Introducing Your Pet and Newborn

Although they look nothing like us, pets are often considered our “babies.” We celebrate birthdays with them, cuddle with them and always have their best interests at heart. Many couples become parents to pets long before deciding to have a child together. If you’re planning on adding a human baby to the mix, it’s best to ease into the transition during your pregnancy. This will help ensure the two of them are happy, safe and become the best of friends for many years to come!

Bark To Bump

Bringing home a newborn means modifying usual routines — something both cats and dogs are not particular fans of. By slowly implementing changes during your pregnancy, your furry or winged “pre-baby baby” will have adequate time to get acclimated to the new addition and all of the interesting smells! If your pet has separation anxiety or gets scared every time you buy something new, it’s especially critical to begin lifestyle changes as early as possible.

It’s fair to say that once baby arrives, you’ll have significantly less time to spend with your pets. Actively plan on reducing the amount of time you spend with them, but be sure to implement it slowly. It may sound tough at first, but it will help gracefully shift their role from the center of attention. This may also require adjusting feeding and walking schedules accordingly. Obedience skills may also be worth refreshing if their manners are lacking. For example, if you’ve got a hyper pup who likes to jump on people and thinks “sit!” is a joke, obedience training is recommended. Introducing your pet to other children and babies prior to the arrival of your newborn is a great way to prevent dogs and cats from feeling caught off guard by their loud, unpredictable behaviors.

When Pooch Met Peanut

As you excitedly prepare for the day your newborn comes home, allow pets the opportunity to sniff out and conceptualize any baby-related items. Diapers, baby powder and cribs are common introductory scents pets should familiarize with. Let them see you in action as you set up the nursery — if they do something that would potentially harm the baby, try to correct the bad behavior. Don’t allow them the opportunity to get ahold of blankets or get on baby’s furniture. If you have a cat that loves to snuggle in every room of the house, shutting the nursery door might be the best option for now.

When you arrive home, newborn in-tow, be sure to greet pets alone first. This is just a recommended precaution to prevent any injuries from excited jumping. Give pets a few days to adjust to new sounds and smells before putting your newborn within close range. Then leash-up and let the official sniffing begin! Always give your pet lots of love and affection when the little one is around. If they happen to grab one of your child’s toys, don’t reprimand them — you don’t want your little one’s smell linked to any feelings of negativity. Just replace baby’s toy with a dog toy when you have the opportunity. And remember — always supervise any interactions between the two!

Adding a newborn to the pack is an exciting time for any family. With the proper preparation, patience and supervision, pet and baby are sure to become the most adorable best friends ever!  

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