Post # 1
My husband and I have been married for 1.5 years now. We are planning to TTC this September (we couldn’t before due to a medication I was on).
Recently, I fell in love with a particular dog, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I have been researching the breed a lot and became really obsessed with the idea of getting one. We never had a dog before – it seems extremely exciting, but at the same time very demanding. I have a lot of free time to devote to a dog now, but I’m not sure how I would feel once I have a baby.
I contacted breeders and we could be getting a puppy this Summer or this Fall. We started questioning if we should get the puppy now or if we should wait until we have a baby.
If we have a puppy before having our first baby, we worry that once we have our baby, we might feel exhausted and overwhelmed by the baby and not be able to devote time to the dog. Also, the house won’t be as clean for the baby (dog hair shedding), etc. However, if we wait until we have a baby, we could be waiting a few months or a very long time (1 or 2 years). In the meantime, I would be just waiting without a dog. At the same time, I’m not sure how to feel about becoming pregnant (if it were to happen) at the same time as getting our puppy. Would it be too tiring?
I almost feel like I am more excited to have a puppy than a real baby. However, because we never had a dog before, I am scared to make a mistake.
Please let me know which option you think is best:
Get a puppy now (and at the same time start TTC)
Wait until we have our first baby, and then think of getting a puppy (although I have a feeling we won’t have the energy for it)
I really appreciate your help!
Post # 2
I would do a puppy first if you want it pretty soon. House breaking and training a puppy while you have a baby will be SO much more difficult. Once the dog is trained and you have a kid, yes you have to walk it and look after it, but you can focus on your kid a lot more. If you haven’t had a puppy before (or in a while) you dont realize/forget how much work they actually are.
If you got a puppy now, even if you conceive right away that is 9-10 months you can focus on training your dog. Since most puppies are adopted about 2 months old, the dog would be almost a year at the earliest that baby would come. 1 year is still young and high energy, but generally out of the annoying puppy habits.
Post # 3
I say WAIT. As someone with a dog I say this – the baby becomes your priority. Dogs are still a big responsibility, they need attention and should be walked daily. Even though puppies are high maitenance, young dogs are still HIGH ENERGY, and need a lot of recreation. I vote wait until the child is a toddler, and will grow to have a connection wiht the dog 🙂
If I could go back we wouldn’t have gotten a dog a few months before TTC!
Post # 4
If you’re concerned that you won’t have enough energy for a puppy after you have a baby (your reasoning for getting one now), then I think that answers your question that you shouldn’t be getting a puppy now. Just because you have time for a puppy right now and you’re excited doesn’t mean it’s okay to then neglect the puppy when baby comes. Adopting an animal, devoting all your time to it for 9 months and then suddenly not having much time for it at all doesn’t really seem much better than starting out with not much time for it at all in my eyes. It isn’t like you’re someone who has had an animal for a few years and then decided to have children.
Puppies are a lot of work, which I’m sure you’ve been told and understand (but I feel the need to reiterate it since you said you’ve never had a dog). They may not be as much work as human babies, but a lot of people get really excited over animals like they’re accessories. Don’t do this. I have a small dog (less than 10 pounds) and it is still $50+ to have him groomed every couple months, $100-$200+ for yearly shots and vet visits, ~$200 to have him neutered, ~$40 for food each month, plus costs for boarding whenever Fi and I have to travel, toys, accessories (like leash, bed, food bowls, food containers, collar, harness, etc.), unforeseen medical expenses for health issues (which King Charles’ have a lot of) and emergencies. A King Charles is more of a medium sized dog so you can probably expect all of those costs I mentioned to be a bit higher. This isn’t going to be a Charlotte on Sex and the City situation.
One of my cousins has an almost 2 year old, a kitten (now almost cat), and a Cocker Spaniel puppy. She seems to manage it well, but cats are a little more independent, and the puppy spends a lot of time at daycare/training classes. Some people manage animals and children better than others, but in my personal experience it becomes easier when children are a little older. I understand your excitement, but it would probably be in everyone’s best interest (yours, baby’s, and puppy’s) if you waited until your child is a toddler as PP suggested.
Post # 5
Those cavalier spaniels are adorable. I’ve looked at them before, but the low life expectancy due to the high incidence of health problems in the breed kept me from adopting one.
Personally, I’d go with whichever you want to add to your family first. I know small dogs often have small dog syndrome and I’d be leary of allowing one around a baby unless it is properly trained, or was adopted an an adult dog so you have a better idea of the dog’s personality.
My sister adopted a westie 6 months before having her first, but they adopted an older dog that was well trained and calm due to his age. He was 10 when they adopted him and he’s almost 15 now and he’s great with the toddlers. Very patient and still really active.
Also, with caring for a 18 month old and 3 year old, my sister appreciates that she doesn’t have to spend a lot of time training their dog. He came trained and they maintain the training, but puppies and adolescent dogs are a lot more work to train and maintain training than an adult dog.
I’d only get the puppy first if you aren’t planning ttc for several years, like 3 or so, until the puppy is settled and trained and out of the puppy/adolescence stage.
I say that, but we plan to ttc after the wedding in May and my dog’s first birthday is in April. But she’s attended various training classes for 6 months. I am nervous about keeping up with her puppy energy while pregnant and with a newborn and then toddler. She’s a labradoodle mix though, so she’s going to be a puppy for awhile, but she’s been wonderful with the elderly and children. It’s odd, with adults, she’s her excessively energetic self, but with my grandparents and nieces, she’s content to sit and be petted.
