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Should You Get a Puppy When You’re Expecting a Baby?

132317This is a very difficult question to answer, difficult because it all depends on your level of commitment to the puppy in question. There is no breed of dog that is better with children than another, everything depends on your ability to prepare the puppy for the new baby, and to care for both simultaneously.

Puppies require as much care as a newborn child, if you think that caring for a puppy will prepare you for your forthcoming baby it might, but nothing will prepare you for the work load of caring for puppy and baby. What happens to puppies who are not prepared for babies are hardships that the animal didn’t ask for. Many puppies who cannot be managed after baby comes home from the hospital wind up being rehomed, kenneled, or given to shelters. Many of these situations wind up with an adolescent dog who winds up being put down.

If this would be your first time owning a dog we suggest that you wait until your baby is at least 3-4 years old before purchasing a puppy. When you do decide to get a dog make sure that the breeder is reputable and recommended. After you puppy has had its shots start socializing him/her right away.

If you absolutely want a puppy before the baby comes here are recommended steps to prepare the puppy for the baby. Puppies get used to a schedule and environment, but when the baby comes home all that will change, be sure that you’re slowly introducing your pet to these changes. For example, if you plan on using baby gates to separate the puppy and baby be sure to put them up well in advance of the babies arrival home so the puppy can get used to them. Also make sure you have help taking the puppy for its walks. If you’re unable to walk the dog it will get left outside and become unsocialized which is bad for him/her and your family.

Early gradual changes in your schedule around the house will help prepare the puppy for the changes the baby will bring with it. Let the puppy investigate the nursery before the baby comes home, send home blankets from the hospital for the puppy to sniff and so he/she can get used to the scent of the new baby. It is very important for the puppy to understand and obey the basic instructions like stay and down before the baby comes home. If the puppy shows signs of agitation toward your new baby you should speak to your vet immediately.

When you come home from the hospital you should get someone to hold the baby for you so you can give the puppy the proper attention it needs after your absence from the home. Have the puppy on a leash as the excitement of the day will have him/her excited.

Always supervise your puppy and baby when they’re together never leave them alone even if they are both sound asleep. And never set aside separate time for your puppy from your baby. Always positively reinforce your interactions with your puppy in the presence of your baby. Give the puppy praise and treats so the puppy associates the baby with positive socialization.

Puppies vary in how they welcome a new baby, so give it time. If you’re not seeing positive interactions with in a certain amount of time always speak with your vet. Remember a puppy is always learning, without careful intervention and direction your puppy will pick up bad behaviors, such as chewing shoes, stealing food and chasing cars or bikes.

The best time to buy a puppy is during a time of little change or disruption so they can feel stable and welcome in their own home. Before you buy that puppy research different breeds to find out which type best suits your lifestyle, instead of choosing a dog based on appearances. Think about all that your new puppy will need, how much food it will eat, how many times a day you will need to walk the dog and how much time you will need to spend socializing and training your puppy.

Now that you have considered all these factors we hope you make the right decision for you and your family.

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