26 answers

Baby Vs. Pet

Hello moms.

So I'm new here but thought I'd jump right into the pit by asking a question that is driving me mad! My husband desperately wants a puppy. While I'm not necessarily opposed he also is wanting to give our son a little brother or sister. I'm trying to explain to him that we simply cannot do both, a baby and a pet, let alone the fact that one of them I will have to carry for 9 months!

Now I've always wanted a puppy as a teen but never had the chance. From what I've seen they are just as much as a responsibility- feeding them, washing them, loving them. While I would love to have another baby, I don't feel the timing is right at the moment.

Am I crazy for thinking a pet will be better than a baby right now? Also if we get a puppy and wind up pregnant will that be bad for the baby? I don't want him/her to get jealous and eat the new baby!!!


What can I do next?

Featured Answers

One tip for you: don't think of it as getting a puppy--think of it as getting the full grown dog.
I say this because you keep mentioning getting a puppy and wanting a puppy, but they're only puppies for a very short amount of time. Do you just want a puppy, or do you want a dog? :)

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Foster! Foster! Foster!

Sign up with one of your local animal shelters and check out the older dogs that are available. The shelter will level with you honestly about temperment and behavior. Start off slow and foster one of their dogs to see how he or she fits into your home and relates to your family. The shelter will likely visit your home and interview you once you've chosen a doggy you're interested in just to make sure you seem like a good candidate. If it ends up being a great fit, begin adoption. If it's not a good fit, inform the shelter and they will take him or her back. We had a marvelous experience adopting a dog this way.

If you're planning on both a dog and a new baby, I say vote for the more experienced doggy.

Good luck to you and your family!


3 moms found this helpful

Well, I seem to be completely going against the norm here, but I say why not both? When my son was 6 months old we got a puppy and moved all within the course of 1 week! And we all survived!
A puppy is only a puppy for a short while. House training doesn't take that long (or at least it hasn't with any of my dogs). Even if you got the puppy and got pregnant tomorrow, the puppy should be pretty close to completely trained by 9 months. And I've also never had any issues with jealousy, but perhaps that depends on breed. We've mostly always had giant breeds (Saint Bernards, Mastiffs).
I would say you can definitely do both, but do your homework when it comes to the breed of dog you're going to get. Some are just naturally more jealous/protective, some are just naturally harder to house train. Some naturally require much more attention and exercise. Read up, study, consult a vet. But it can be done!
I would only say don't get a puppy at the same time you have a newborn. But if you do it now, it shouldn't be a problem.

3 moms found this helpful

I honestly feel like puppies are more work than babies. You can at least take a baby with you almost everywhere. With a puppy you are constantly running home to let them outside, and they need more attention than most parents of young children can give. At least with children, you get to work up slowly to the crazy toddler stage- puppies jump right into this before they are even weened. I will not get puppies, probably not ever again. I will get any of my pets from this point on from rescue shelters. They foster the dogs and treat any illnesses (and parasites! you can't have a puppy around a newborn, they can spread worms) and they know the animals temperaments. They will know if they are good dogs for children, or not.

I have 5 pets and did not even consider getting rid of any of them when my son was born. But it does take work and a lot of monitoring to make sure the cats and dogs don't hurt the baby. They usually don't, not on purpose, but you can't be too careful. You can totally have pets, and a new baby, but yes, you will have to make sure the dog is well trained, and that takes effort. And puppies will stay puppies for a couple of years. They may look full grown at 7 months, but they don't act like it.

If you honestly think a pet is the way to go, I would suggest a full grown dog, and get it from a rescue shelter. They usually have websites so you can go online and look at all the dogs available, and find one who's personality will suit your family and lifestyle. When you get a puppy, or even a pound dog or pet store dog or breeder dog, you don't know what the personality is like. No matter how much training you do, there are no guarantees what that dog is going to be like. With a rescue shelter, you have a little more information about them before you bring them home. Good luck with your decision!

2 moms found this helpful

I have two kids 5 and 2 and a 6 year old 100 lb dog. He is my third child! As a SAHM and wife to a husband who travels almost every week, I am the one who walks and feeds him. I also was the one who had to do the training which wasn't completed because I gave birth to my first child. No easy task. If he gets sick, I am the one who has to administer any meds and make appts for a bath and the vet. We also have no family in the area so we always have to travel to visit anyone which means finding someone/someplace to watch our dog. That falls to me too. My dog is super sweet and wonderful with the girls but I will never have another dog after our current one passes. I love dogs but (at least mine) is too much work. Don't get sucked into any promises from your husband about him and the kids taking care of your dog. That just isn't the way it happens.

