Introducing Your Pet to Your New Baby
Babies mean changes in the home - new sights, sounds and smells and diversion of the adult's attention. These
changes may make your dog or cat feel threatened. Below are some tips from various sources for making this transition
go smoothly and helping to ensure a positive relationship between your furry 'babies' and your human baby.
While some 'jealousy' is normal, with some simple information and planning, you can make the arrival of a new baby much less
stressful for you and your pet.
Congratulations on your new family member!
Introduce scents, such as baby powder and lotion, before the baby arrives.
Once you have the nursery set up, allow your pet to inspect it. Install a baby gate and begin
using it, or close the door when you aren’t around so your pet doesn’t have run of the baby's room. This
helps establish boundaries before baby comes home.
Try to keep your dog or cat's schedule consistent. Make anticipated alterations
to your pet's walking/outdoor schedule and feeding and indoor routines in advance of baby's arrival. For example,
you can put up baby gates around the home and change walk times to when there will be someone else to watch
baby about a month in advance. (Baby back or front packs can be a good solution for incorporating dog walks with baby.)
If you have had a dog walker come daily while you have been working, you may want to plan to
continue this routine while you are busy with your newborn.
Once the baby is born, have someone take a piece
of baby clothing or a baby blanket home for your pet to smell.
Keep baby's homecoming calm. Your pet will already be very excited to see mom and the new baby
- too many people or stimuli may be overwhelming.
Have someone carry the baby in so that mom can greet the pet. Once your pet has
settled down, you can introduce pet and baby.
Keep the first meeting brief and supervised. Allow some gentle sniffing, and provide a means
of positive attention to your pet with praise, and someone may wish to hold your pet (or keep the pet leashed) so s/he does
not get too excited and jump on baby.
Spend some special quality time each day with your pet, as well as soon after baby
When the baby awakes and begins crying, provide reassurance to your pet to help alleviate any
agitation at the new sound.
Provide postitive reinforcement to your pet when baby is around to make baby
a positive association. Give pet treats, praise or pats when baby is near.
Even if the relationship seems to be progressing very well, as a safety precaution, do not leave
the baby and pet together unsupervised.
As baby grows, realize that toddlers do not have a good sense of what might hurt
a dog, and they cannot read signals that dog is sending to 'back off now'. Although many dogs are very tolerant of their
small family members, it is inappropriate to expect your dog to be poked, prodded and pulled on by toddlers with no reaction. Adults
in the home will be responsible for ensuring the safety and comfort of both pet and child, and teaching children respect and
gentle behavior towards the family pets.
Fairy Dogparents wishes your family (both 2 and 4-legged) many happy years together.