Should you get a puppy while pregnant?
The short answer is no. No, you should not!
Of course, if you’re searching this question, you’re probably like me and you’ll just get the puppy anyway!
Personally, having a new puppy around while I was pregnant was no big deal at all.
We already had one dog, and I felt good during my pregnancy. I was able to walk the two dogs every day and continue to be the primary dog-care person.
The real struggle happened once our baby was born.
There is just so much change when you have a newborn! Having a puppy or young dog in the house adds even more stress!
I’ll share the pros and cons of getting a puppy while pregnant and why I would not make that choice again.
That being said, I love my second dog and we are doing well with Rip in our family! If you do get a puppy while you are pregnant, I’m sure you will make it work too.
Benefits of getting a puppy while pregnant
1. Your puppy and baby will grow up together.
Of course, you could wait and get a puppy when your kid is 4 or 5 years old and they can still grow up together.
But, it is pretty special when your dog and baby are around the same age.
I actually found out I was pregnant the very day I brought my yellow Lab puppy home. Surprise!
Though we’d been trying to have a baby for about a year, Nature likes to remind us that she is in control and has her own timelines.
I had planned to have our baby first and then get our puppy. But the 18-month wait period for a puppy went by and still no baby.
It was a fun surprise to get a positive pregnancy test about 30 minutes after I brought our puppy home!
Doing the quick math, I realized our Lab puppy would be 10 months old on my due date.
Let the chaos begin!
2. Your baby and puppy might be best friends.
Now that my baby is 10 months old and my Lab “puppy” is 20 months old, they do have a special bond already.
My baby crawls over to Rip and gives him “hugs.” Rip loves to lick my baby in the face, hands or feet which makes my baby giggle and smile.
Whenever my baby is awake, Rip is close by watching over him. And Rip would love to sleep in the baby’s room if I would let him. I plan to let them sleep in the same room when the baby is a little older.
I can see that they are going to be best friends.
Again, you could get a puppy when your child is 4 or 5 years old and they would still be best friends!
And, there’s never a guarantee your puppy is going to even like the baby.
I assumed our Lab would love having a baby around since this is common for their breed and our breeder specifically raises their Labs to be good family dogs.
This turned out to be correct. Rip is extremely gentle with our baby and seems to enjoy having the baby climb all over him.
3. A puppy prepares you a bit for the newborn baby stage.
But not really.
I don’t agree when people say things like, “Oh a puppy is just like having a baby, they’re so much work!”
No, not even close.
I’ve been through both the new puppy stage and the newborn baby stage within the last 18 months and they do not compare!
You can’t just lock your baby in a crate and leave for a few hours. See ya!
There are a few small similarities between getting a puppy and having a baby.
For example, I got up in the middle of the night to take my puppy outside for a potty break every night. I did that for about 6 weeks!
Ten months later I was up in the middle of the night, every night, feeding my new baby.
When I got a puppy, I kept his crate right next to my bed for the first month.
Guess what? That’s exactly where our baby’s bassinet would be 10 months later.
My puppy would wake me up with polite little grunts or whimpers when he needed to go potty at 2am.
Ten months later, my newborn woke me up with polite little grunts or whimpers when he needed to eat.
(Neither one of them are quite so “polite” when expressing their “needs” these days.)
I suppose, if you’ve never had a dog before and you and your partner are not used to taking care of anyone but yourselves, then a puppy would be good practice.
But “practicing for a future baby” is a terrible reason to get a puppy. Haha! You should actually want a dog in your life and all the responsibilities that come with it.
4. If you get a puppy while pregnant, you’re making a point to continue your life as normal.
I’m the dog person in the family, and we would’ve gotten that second dog at some point, with or without a baby.
By getting on a waiting list for a puppy without knowing when I would get pregnant, I felt like I was in “control” of my life and continuing on with my life as normal.
I had big plans to compete with my dogs in agility and to run canicross and marathons with them and to go hunting every fall. These things will continue on now that I have a baby.
If dogs are part of your lifestyle, it makes sense to consider getting a puppy while you’re pregnant if you think you can handle this huge challenge.
Reasons not to get a puppy while pregnant
1. Caring for a puppy is more difficult when you have morning sickness.
I was nauseous with morning sickness for a few weeks, and of course morning sickness lasts all day long.
This was right during prime puppy time when Rip was 8-12 weeks old and needed lots of potty breaks and attention!
