Puppies and CLL: Is it advisable for a patient... - CLL Support

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Puppies and CLL


Is it advisable for a patient with CLL to get a new puppy?

86 Replies


The only thing that I could think of negatively is the sharp puppy teeth. Be careful of wounds for infection or if you have any risk of bleeding from ibrutinib.

If that makes you pause then why not adopt an adult dog needing a forever home and skip the puppy stuff.


Great idea Jeff. Thank you.

When I was diagnosed with CLL three years ago I bought a puppy and after Covid hit I bought another. Australian Labradoodles. Non shedding, smart and affectionate. Did I mention non-shedding? The good thing about having a dog is they need exercise so most days I do a five mile walk. I’d say go for it if you have the time and the patience or as Jeff mentioned there are always good rescues available.

Good luck,


Chi-town_Girl in reply to HopeME

Awesome!! My Australian Labradoodle doodle puppy is “ in the oven”! Cannot wait to welcome her to our home this summer! ( we previously had a labradoodle who passed away at age 13).

Janetkay923 in reply to HopeME

Thanks Mark! I’m looking at a golden doodle or some kind of doodle. Sounds like you found a winner!

Ymgaut in reply to Janetkay923

Doodles are awesome and smart but require a lot of exercise. They also shed! Yvette

HopeME in reply to Ymgaut

My two don’t shed. Also, there can be a significant difference between a generic “labradoodle” and an “Australian Labradoodle”. It’s worth paying a few extra bucks to a reputable breeder.

Ymgaut in reply to HopeME

That’s awesome! Thanks for the information!

Sure!! 💕


Oh my gosh yes!!! I've had two since my diagnosis and also had a litter of puppies. The time I spend outdoors with them and the exercise we all get is very important to me and my general wellbeing. Photo is my girl Lottie and three of her pups 💖

mrsjsmith in reply to Jm954

Lovely family Jackie 💕

DebKat999 in reply to mrsjsmith

Lottie seems to be smiling here! 😍 Really so beautiful. 💖

Justasheet1 in reply to Jm954


Beautiful! Lottie looks so proud and happy 🥰

Raquel22 in reply to Jm954

She's adorable and the pups are just gorgeous x

Smakwater in reply to Jm954

Now Thats a Labrador!

Janetkay923 in reply to Jm954

What a beautiful lab and pups! Wow!

Mystic75 in reply to Jm954

Puppy love - the best kind! 💖🐕

Jm954Administrator in reply to Mystic75

It certainly is and that little puppy smell is .... well, just wonderful! :)

My most recent puppy!

Justasheet1 in reply to HopeME


Janetkay923 in reply to HopeME


Well, if we’re going to post pictures, I will post a recent photo of our Jindo (sisters) rescued from Korea. They are about 7 1/2 months old- but behave like puppies. We have had dogs here for the last 35 years and wouldn’t go without them.

Dogs often take yourself and divert you from your own concerns. We do tend to worry with CLL so it is helpful to have a diversion. We adopted puppies because they were available and we couldn't resist. But some people might be better off with older >1yr. Dogs.

Also assume some degree of destruction to your home. It sill, IMO, is worth it.


Is that their toy in front of them?


Yes - one of a hundred. We had to shower them with toys so that they don’t eat the house more than they already do!

Double adorable!

This is my heart, this is Ellie ❤

Sweet girl

Awwww, she looks like a honey!

ANA4 in reply to DebKat999


Mystic75 in reply to DebKat999

Sweetie pie!!! 💕💗💖

Best to have them have any live vaccines first, though both rescue dogs and cat’s in my life have gotten vaccines after they arrived in my life. I was very ill when diagnosed. My dogs and cats were the only reason I forced myself to get up some days. I can’t imagine life without animal companions!

Thank you. So encouraging.

Yes I would absolutely get a pet. I’m a kitty person rather than a dog person. Regardless, great companionship. This is my girl Lily that I got in August 2020 halfway through my treatment. She’s an amazing companion.Best to you,


Raquel22 in reply to Iris123

She's absolutely gorgeous x

Janetkay923 in reply to Iris123


My labs keep me healthier. Always ready to go for a ride or a walk. They love me on my worst days. They add so much joy, especially during Covid. Go for it.

