Bringing Home Baby… To Your Pets!
Expecting to bring a baby home to join your family? There are a lot of things you need to do when getting your home ready for a baby but your pet shouldn’t be overlooked in this preparation.
Even the friendliest of pets could potentially get into an unexpected, dangerous situation before you know it. We will cover some general dog and cat tips that will help smooth this transition.
The arrival of anything new in the house, especially a baby, brings all sorts of new scents and sounds that will be unfamiliar to your pets. Especially if this is your first child (not counting your paw pal) there could be some “sibling rivalry” when introduced to the new “baby.” There are several things pet owners can do to make sure their pet is not caught off guard by the new addition(s) to your family.
Introducing Your Newborn to Your Dog or Cat
- Cats respond best to gradual changes. According to the Humane Society of the United States, abrupt changes seem to upset cats a lot more than dogs.
- If possible, try to delegate full care of your cat to another family member you can trust. Your cat won’t feel so abandoned when you bring a baby home if they can clearly see someone is fulfilling their needs already.
- You should try and keep the nursery off limits to your cat. Putting up a screen door or removable gate can allow you to hear the baby while keeping your cat away.
- If you haven’t already gone through obedience training, you may want to consider doing so. If your dog doesn’t have a strong understanding of basic commands like “sit”, “stay, and “leave it” it will for sure be time to hone those skills. If you have a dog that is very overprotective of toys, food, or other people, it will for sure require some behavior training before you bring your baby home.
- Toys that resemble that of a baby are a big “no-no” for dogs that will soon be around small babies. It’s best for YOU to actually begin to carry around a baby doll to get your pet used to daily baby activities such as bathing and diaper changing. This is a good time to try and keep your dog in a “down-stay” position while performing these tasks to help develop boundaries.
- Smells are very important to introduce to your dog before the arrival of your baby. Things like baby powder or lotion can be applied to baby blankets or your “baby doll” to help your pet identify where these new smells are coming from.”
- Both cats and dogs can benefit from being exposed to baby sounds. There are actually CDs that play baby sounds and other unusual baby noises your pet will soon be hearing often.
- Both dogs and cats should be taken to their vet for an annual wellness exam.
- Is your dog or cat spayed/neutered? Fixed pets tend to be less aggressive.
When you finally bring your baby home try to keep your dog or cats routine as normal as possible. Don’t forget to give them some personal attention to help avoid any jealousy! Remember, no matter how much you have tried to prepare your paw pal for your new baby, you should never take any chances. It’s best practice to always supervise any interactions your dog or cat may have with your baby.
Watch for signs from both your “babies” on how they interact with each other. Make sure your pet can’t be easily startled or hurt. It could be a lot easier to trigger predatory responses under the circumstances.
Things will no doubt be a little hectic for a while as you and your pet get accustomed to your new life. Rest assured with the right training, preparation, and supervision your pets will be able to live happily and safely with your new family!