Can a new baby's soiled diapers trigger a marking war for resident dogs and cats?
I am asking this because there seems to be conflicting and largely unsupported information on the web about this. I am due in less than a month and among my cats and dogs, I have one male feline and one male canine who use this strategy to "express themselves."
However, the answer is more complicated than that.
Dogs live in packs, you are (or should be) the pack leader, any other member of the family comes next and last is the dog. if you have multiple dogs, they'll decide for themselves who is more or less dominant.
A new born baby is a new member of the pack, generally starting at the bottom of the pack.
Here's what you need to do: Use as many tricks to make the newborn baby higher up the ladder in the pack. Examples are taking away the food with the baby's hands while the dog is eating, making the dogs move for the baby instead of vice versa, etc ...
If your baby is more dominant than your dog (in the world of the dogs) you will not have problems with the diapers (nor with agressive behaviour when the baby goes first, takes food, etc).
Cats on the other hand are no pack animals. If your cat decides your baby is a threat to their territory they could start spraying everywhere.
To try and fix it is simply correcting your cat on the spot (water is very efficient, spray some when you see your cat urinating in-house).
I'm not sure what side of the debate I'd stand on. I've never had a cat or dog marking territory simply because a baby was in the house. However, I did have one cat that, with no babies in the house decided to stop using his litter box. We thought it was possible he had a medical problem causing it, but when we talked to the vet, the first thing he asked was whether or not there had been any major changes in the house. The answer was yes because my older brother had gone away to boot camp. The conclusion was my brother had given the cat a lot of attention and, since he wasn't there and other people weren't paying much attention, the cat got it in a negative way by urinating on the floor. If you have a similar problem, try giving the pets some extra attention while the baby is sleeping. I don't know if it will help if you do have the problem, but it's worth a try.
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