They are so beautiful!

The dog on the left, Chica was a rescue at 15 months old. She was pretty wild but easy to train because of Bella. Bella we have had since she was 8 weeks old. Both dogs are well trained and loved. They live inside and are always near. I will always have dogs. Maybe I will have to look for smaller dogs next time.😂 Good luck. If you do decide on a dog, please share pictures. Sally

Absolutely, best thing for your mental health


Couldn’t be without a dog. I agree my 4-month old Maltese/Yorkie sweetheart is the main reason I like getting up in the morning. Have to be careful of sharp claws but otherwise all good.


Hey Janet, getting a dog is always a responsibility, whether you have a diagnosis or not. Even without a diagnosis, I would ask myself: Can I be there for the new family member for the next 16 years? Are there people who will support me if I can't? Do I have enough money for the vet and the food? Do I have enough time, patience and love? Shelters are full all over the world .. maybe there is a nice older dog that suits me? My heart often bleeds when I see the results .. when people notice that it is not a cuddly toy but a very special personality. I mean that in general, that I don't know you. :-) Dogs are definitely a great addition to my life. Because they can also be a challenge.

Best Wishes

Thank you for sharing the big picture. All are important things to consider.

I lost my little dog before Christmas, and miss her so much. I can’t get another dog because I wouldn’t be able to give it the exercise it needs (or pay the vets fees for an older dog). Don’t think they can breed a dog that doesn’t need walking and doesn’t get ill - or shed!

Janetkay923 in reply to Psmithuk

I understand

It all depends how well you feel and the type of dog. If you feel up to lots of walking in the long term and have energy to keep up. Some breeds of dog are as much work as a toddler. Hope you can make the right decision.

Good things to think about. Thank you.

I have got 2 dogs and a pup, plus horses and chickens. I do wear a mask and gloves to clean out chickens and obviously wash my hands a fair bit. I am on w&w so the situation may be different if you have treatment. My animals are a large part of my life and I can't imagine life without them. Good luck with your decision

Janetkay923 in reply to 223dogs

Thank you!

Yes for all the reasons given above. No excuses for opting out of the daily walk (ours get two).

Essentials to go with a puppy: rubber gloves, Simple Solution, endless patience and a firm hand. And hard things to chew (but not old shoes). A crate for night-time use will spare the furniture.

Training classes: outdoor only for the time being!

Thank you! Very helpful!

Agree with Jeff. Be careful of puppies’ extra sharp baby teeth. My grand dog, a Great Dane “puppie” grazed me with his teeth while playing. While my blood numbers are pretty good, I am on Ibrutinib and it took forever for the wound to heal, will probably always have a little scar. This happened in late October.@

ViPOR in reply to BeckyLUSA

so sorry for the wound; looks nasty; hope it is healing fast.

Hope you’re healing! Thank you for sharing. Something to consider.

Mystic75 in reply to BeckyLUSA

Ouch, Becky! Glad it finally healed. Hope you're otherwise doing well and glad to see your blood work is pretty good.

BeckyLUSA in reply to Mystic75

Thanks! Yes doing well. Have a big protocol appt in March. CT scan, blood work, dr apt, etc. First CT scan since I have been on only 140 Ibrutinib and off Venetoclax completely. We shall see!

Hope ya’ll are all ok!

Good day,. Puppies are just the sweetest. I would just remember puppies need lots of your time and attention. They will affect your sleep they take lots of potty breaks even at night. They can be expensive, vet bills, food. You want to consider your activity level. You don't want a high energy dog if you are running low on energy. But in all honesty these are things to consider no matter if you have cll or not. Dogs love you unconditionally, they bring such joy and companionship. I have 2 dogs a German Shepherd and a beagle hound what a combination lol. They bring me so much joy. Best of wishes on your decision.

Yeah, good luck anybody who wants to train a beagle. And walk on the lead/ leash? Forget it. Sweet dogs though, and gorgeous ears!

Ha ha ha yes the hound follows her nose. We have several acres, she is fenced in around the house, or on a leash when out exploring the property on walks. . She's a runner 🤣🤣🤣. The Shep is high speed as well but both were here before Cll as well as chickens, roosters, horses who come from next door for visits and stay overs. ;)

Sounds like dog paradise there!

