Preparing Fido: How to Introduce Your Pet to Your Baby
We know that your beloved pet has always been an essential family member. But with the arrival of your newborn, it's still necessary to prepare your furry friend for the upcoming changes in the household so that your pooch won’t do any harm.
Introducing pets to your newborn may disrupt the existing bond between your pet and the other members of the family. Therefore, you must slowly introduce your pet to your baby, securely and positively, to avoid mishaps!
To ensure the safety and well-being of your pet and your baby, check out this guide for healthy bonding! This post covers pet and baby introduction, including pet-safety tips when introducing pets to babies, pet and baby playtime, and compatibility.
The Importance Of Preparing Your Pet for Your Baby
For many couples, their pet is their beloved companion and is often considered their child. Their pets are part of their daily lives, from sharing a bed to traveling together, spending quality time at the park, and preparing meals.
Therefore, introducing your newborn can be a significant change and cause stress for their furry friend. This results in varied unfavorable reactions such as house soiling, increased barking or whining, and even aggression.
To prevent these negative behaviors, it is crucial to gradually prepare your pet for the baby's arrival. We at Omega Pediatrics suggest taking small steps to help your pet adjust to the changes once your baby arrives.
By doing so, you can minimize the stress and ensure your pet's and baby's safety.
How To Prepare Your Fur Baby For Your Baby’s Arrival
Many pets have never been exposed to children. Hence, to ensure a smooth transition, it’s important to actively prepare your pet. These tactics will help acclimate your pet to the sight and sound of children, which are important for pet and baby safety.
Three Months Before Childbirth
- Infant Simulation At Home
You can simulate having an infant in the house through a doll, a real baby-like structure. Do this by carrying it around in a baby carrier, and placing it in a crib, bassinet, or swing to familiarize your fur baby with these baby routines.
- Walk Your Pet Around Babies
You can take your fur companion to the park to observe babies from a distance or ask mom friends if you can walk near them when their child is in a stroller.
You can also practice walking your dog while pushing a stroller to familiarize your pet with the stroller. But never loop the leash onto the stroller handle to avoid any danger to your baby if your dog gets excited or distracted.
- Let Your Pet Sniff Around
Omega Pediatrics recommends allowing your pet to investigate and sniff everything to become comfortable. Introduce your pet to baby-related smells, such as baby lotion and powder.
- Train Your Pet On “Back” Cue
According to dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, teaching your furry companion the "back" cue is helpful to establish boundaries and personal space. Use this command consistently and gradually eliminate your forward movement.
Your dog will eventually learn to back up independently, leaving enough space for the baby to be safe and comfortable.
- Get A Dog Training Class
Enrolling your furry friend in basic obedience training is highly recommended to prevent any unwanted behavior that may arise, such as jumping up to greet you. The pet instructor corrects these behaviors and prepares your pooch for your baby's arrival.
One Month Before Childbirth
- Plan For The Pet Sitter
To prepare for your hospital confinement for child delivery, plan on who will take care of your pet while you're away. They could be reliable sitters or close friends your pet is familiar with, even if you need to call them at 3 a.m. for a favor. Also, plan for any fallback.
- Enroll In Pet Daycare
If you're concerned about managing your newborn and pet during the early days, consider enrolling your furry friend in a daycare.
A reputable facility has at least two attendants for every ten animals and takes measures to prevent any aggressive behavior from bullying animals toward others.
Two Weeks Before Childbirth
- More Time And Attention for Your Pet
As the delivery date approaches, you may experience a mix of emotions, such as excitement, anxiety, and stress. These can be sensed by your pet and cause them to act out.
To calm your fur baby and help you relax as well, take a relaxing walk or spend quality time together, such as cuddling with your pet on the couch
- Preparing Your Pet’s Needs
Since the delivery date is uncertain unless it is a scheduled cesarean section, it is best to prepare for your fur baby's care. Write down your contact information for the sitter.
Also, separate the pet food into individual servings. Keep the leash visible so the sitter will find everything your pet needs if you suddenly have to go to the hospital.
How to Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby
To ensure a smooth introduction between your pet and the new baby, it's crucial to start on a positive note. Experts advise that upon arriving home with your baby, allow your husband to hold the baby while you greet your furry companion first.
To manage your furry friend's excitement upon meeting your new baby, give them attention and affection to soothe them. Once they calm down, you can sit with your baby and allow your pooch to sniff to get acquainted with the newest addition to the family.
It's also helpful to offer your pet treats, like chicken pieces, while nursing your baby to help your pet associate the baby with positive experiences.
Give time to exercise your dog since it's important for their happiness and energy levels. A lack of exercise can lead to destructive behavior. Ensure your partner or a visitor takes your furry friend for a long walk each day.
At the same time, while pets are out for a walk, you will have quality time with your baby and help your pet settle down and possibly take a nap when they return home.
How to Create A Safe Environment For Pet And Baby Together
- Offer new and different treats to your pet.
It isn’t surprising that your furry companion may not comprehend the alterations in your household due to the baby’s arrival. This increased commotion and attention may result in the pet’s undesirable behavior.
Instead of repeatedly reprimanding your pet, give him different choices that will excite him. For example, if he jumps on visitors, offer him a new chew toy as an alternative. In this way, you redirect his behavior to a positive and more appropriate activity.
- Never leave your baby unattended with a pet.
Always supervise your baby, much more so when your pet is around. Sudden movements or loud noises from the baby may provoke your pet. Unusual behavior, such as pacing or prolonged eye contact, signals that your pet is not at ease with the infant.
- Teach your baby to be gentle with your pet.
Teach your child how to pat your dog gently when she starts using her hands to explore. Demonstrating how to pet nicely will encourage your baby to imitate, and your dog can readily appreciate it.
- Let your pets and babies have separate toys.
Providing your furry friend with his own belongings can prevent him from chewing on any attractive baby toys.
- Install zoning for pet and baby safety.
To keep your baby and pet safe, set up safety gates that limit your pet's access to certain areas of your home. This allows your baby to play and explore without any possible harm from the pet.
Additionally, it's beneficial to create boundaries and keep your pet's belongings and space separate from the baby's to help them adapt to the new family structure.
What To Do If Your Pet Is Uncomfortable Around The Baby
To ensure your pet is comfortable with unfamiliar children, regularly expose your fur baby to other children to increase its pet-baby compatibility. If you have friends with kids, invite them often and ensure your pet has a good time during their visits.
Another way is to take your pet to crowded and open areas, such as parks and playgrounds, to allow your pooch to interact with kids. Then, instruct the kids on the appropriate ways to interact and play with your pet.
Also, provide the kids with some treats to offer or throw to your pet while playing.
If your pet displays signs of discomfort or aggression around your baby or other children, seek professional help immediately instead of waiting for the situation to worsen as your child grows older.
If your furry friend already likes kids, encourage the young visitors to interact with your pet by tossing its favorite toy or giving pet treats.
Get Fur Baby and Baby Play Safe and Happy!
Create a healthy and stress-free coexistence between your pet and baby through gentle training methods and good leadership. Careful planning for your baby’s arrival leads to a smooth transition and introduction of your newborn to your fur baby.
As much as we’d like your beholden pet to be comfortable with your baby, we at Omega Pediatrics aim for a safe and happy environment in your home.
In instances when your pet exhibits undesirable behavior with your baby around, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us. We will be happy to discuss ways and techniques to avert your pet’s behavior while ensuring your baby’s safety.
After all, love and compassion for your baby are Omega Pediatrics’ overwhelming joy.