If you are sure you want a dog, maybe a more mature dog would be a better fit. Especially if they are already trained. It can work but do your homework first and good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

If you want a dog, I recommend looking into a shelter or a breed specific rescue organization. Look for a great family breed like a Lab, Golden Retriever, or Beagle. And get an adult dog who has been fostered by someone who knows dogs and can help you find the right individual dog and temperament for your family.

I would NEVER introduce two new family members at the same time. Both dogs and children are a lot of work and take adjustment. It wouldn't be fair to your son to bring both into your lives at the same time.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Puppies are almost as much work as a newborn, more, if they are super destructive.

I have a 2.5 month old, and we are going to consider a puppy when he is around 9 months. If he is sleeping 12 hours by then, then I may be up to having a dog, but seriously, the puppy is almost as much work as a baby.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm with you. I would never be able to do both a puppy and a baby. I never had pets growing up, but plenty of neighbors have them. Pets seem, to me, to be more work than a baby. You can't take them with you to most places that you go, unlike a baby. You have to leave them with someone or have someone come over and watch them if you go away for more than a day. You have to make sure that you aren't gone too long during the day or your house will be a mess. I have a neighbor that got a dog, because her family really wanted one. She is the only one that walks the dog. Every day at least twice a day. ( I would not be happy if I had to walk a dog in this weather! LOL) I also have a best friend that has had dogs before after and during babies. They are just dog lovers. The dogs do fine with the kids and always have. I just think that you have to really want a dog and love dogs in order to be happy having one in your house. It does seem to me that most moms end up taking on the care responsibilities of the pets. That would be something to consider.

1 mom found this helpful

I would never ever ever do both. A cat, sure since they're pretty self-reliant...but a puppy IS like having a baby. And you're already going to be up with a baby...do you want to have to get up to walk a dog too? If you don't feel it's the right time to have a baby...and you want a puppy...then go ahead. But I would never do both at the same time. Oh also...like others have mentioned...keep in mind you will have to board or bring your dog with you if you want to go out of town even for a weekend. It seems like such apain.
Now we had a dog growing up and she was the best...but my parents spent ALOT of money having her trained professionally. Also she had 4 kids to play with, walk her, and a big yard to run around in. Try and take those things into consideration as well....do you have the time and energy to devote to a dog? Good luck. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Love the answer below about fostering. This will give you the dog companion that you are looking for and you are doing something really great for the dog population in the shelter. Matter of fact by fostering you give another dog a spot in the shelter that otherwise would be euthanize ( 4 million a year ladies ...).
You need to make clear first who takes care of the dog, if it is just you and not your hubby than this is a bad choice, especially when you get pregnant.
Babies are a lot of work, pets are work. Question is how commited are you?
It is not a mission impossible to have a baby and dog at the same time.

I adopted my shelter dog before I had kids. He did great with the new baby and I must say the kids are not always nice with him. He on the other side is great with them. I even think getting a dog first is the better idea. The dog will adjust faster and be on a routine faster. A child is not just busy in 'puppy stage' they will take years before you can trust them not to get into trouble.
The right training is important. And if you invest the time in it right away, you will not have troubles with your dog and be able to enjoy it its whole lifetime.
Do your research on breeds and what the probability of breed related health issues are. Does this dog need grooming, can you afford that? Big dogs eat big bowl, small dogs eat a lot less. Mutts are less overbred.
Oh and on that comment with the poop in the yard. My dog was trained to go only in one spot and that is obviously not where the kids play.
Have lots more to say, if you care to hear it.

Whatever you do, please do NOT buy a dog in a store or from a breeder until the situation in the shelters has become manageable. There are approx. 300k pets on petfinder.com, there will be one for you.
Again, I think fostering will be great for you to go for a trial period on this subject and does not cost you a thing. Most rescues pay for vetting, food, etc.
If you have specific questions, pls feel free to contact me, I am a professional pet groomer with background in behavior training.

1 mom found this helpful

Puppies are a lot of work!! My husband and I got a sweet yellow lab about 7 years ago . We feel like he is part of the family and couldn't imagine life without him.