No matter how much space, though, beagles do like to get out and wander. Ours spent hours at a time in pursuit of deer, never getting near them but having lots of fun. You could hear his musical baying half a mile away. Just as well he got his exercise that way because walking him along the road with his nose to the ground was painfully slow.

An escape artist he fathered two litters with his girlfriend on the other side of the village😍

Thank you. Energy is a definite factor. Hoping the pluses outweigh any downside.

You’re surrounded by lots of love! Thanks.

Absolutely, get a puppy-- or maybe consider an adult dog. Diesel joined us this winter. His first two years were a mess of different owners, one of whom described him as a "category 4 hurricane". He's been a perfect gentleman for us though. A day doesn't go by where we don't appreciate having him in our lives.


Mystic75 in reply to Keepkicking

Diesel looks like he couldn't be more content! ❤️

Dogs are God's angels.

Love it!

would love to have a dog but am age 73 with FNHL and all that goes with it. BUT, have a rescue granddogger, named Sable who is the greatest (as long as squirrels are not around). We did raise 3 Daschunds (not at the same time) and loved them.

Janetkay923 in reply to ViPOR

Best of both worlds! Thank you.

Puppies are great. We have gotten two in the last year having lost our other two beloved pups close in time to one another. I say yes to puppies! Here are my two.

They are adorable!

Cannot imagine life without a dog--pure unconditional love. We've held our son to the commitment that he will take whatever dog survives us, which he agreed readily to do.

Janetkay923 in reply to fescue

Thank you!

Wow! Thank you all for your much needed reassurance and suggestions! Most helpful and greatly appreciated! Especially loved seeing the pics and hearing your stories. What a beautiful Community of friends! Thank you again for your responses! Here’s to life and all the beautiful Gifts it has to offer! Janet

I got a white Great Pyrenees (Pyrenean Mountain Dog for UK folks) puppy at the end of July. Her puppy photo is what you see by my name. She is my height now when she stands but still a puppy, still growing. I live on a remote forested property nearly 1/4 mile from the road by myself. A giant breed livestock guardian dog who barks at everything is exactly what I needed, both as a guard and companion dog. We made it through all her vaccinations with no ill effects to me and those needle puppy teeth. I had golden retrievers before that have a soft mouth but Pyrs play bite hard!! She needs 2 hours of exercise per day and that has upped my exercise significantly. I laugh much more every day. She goes everywhere with me except appointments. It would not have made any difference to me if I had been advised against getting a puppy.

Mystic75 in reply to lexie

My friend has a Great Pyrenees and it is the sweetest dog but boy is it big! Gorgeous dog!

Janetkay923 in reply to lexie

She sounds like a real friend. Love the laughing part!

In other words... Life without puppies ain't no life at all.

Janetkay923 in reply to dazed1

Thank you!

Cll is an exhausting disease and I was diagnosed shortly after I got my now 94 lb goldendoodle. Although I had fatigue prior to getting her just getting out of bed some days to let her out, get up and feed her, exercise her is a lot. I could never do it without my husband. If you get one that likes to sleep all day and is small with little needs then you may do alright.

Janetkay923 in reply to Ymgaut

Thanks for raising the energy issue.

Ymgaut in reply to Ymgaut

Don’t get me wrong, I have 2 dogs and 1 cat and I love my animals. So much depends on how you feel and what you can handle physically. Take care!

We have 3 Australian Labradoodles.... 1 is a puppy that we got after my diagnosis. Best therapy around, and great for getting you out the door for walks!

Janetkay923 in reply to ZeeZeeC

Motivation is key. Sounds like you have lots of it with those pups. Thank you.

I'll add a comment about training puppies with sharp teeth my trainer liked. As soon as they start nipping too hard, overreact. Cry like they really, really, hurt (I made the high pitched awrh awrh awrh sounds) and run away, out of the room. Then stop playing with them completely for a few minutes. This worked like a charm! It seems like it took only a week for mine to "pull back" on how hard he was nipping. As opposed to just going "ow" or telling them "no" but continuing the play.

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