Baby’s Arrival: How to Prepare Your Pets

Was Fido your first born? Maybe your foray into motherhood was with Snowball the kitten. If so, a pregnancy doesn’t just flip your life upside down, but also the furry inhabitants of your home. Here are a few pointers on how to prep your furbabies for baby’s arrival.

When you find out you’re expecting

If Fido doesn’t know common commands like “sit” and “stay,” now is the time to learn. Sign him up for an obedience class, or watch some Youtube tutorials to try your hand at training at home. Things that seemed like fun tricks before will now be necessary rules to keep your pooch’s well-intentioned excitement at bay.  

Additionally, make sure your furry companion has a “safe spot.” This needs to be a place where your pet can retreat when he feels overwhelmed. This can be a whole room, such as the laundry room, or for a dog, a kennel, and a cat, high shelves. These need to be spaces where they feel they can be alone and untouched.

A couple of months from due date

These steps might make you feel a bit crazy, but trust us, your critters will be worse for the wear without this added preparation. At this stage, you really need to start getting your animals used to the idea of an addition in the household. Try carrying a doll around, speaking to it in your best baby voices, and toting it around in a carrier.

For a dog, take him on a walk with a stroller. Your neighbors might give you the side-eye for walking an empty stroller, but this will teach your pooch valuable lessons in how to walk safely with both of you.

Immediately before your due date

Now is the time to find some tried and true pet sitters–who can you call at any time, day or night, to watch your first baby while you welcome your new addition into the world? This might also be a good time to consider enlisting your pup in doggie daycare at his vet. It can be overwhelming enough adjusting to a new baby, but juggling a dog as well can be too much for a new mom.

Bringing baby home

Be prepared for Fido or Fluffy to act out once they have to share your attention with someone else. Instead of scolding him every time, try redirecting his attention to a different behavior. This can help your furry child better adapt to acceptable behaviors in a post-baby world. Also, include your critter in baby activities. This can be as small as a diaper change–just make sure you talk to both animal and baby. Showing your pet that he will still receive attention despite all the changes will make leaps and bounds in his adjustment process.

As baby grows and becomes more mobile, make sure you teach him to treat your pet with gentleness early on. Soon they’ll be much more than housemates, they’ll be lifelong pals.  

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