friendliness with kids and cats (as stated by his foster mom – and we have a 1 y/o kitty)! People think I’m crazy b/c I’m pregnant and a student, but other than that I’m now a stay-at-home mom who has a partner who is wanting the dog just as much as I do, if not more!

  22. I thought my husband snuck on and wrote this this! These were all the reasons he listed for getting the puppy, who will arrive next week (baby in October). Luckily, Love isn’t finite. There is enough of us to go around for our two current daughters, the older dog, and the two new ones on the way.

  23. I am loving the pros, I am wondering what happened after the baby was born? My dog is a teenager now (1.5 yrs old) and she is more of a handful now than when she was a young pup. A baby at this age will still be very small, but with proper training the dog would probably mind it well. Please update as things progress!

  24. It sounded great, for all the reasons you mentioned. My wife is great with the dog. Me? Not so much. And sure enough, it was me taking care of the puppy while she got super pregnant. Despite obedience training, the dog is still impossible to control. And guess who is taking care of it all the time? Me. Who came home to feed and walk it instead of bonding with my daughter? Me. Who gets to deal with the pup while my wife and daughter are safely tucked away in the bedroom? Me. It is destructive by default, but without the proper attention by someone with experience with dogs, it is slowly becoming a vary bad dog.

    I used to have a life that I loved. Think long and hard about this decision people, and make sure you are BOTH prepared.

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