We had our daughter about 5 years ago (tons of work) and couldn't imagine life without her.

Luckily we own a small garden center and our yellow lab goes to work with my husband and wanders around the 60 acres, so he is very happy. He is also primarily an oustide dog, so the house doesn't get smelly or dirty.

I would vote NO on having a puppy and a baby at the same time. Either have the puppy first for two years and then a baby or the opposite. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
I totally agree with you that getting a puppy and having a baby around the same time would be a ridiculous amount of work. My husband and I got a puppy 7 years ago when we bought our house, and adopted 2 more adult dogs within about 2 years after that. In addition to the 3 canines we have a 2 year-old son and if we had had the baby first, I don't think we would have gotten the dogs, and certainly not all 3 dogs.

In response to your concern about the dog getting jealous and eating the baby, my experience has been that well-trained dogs do just fine with the addition of children to the family. Of course you should supervise your child's interaction with the dog at all times, and minimize the opportunity for conflict, but our dogs (2 German Shepherds, 1 Akita/Shepherd cross) have never had any problem with or shown any aggression toward our son or any of the kids who are regularly around. The problem here is that turning a puppy into a well-trained dog takes time and energy, and I don't know about you, but I haven't had much of either since my son was born.

You might consider adopting an adult dog from your local shelter, that way you skip the housebreaking, chewing and other puppy stages. Good shelters will help you find just the right dog for your family and your lifestyle, and then you can choose a dog who is known to be good with kids.

Good luck with your decision,

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.
Personally I would say no to the dog. I got a puppy before I had kids.
It was great, she was sleeping with us, she was our baby - we would take her out to dog parks, forest preserves, by the lake etc. Baby no. 1 came, dog had to move out of the bed and into her own bed. Less trips to the park, lake.
Baby no. 2 came, dog moved in the corner by the door - at this point we would rarely take her anywhere.
It's just too much, walking to the park with kids, stroller and picking up poops and handling a dog on a leash.
Baby no. 3 came, we finally gave her up. Found her a really good home - with a retired lady that takes her for walks every day - she's her baby...

In our case the dog was just too much. It's like having another kid and me having 2, then 3 kids plus dog was too much.
It was always a struggle to get someone to let her out to pee, clean up her poop. Kids can't play in the back yard because the poops are there, have to clean up first before you let them play. Dogs have accidents in the house, their hair is everywhere, can't go out of town without finding someone to watch her. She would just sit in her corner all the time and I felt bad for her because she loves to run so much. It was hard to have to give her up, but it worked out best for us and for her.....

That's our story and I came to a conclusion that dogs are best for older people that don't have anything to do and the dog is their baby...

1 mom found this helpful

One tip for you: don't think of it as getting a puppy--think of it as getting the full grown dog.
I say this because you keep mentioning getting a puppy and wanting a puppy, but they're only puppies for a very short amount of time. Do you just want a puppy, or do you want a dog? :)

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe baby, figure out how to survive or get through the day, and then puppy...so puppy comes into the complete family and is for both kids to help out with...when they are old enough of course.
Good luck--V

1 mom found this helpful

Oh my goodness! Not at the same time. Puppies need your full attention, just like a baby does. It's very very time consuming to train them and clean up after them and play with them. Wait until your children are older and can be involved in the decision to get a pet. That way they will learn about the responsibility, training, cleaning and cost of caring for an animal. And please consider adopting a dog that is beyond puppy age -- there are so many that need good homes. Since you're in Chicago, the Anti-Cruelty Society is a great place to look for a dog.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, having a puppy is JUST like having a new baby - except they chew on everything and are small and mobile enough to actually get lost. Not only do you have to worry about training it, but you also have to clean up after it, clip it's nails, brush it's teeth & hair, bathe it - everything just like a new baby. I've had puppies in the past but I've wanted one REALLY bad these last few years. My youngest is soon to be 5, and I wanted a new baby without having a new baby. So I got a puppy after two years of research and carefully deciding what to get.

I once had a wonderful dog who was perfectly trained, but I was real sick with a pregnancy and I couldn't handle how active she was. It broke my heart but I had to give her away. Having a dog is a very important decision. You wouldn't want to get a puppy now and then have a baby only to find you can't actually handle both. That would be very very hard and you may end up getting rid of the dog, and there are shelters full of too many homeless animals as it is.