Post # 6
Your answer is in bold in your OP. If you are questioning having the time for a dog once you have a baby, you need to wait on the pet. Even if you get a puppy now, and successfully house train and do obedience training with it before baby, it will require LOTS of love and attention and time for the rest of its life. It’s not like a dog hits 2 yr old and magically doesn’t need anything anymore just because you have a baby.
Maybe consider fostering dogs while TTC and even pregnant .. get the “puppy fix” but you aren’t committed to it’s full care once it’s adopted. Then once your baby is older you can reconsider getting a dog or puppy
Post # 7
If you aren’t sure you will be able to juggle a baby and a dog you need to have the baby first and see what you feel comfortable with after the fact.
Personally, if I were you, I would wait until your future baby is a little older before getting a dog. Like in the walking, talking, able to help out a little here and there age. You don’t want to be cleaning up after a toddler/puppy at the same time.
And it goes without saying, a puppy is A LOT of work and it’s a lot of financial responsibility. Have you considered all the costs associated with a puppy (vet bills) for normal care and what it could cost if something happened and your puppy got sick or ate something it shouldn’t have? You could be looking at thousands of dollars for a single vet visit.
Post # 8
I’d say wait to get a puppy. I have a 3 month old baby and a 3 year old dog and it can be a struggle to make sure the dog gets enough love, attention, and exercise. While you’d have time to do a lot of training, a 1 year old dog is still a puppy. It’ll have tons of energy and will most likely still require a good amount of discipline to maintain any training.
You could look at adopt an older dog though. One that doesn’t need as much exercise and would be more patient and easier to manage around babies and young children (ie less jumping, licking, crashing into things, etc.)
Post # 9
ellagrey : You will probably hate me for this but have you done real research into how inbred and sick this breed is? I had no idea until my dog died and I went to grief counseling and there was a young family there that lost their spaniel and he was only 6 years old. Increasingly this breed is dying younger and younger due to defects. Sorry to tell you this but I think you should be aware.
Post # 10
I think it depends – My husband and I knew we wanted dogs and as soon as we got a house we started TTC and adopted 2 puppies. Over a year later, we are still TTC, the dogs are 15 & 14 months old and pretty well trained. (Side note: I do not suggest getting 2 puppies at once!) If you know you absoluetly want a dog as part of your family, then go for it, because no one knows how long it will take to concieve.
However – If you are not sure dogs will fit into your family, that you will have time to care for them once you have a baby, then you need to wait. Dogs require a lot of attention, care and money!
My final plea is if you get a dog try searching for a rescue, we got the specific breeds we wanted from rescues; German Shepherd and Australian Shepherd. My SIL has a Cavalier King Charles Cocker spaniel mix and he is so lovable but at 8 years old can still play fetch for hours!
Post # 11
I vote that you wait. We got a puppy a year ago for our 6 year old son and it’s been perfect. He’s able to help out with taking care of the dog and take some responsibility. But when she was a puppy, it was a lot of work even with an older child. I think you should wait until you’ve had your baby and see how you’re feeling a couple years out from then.
Post # 12
Puppies are HUGE responsibilities. You have to get up in the middle of the night to let them out, they whine and cry, need training, etc. I see lots of couples who get rid of their dogs after having a baby because they just “don’t have the time for the dog.” A dog should be a lifelong commitment. If you think you can’t handle both then wait on the puppy. Or even wait to ttc if you really get more excited about the thought of a puppy over a baby.
Post # 13
I am someone that LOVES dogs. I am dog obsessed. I want ALL the dogs.
Do not get a puppy right now. If you were interested in adopting an older (2+) dog I would say go for it. But learning how to be a first time dog owner, and dealing with an adolescent dog, AND getting ready for/having a baby is just putting undue stress on yourself.
You say that you don’t want to have to wait around for a dog while you have time for one right now, use this time to volunteer at an animal shelter, learn the basics of how to train dogs, do deep research on what you’re looking for in a dog (breed traits but also health concerns). Prepare now while you have time and then after the dust has settled on baby’s arrival, start looking at dogs.
I know it’s hard. We have one dog right now and I am DESPERATE for a second. We don’t even want a puppy but a 1-2 year old dog to add to our “pack”. But we’re TTC in August with an international move sometime in the next ~10 months. Our current dog is literally the easiest dog alive (now…she required INTENSIVE time investments for the first year). I *know* now isn’t the right time to get another dog. The chances of getting a second dog that settled in super quickly and becomes as well behaved as our current girl would be hoping for A LOT. But it’s SO HARD to be patient. So I sympathize, but we need to stay strong!!! No puppies until after babies!!
Post # 14
I’m biased because 1) I am a dog person, 2) I grew up with our dog who was adopted just before I was born so he was always my best friend, and 3) my current dogs are going to be the best big sisters to a baby one day! But I say go for it now, it will be easier and I honestly feel like dogs just aren’t that much work for how much joy they bring (besides the first few months where they are being trained). Again – that is 100% biased because I have never not had at least 2 dogs so I have always had the responsibility. Do you live in a house or apartment? Just make sure your living situation is conducive of having a pet (for me this means quick access to the outdoors, no elevators, few stairs because my babes are very old, and walking trails – for you it could be something different).
Post # 15
I agree with PPs though – this is a lifelong commitment (think 15 years). So definitely wait if you don’t think you can commit. Nothing sadder than handing a sweet pup over to the rescue.