Introducing Your Pet to Your New Baby
Welcoming a new baby is a happy and joyous time however your pets may not feel the same way. Introducing your pet to your new baby can be daunting to him/her. Much like a human being, pets can feel left out and ignored once the newest addition to your family is home and taking up all your attention. Here is a handy checklist to help you ease your pets stress levels, make sure that your pets still feels loved and most importantly that your new baby is safe around them.
Take Your Pet to the Vet
For starters, make sure your pet is up to date with all his vaccinations and a routine health exam is performed. If your pet is not yet neutered, please take your pet to get spayed or neutered. This will make him/her less likely to bite and makes them calmer. The added bonus is that they will have fewer health problems that are associated with their reproductive systems.
Manis and Pedis
Make sure your pets nail are nice and trimmed and get him or her used to you trimming them. This will make your life so much easier when the baby finally arrives and you cut the risk of your baby getting scratched.
Do you have any friends or family members who have infants? Invite them over and invite them often! This will help towards getting your pet having a baby around the house. Make sure to alert your friends and family of your intentions before inviting them over.
Speak to the Experts
Discuss with your veterinarian and fears you may have regarding your pet and your baby living together. Discuss also with your pediatrician any recommendations they may have to ease your mind as well as to help you prepare properly. Take the time to address any behavioral or training issues your pet may have. These include biting, swatting, displays of anxiety, pouncing etc… The best way to do this would be through an animal behavior specialist.
You should train your pet to remain calmly at your side on the floor until you invite him up to your lap. This will reduce or totally eliminate the chances of your pet jumping on the baby while you are holding him or her.
You can also take a pet training class with your pet. This will not only train your pet for desired behaviors but also help you feel more comfortable and confident knowing that you can better control your pets behavior.
• Sprinkle baby powder on yourself or use baby oil or baby lotion to get your pet used to the scents of having a baby at home.
• Turn on baby “sounds” such as recordings of other babies crying (You Tube has lots of these kinds of videos). Also turn on your baby swing if you have one. While doing these things, keep the atmosphere positive with treats for your pet. The key is to make your pet see this as a good thing.
• If your pet is attached to the mom to be, then have someone else in the home develop a close relationship with the pet. This will help the pet feel less rejected when is busy.
• Remember to always reward positive behaviors.
When it Comes to Dogs – Control, Control, Control!
If you have a dog, make sure to take your dog on a long walk before meeting the baby. Make it a really long walk to drain his energy. Right before you walk back in the house, make sure your pet is in a calm mood, have him sit/heel. Whomever is holding the baby must be in a calm, relaxed mood otherwise your dog will sense it and feel stress. Let him sniff the baby from a distance. The first time they meet do not allow them to be too close. No face to face interaction yet! As time goes by and you do this everyday and frequently, allow your dog to get closer and closer to the baby – by doing this, you are teaching the dog to respect the baby and keep his distance respectfully.
Once your child is crawling and able to move around on his/her own, make sure to control and observe all interactions between him/her and your dog. Now is when you teach your child not to poke the dog, yank her tail or bother the dog.
Bottom line, treat this the same way you would if you had other children. The addition of a new baby will be demanding most of your attention. This can cause your other children and pets to feel ignored, left out and unwanted. Training your pet before your baby comes home will lessen the stress of your pet. It will also help lessen the chances of scolding, isolation and decreased attention for your pet.
Feel free to contact us anytime or stop by any our offices if you have any questions. We will be more than glad to help!