There will always be puppies. I would suggest to your husband that it be an either or situation and he needed to decide which one to do first. The other can wait a couple years. Always worth the wait!

1 mom found this helpful

We got our puppy while i was pregnant and it was so hard because i was very tired and they are a lot of work. So if u think you can handle it, go for it. If not, wait until after the baby is a year or 2. Also, puppies like to jump and bite and things like that, which is just playing to them, but the baby will not like it. Keep that in mind. You will be a ref for about 6 months, depending on the breed.

1 mom found this helpful

Puppies and babies are a bad combination. Overworked mommy = under attended puppy. Besides puppies look at babies and toddlers as littermates, and treat them as such. Puppies tackle, bite, chase and play puppy with toddlers and babies. I am a volunteer for a GSD rescue. I have 2 adult shepherds, a 5 year old, 2 1/2 year old and 1 year old child. I have fostered GSD puppies and I know, understand and can predict the littermate behavior but it was still difficult to keep the smallest kids from getting scratches and nips. My oldest loved wrestling with the pups though. Just be really sure you can handle puppy behavior that includes housetraining, constant supervision because of the "littermate play" as well as the exercise and training a puppy needs. Plus, consider the costs of the vet. 3 sets of puppy shots, deworming, spaying and neutering all in the first 6 months. Yearly exams plus emergencies that may arise. I love my kids and dogs, but I won't have a puppy until all of my kids are old enough to clean up poop! Puppies are A LOT of work. If you are sure you can handle it then go for it, and please please consider adoption. But, my personal opinion is babies and puppies don't go well together - it creates a situation that many parents find they can't handle and wind up booting the poor puppy, who is only being a puppy. You could always consider adopting an adult dog, many are already house trained and know other commands and are so grateful for a family to love. I adopted my 2nd dog when my youngest was 5 months old and she is his constant companion. Good luck with your decision. Please make it carefully so you and your husband can enjoy your children and pet.

1 mom found this helpful

I would wait until you're done having your family before getting a dog. I would also consider adopting from a shelter before buying from a pet store or breeder.

Make sure you research different breeds so you can choose a dog based upon your lifestyle (are you active or sedentary? do you like to be outside, do you have a big yard, etc). Or try to catch Dogs 101 on Animal Planet. They showcase different dog breeds and go over the pros and cons of each breed.

Go to the library, talk to animal shelter workers, search on the internet for breed info - do your research before doing any deciding or buying.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I say both but get an older dog. Most shelters allow you to return a dog if they are not a fit to your house and find another dog. Animal House in Huntley, IL has a great program. Check out their website. Kids that grow up with dogs seem to have a more empathtic view of the world in my opinion. I know of a few good dogs looking for a home if you are interested contact me. Also as an FYI- it takes about 30 days for a dog to adjust to being in a new home so if you do adopt, don't judge behavior by the first couple of days.

1 mom found this helpful

i dont either will be easy at all, but from the sounds of it you are not ready for a baby now. that doesnt mean you need to get a puppy

1 mom found this helpful

I have a dog and it is a huge commitment. I also have a toddler and luckily my dog is older and mostly trained and predictable. I love him and he is great to have but we have done a lot with him with his behavior and training. We also bring him to doggie daycare as with children it is really difficult to get them exercise from a dog park.

Some things to consider:
How much time does your husband spend at home? Will he be a willing
participant to walk the dog/feed/pick up after? Cost is something also to consider as it can run any where from 500 - 1000 just in veterinarian care alone for the first year. After that depending on the dog can be from 200-500 per year. Most puppies will have parasites (from their mother as they lie dormant and are transmitted transplacentally in utero) and although you can treat it once you find out this is something that you may bring into your home. Parasites are zoonotic so your kids can be exposed. Puppy classes / socialization? It is a huge commitment and making sure you both are in it together is important.

In my opinion a new puppy and a new baby would be a great challenge. My dog was and is extremely jealous of the baby. I trust my dog but would never leave them alone as my son can be pushy with the dog and one can never be too safe. On the other hand teaching children to be around animals is also a great life lesson.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

If you get the puppy now, by the time you get pregnant & have the baby, you'll probably have the puppy about potty trained. It will be a challenge but the puppy will outgrow the puppy stages and grow with your child.

