When your pet is not the only child anymore, life becomes a little different for everyone. Certain precautions should be taken to make sure everyone is happy and safe when the family pet gets to meet the new baby. With your newest addition’s tendency to startle easily, it will no longer be an option for Fido to jump on the couch whenever he wants or to bark at the squirrels outside the window. With the pet safety information presented here, you can seamlessly introduce your family pet to your baby and create an environment where pet and baby can happily live together.
To prepare for the baby’s arrival, your pet should be taken to the veterinarian for a routine checkup and to obtain any necessary vaccinations. Getting your pet spayed or neutered often results in a calmer pet, so if your pet has not been spayed or neutered yet, having this procedure done before the baby arrives will aid in making the environment safer for your baby. Emulate an environment similar to what the home will be like with the new baby. Play pretend with a baby doll and make baby noises to familiarize your pet with what the home will be like with this new addition. Finally, address any behavioral issues your pet may display. This may include providing designated chew toys, preventing your pet from jumping up on the furniture, or setting up barriers so your pet remains out of the baby’s soon-to-be nursery.
Before bringing your baby straight home to your pet, it is a good idea to introduce a blanket or another item with your baby’s scent on it to familiarize your pet. Have your partner enter the house first to greet your pet and allow your pet to calm down enough to begin the introduction. Consider leashing your pet if you have a dog, so as to allow the introduction to happen at a controlled pace. Allow your pet to sit next to you and the baby and speak reassuringly to your pet, rewarding your pet’s appropriate behavior with treats, petting, or praise.
Life With Baby
Remember to pay attention to your pet, too. When a new baby arrives, sibling rivalry can ensue when the focus shifts from the pet to the baby. If your partner or you are still remembering to spend ample time with your cat or dog, then they are less likely to react negatively to this new presence. If attention is given to your pet, the new addition to the family is likely to be accepted as a beloved family member. In addition, when your baby begins to crawl, be sure that all pet food and water is out of reach from your baby. Similarly, if you have a pet door, make sure your child does not have access to it or that it remains locked. Finally, no matter how many pleasant interactions your baby and your pet have had in the past, proper supervision is advised.