Four Dog Worries for New Parents and How to Get Over Them
Doggies are Not Disposable
Throughout the course of a person's life events often happen that change our lives radically. Some of these events, such as death, severe and debilitating illness, or maybe the loss of our home and assets necessitates that we find our beloved pets new homes. But having a baby most certainly does not have to be one of these events! It saddens me greatly to see all of the wonderful dogs at the shelter who were brought in because a young couple was having a baby. These aren't vicious killing machines, they're sweet, doe-eyed love machines like my Hunter to the right. Let's examine some of the reasons why a couple might give up their dog before having a child.
This is one of the top reasons couples give up dogs before having a baby. Either they have been overly cautioned by a doctor, or are just overly worried themselves. Chances are if both parents are not allergic to dogs, then the child won't be either. Besides, it's far better to wait and see rather than just dumping the dog "in case". Hermetically sealing your child in bubble wrap will not make him or her any healthier. In order to build up and immune system children need to be exposed to those awful germs and doggy dander that float around. While the future parents may mean well by giving up a dog for this reason, doing so really ends up hurting everyone involved.
Fear of Jealousy
Many parents are also fearful that their dog will be jealous of the new baby. While some dogs may not be happy with receiving less attention, with the right handling new parents can manuver through the situation just fine. The key is to include your canine companion in the new happenings with the baby. Don't keep dog and baby separated by a steel wall, introduce them to each other, though always under supervision. Many dogs even feel a profound affection for children, and will guard them or herd them depending on the breed. With very small dogs however it is wise to keep some distance between the two, simply because tiny toy dogs are so breakable that the baby may hurt that three pound chihuahua without meaning too, which leads to bites and so on.
Not Enough Time
Many new parents also think that they won't have enough time to take care of a dog and a baby. But in reality, while dogs take more care than cats, they really just need food, love, exercise and a backyard to potty in. If a new parent is worried about time than he or she is either overly worried (very common for first time parents) or it's time to re-evaluate priorities. Dinner out, time with the TV, and shopping are not more important than the canine friend who counts on human love to live. Mix activities when possible, such as walking the baby in the stroller and the dog at the same time.
A Buddy for Life
When the day comes that the little baby is all grown up, he or she is not going to remember the dog from their childhood as a big scary monster, but as a loving friend and companion whom they miss very much. Think back to your childhood. Did you have a dog? Did you love them, and miss them still? Chances are if you had a dog you have very fond memories of him, and if you didn't you sure wish that you had. New parents need to let go of all their worries concerning their new baby and their dog(s), and just take one day at a time. Let your dog help welcome your new addition to the family with love and a big slurpy kiss.