The Netherlands is considering a puppy yoga ban, says Dutch official (and their reasoning has really got us thinking)

Pregnant woman and puppy doing yoga
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Puppy yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years, combining the calming, mindful nature of yoga with all the fun of spending time with adorable puppies.

It takes the form of group yoga sessions with puppies roaming around, and it’s often claimed that participants will see lowered anxiety levels as a result. In some studios, you can even choose the breed of dog in your session. 

But while it has plenty of fans, not everyone is sold on the activity. Last year, the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, urged people to avoid puppy yoga due to animal welfare concerns and a lack of regulation around the practice. And, let’s face it, the pups would probably rather be playing with some of the best dog toys instead.

An investigation by British broadcaster ITV found that puppies as young as six weeks old were deprived of sleep and water, and puppy yoga is not in our vet’s guide to dog exercise — it’s not designed to benefit both human and dog. 

It was banned outright in Italy last month, and now the Netherlands is set to follow suit, with concerns over the puppies’ welfare and the limited space for them in yoga studios. 

Pieter Adema, the country’s Agriculture Minister, tells Dutch newspaper Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant, “It serves no purpose. Puppies are at an early stage of their development, it is important for their behavior later that they can now rest and sleep a lot.

“I want to say to people who signed up for these kinds of crazy practices: think again. Do you really want this?”

His concerns echo those of Italian dog expert Giusy D’Angelo, who welcomed the ban in her own country earlier this year. Per BBC, She described puppy yoga as a “physically and mentally stressful experience” for the young pups, and added, “This type of activity is detrimental to the dogs' wellbeing and only brings financial advantages to those who run the classes.”

D’Angelo also said that attendees could risk getting carried away and adopting the animals, even if they aren’t equipped to be dog parents. She explained, “People are overtaken by a wave of emotion after experiencing sensations of well-being from the close proximity to the puppies.

"This can lead them to make a decision without really thinking through the implications and the consequences."

Should the law pass in the Netherlands, young animals — not limited to just puppies — would not be used during yoga classes. And, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, which looks at animal health, is expected to monitor other wellness trends involving animals, too.

Puppy yoga appears to have its roots in goat yoga, a form of yoga that originated in the US in 2016 by accident, thanks to farmer Lainey Morse. In goat yoga, the goats jump on the backs of people as they perform various yoga poses. 

If you’d like to involve some furry friends in your exercise routine, but without the animal welfare concerns, you might like these 32 ways to workout with your pet instead.

West Paw Toppl Dog Toy 
$23.96 from Chewy

West Paw Toppl Dog Toy
$23.96 from Chewy
A treat dispensing puzzle that can be filled with kibble, peanut butter, cheese chunks or smashed banana, this toy is ideal for giving your dog's brain a good workout. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.