I managed to take my puppy outside in the middle of the night for his potty breaks, even while feeling sick, but this is something to keep in mind!
It definitely helps if you are NOT the primary dog person in the family.
But if you searched this topic and you’re reading this … you’re probably the dog person, like me.
So, good luck!
2. You might not be able to walk your puppy while pregnant.
I was able to stay active during my pregnancy, but that is not the case for everyone. And, even though I was walking my dogs every day, I was still big and awkward!
If your puppy is a strong puller, as most older puppies are, this adds extra challenges. Your balance might be off while pregnant and if it’s winter, it’s easier to slip on the ice.
Puppies need a lot of exercise! So if you’re not able to walk your puppy while pregnant for whatever reason, it’s best to have a plan in place for how the puppy will get exercise.
I took my puppy to dog daycare once a week and that helped us out a lot! He came home tired afterwards and it was also nice to have a break from him during the day.
3. You’ll need a plan for dog care when you go into labor.
We ended up sending our 10-month old puppy to a board and train program with his breeder a few weeks before my due date. That way, our pup would be getting hunting dog training for a couple of months while we adjusted to our new life. This worked out great!
While you probably won’t have a convenient board and train option for your puppy, you’ll want to plan in advance for a friend or family member to watch your dog or to drop him off at a boarding kennel, if needed.
For our older dog Remy, we ended up leaving him home when we headed to the hospital at 4am.
We arranged for a friend to pick him up a few hours later and take him to the dog boarding facility we’ve used several times. Thank you, Heather! It was such a relief not to have to worry about my dog.
I also gave the boarding facility a heads up a few weeks in advance letting them know my approximate due date. That way they were aware a friend might be dropping off our dog.
This is especially important if your due date is around a busy time for the pet sitter or boarding facility such as spring break (in our case), Christmas or busy travel times like Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.
Our boarding facility made sure to keep a spot open for Remy, which I really appreciated.
For more, see our article on how to prepare your dog for a baby.
4. A puppy is a lot of extra work once your baby is born.
Every pregnancy, labor and newborn are different, but they are all hard in a lot of ways!
I had no problem doing all of the puppy care and training while I was pregnant.
But once I had my baby, it took me a lot longer than I thought to recover.
My husband, of course, picked up the slack with most of the dog care, which we both assumed he would need to do.
But since I am the primary dog-care person in our family, this was a big adjustment for all of us.
For example, I wrongly assumed I’d be physically able to walk the dogs again within a week or two after my baby was born.
Instead, I needed a full 6 weeks before I even attempted a walk with a dog.
It took me two months before I could walk my dog for even 1 mile! This is just not enough exercise for a big, active breed.
You can read about my dog mom guilt after having a baby here.
5. You’ll have less time for training your puppy
I had basically no free time after my baby was born, so making time for training my puppy took a huge commitment.
Puppies and young dogs usually need a lot of work on basic obedience and manners for a good 18 months, at least that’s the case for my sporting breeds (a weim and a Lab).
We used a lot more “management” than “training” after our baby was born.
For example, the dogs spent more time in their crates with Kong toys to chew on when they would try to steal baby burp cloths and clothes.
And when someone came to visit the baby? The dogs went in their crates again vs. trying to get them to behave around our guests.
My dogs were also used to going to agility and obedience classes, and that took a long pause after I had my baby.
I still made a point to practice with them on my own, with the baby along. But overall I spent a lot less time training my dogs and that’s still the case now that my baby is almost 10 months old.
Is it better to get a puppy before or after baby?
I think it’s better to get a puppy either a year or more before your baby is born or a couple of years after the baby is born.
Don’t do what I did and get a puppy within the same 12-month period that your baby is born!
But if you do, I think it’s better to get the puppy first so that you’re not doing potty training while you have a newborn, an older baby or a toddler.
I was letting my puppy out 12 or more times a day for potty breaks and that would’ve been extra hard while carrying a baby every time or worrying if the baby was OK in his bassinet for a few minutes.
Should you get a puppy while pregnant?
I really don’t recommend this for anyone, but now maybe you have a better idea on the amount of work and commitment it takes to have a baby and a puppy at the same time!
It’s not impossible and many people do it every year. It’s just never going to go as smoothly or as easily as you hope, so having some plans in place ahead of time should help.
Did you get a puppy while pregnant? Or are you thinking about getting a puppy while pregnant?
If so, let me know in the comments below. It helps to hear others’ experiences.