I'm a dog-lover and we had our Boxer for 2 yrs. before having children. We lost him at 9-1/2 yrs. when our boys were 7 and 2. We went 7 months w/out a dog and just recently adopted a puppy from our local animal shelter. It's tough at times because I feel like I have 2 toddlers. It's already starting to get better. I love to watch my boys play and love on our puppy and have watched how she's grown attached to all of us. I love it when she crawls up beside one of them just to lay by them & be close. I take her out in the mornings before everyone else gets up and when she gets back in, she runs straight for our youngest's bed and lays down at the end of his bed while he's still sleeping.

It's an incredible bond a dog can form with it's human companions and vice versa, especially children.

Bringing a new baby home is an adjustment for everyone, even for pets. In time, everyone gets adjusted. As long as your puppy is in a loving environment and included they can adjust fine.

There's always the option of adopting a dog from the shelter that is already potty trained which would save you that much trouble of having to do it yourself. And the good thing with adopting from a shelter is that most let you return the dog to them if it isn't working out. Also, when you adopt from a shelter, the dogs are already spayed/neutered, vaccinated & microchipped. That is all part of the fee you pay to adopt. Which is much cheaper than adopting from a breeder and then you still have to pay for all of these things. Also, picking the breed or type of dog that is best for your lifestyle (one that needs lots of or little exercise).

Best of luck with whatever you decide but a puppy/dog can bring much love.

I would comprimise and adopt a dog from a shelter. With a puppy you have no idea what the temperment of the dog is going to be but when you adopt they can tell you what the dog's temperment is and you can fit it to your family. Check out petfinder.com.

If you do decide to have a baby after you get a dog, do some research on introducing the two. Your vet can give you advice also.

I would also recommend obediance training for your new dog. If you and your husband are not familiar with how to interact with a dog, this can help a lot.

hi J. - my husband & i started out with a 'blended pet' family. meaning he had 1 dog, and i had another 2 dogs. we lived that way together for about 5 years. 2 years ago we had a little girl, and wow. having those dogs made things so much harder, especially at first. we're down to 2 dogs, and it's still so much. i love them dearly, but they are a ton of responsibility - especially as puppies! - so my advice would be to wait. maybe wait until your little ones are a couple years old & you know it's a good time. i have a couple friends who got puppies or kittens before their first baby was born and i think they rue the day they made those decisions. :) hope this helps! (side note: i'm a total animal lover, vegetarian, animal rights person, etc. i want all pooches to have a great home, but also want to keep all the sanity in a family that i can!)

I'd say no on the puppy right now. The reason is because if you do get pregnant, the puppy would already be used to all the attention you and your hubby would have given to him. No matter what, a baby's needs will always come before a puppy/dog and sooner or later, the puppy will feel left out. Prior to having kids, I had 2 already grown dogs; they were my kids before my real kids came around. Unfortunately, when we had the baby, the daily car rides pretty much halted because I was worried they'd jump on him when I was driving.

I also worked at a shelter and any reputable one won’t even allow a family to adopt a dog if they have a child under the age of 3.

Also, if you get a dog prior to getting pregnant, what would happen if you have your baby and he/she is allergic to the dog?

Also, depending on the size of the dog will depend on how long he/she will live. Do you have a closed in backyard? Do you plan on letting the dog do its duty in the backyard or do you intend to have to actually go out and walk him/her 4-5 times a day regardless if it's raining or 30 below zero outside. If you have an enclosed back yard - which we did, it's great for a dog, but eventually your child will get to an age where you might want to buy a play set (I know, you think I'm crazy) - but trust me, they grow up faster than you can ever imagine. For us, we got a play set just last summer and every time the kids wanted to go back there and play, we had to make sure that our dog's "droppings" were picked up and then had to spray the area with water.

My dog ended up passing away over the winter (he was 13 years old), the kids want another one, but they are 5 and 3. My husband and I are against it for 3 reasons: We both work full time; we don't have to worry about cleaning up the yard before they want to go out and play and we can just pick up and go on vacation without having to worry about what to do with a dog. In several years, we may get one, but not now.

If you are serious about wanting a dog, you can always volunteer at Humane Haven (Bolingbrook - VCA) and be a foster parent for a dog. That way, you can see how it goes and keep him/her for a certain time and then return it and even pick another dog/breed the next time you want to foster.

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