Do you have a dog… or a cat… and a baby on the way?
Before you were a mommy to your newborn baby, you were a mommy to your pet.
It is easy for pets to receive less attention than they’re used to once a baby comes along. This lack of attention could confuse your pet.
And if you don’t prepare your dog or cat for the new arrival, this could lead to problems down the road.
In order to avoid this, follow these tips…
Do This After The Baby Comes Home
Here is some excellent advice to help your pet and baby interact together safely — especially in those all-important first days:
- When you bring the baby home, allow your pet to sniff your baby’s feet. It’s even okay to allow your pet to lick the baby’s foot once. Since taste and smell go together for pets, this is a great way to acclimate your pet to your baby.
- Allow your pet to sniff everything in the baby’s nursery so he can get used to the smell of a baby. You can even sprinkle baby powder and other baby lotions and creams on yourself to get your dog used to them.
- The day the baby comes home, have someone walk your dog and play with him for awhile — to drain your dog’s energy so he won’t be so rambunctious and overwhelming that first day.
- Play it safe. Never leave the baby alone with your dog at any time — especially during the first few months.
- Try to keep your dog well-exercised, so he doesn’t have pent up energy that could possibly be directed toward the baby.
- Don’t scold your dog for taking the baby’s things or getting in the way. That will only create frustration and rebellious actions from your dog. Always remain calm and orderly, even when it’s difficult to do so.
Drastically decreasing attention and frequently scolding, ignoring, or isolating your pet after the baby comes home will likely make your pet feel stressed. If your pet is particularly attached to the mother-to-be, another family member should develop a closer relationship with the animal. That way, the pet can still feel loved and provided for while mom is busy with the baby. Source
Do This Before The Baby Comes Home
Of course, before the baby comes home there are a few things you can do as well.
You want to make sure that your dog is ready for the new adventure. Sometimes a pet doesn’t quite know how to deal with his owner’s pregnancy.
Here are some ways to get your dog ready to meet your new baby before the baby arrives:
- Work with your dog to decrease attention-seeking behaviors like barking, pawing or jumping for example.
- Socializing your dog may be the most important thing you do before you bring your baby home.
- Familiarize yourself with your dog’s body language and subtle signals.
- Start using a flexible feeding and activity schedule with your dog that is baby-friendly.
- Work on obedience training during the activity periods, and tackle any particularly worrysome behaviors like aggression or chewing.
- Make sure that your dog knows basic commands.
- Expose your dog to what it will be like having a baby around. Try role-playing with a baby doll and other baby things (like baby sounds, making fast movements, etc). You should even leave baby items around and teaching your dog not to steal them (a burp cloth with some milk on it, pacifiers, rattles, etc). When your dog displays the desired calm behavior, reward him!
- With the baby stroller empty, practice teaching your dog to “heel” with the stroller.
- When you take your dog for a walk, allow him to get close to babies and young children who may be around along the way. This is a good way to get your pet used to children.
- Set up designated “dog zones” and incorporate “a baby schedule” get your dog used to them before the baby comes. Experimenting with crating your dog — especially if you have more than one dog, You want to get them used to sometimes being separated from one another and the rest of the family.
- Play baby sounds for your pet during the months of your pregnancy so he will know what the baby sounds like and won’t be disturbed by the new sounds. Here’s how to get your dog used to a crying baby in advance.
Create A Lifelong Bond
Following are some more ideas for getting your pet & baby to bond successfully:
- How To Introduce Your Dog To Your New Baby
- What If Your Dog Doesn’t Like The New Baby?
- ASCPA’s Tips To Help You Prepare Your Dog For A New Baby
- Here’s What To Do If Your Dog Growls At The Baby
- Cesar Millan’s Tips For Introducing Your Dog To Your Baby
- What If Your Pet Is Jealous Of The Baby?
- Introducing Your Dog To A New Baby
Did You Know?… Having a dog or cat in the house during pregnancy may help protect your baby against allergies! Source
Videos Of Dogs With Babies
These videos provide proof that dogs and babies do, in fact, establish a bond (so adorable!):
My favorite things to write about are topics that have to do with pregnancy, weddings, saving money, living green, and life with dogs. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with my husband, read, create 3D artwork and Native American beadwork.