Your Baby and Your Fur Baby
Know Your Fur Baby
Knowing your pet is the most important part of this whole process. What kind of pet do you have? A dog, cat, bird, reptile, etc.? Ask yourself these questions to figure out how to go about introducing your pet to your new baby-
Is my pet friendly with people?
Has my pet ever bitten anyone or another animal?
How old is my pet?
Has he or she been around infants/children before?
What is this breed of animal known for?
Does my pet treat me differently (if pregnant)?
Once you've answered these questions you'll have a little better of an idea of what you're getting into. If your pet is a little grouchy and can get territorial you might find yourself caught in a tricky situation. Luckily there are a few things you can do to make the process of meeting the baby or kids easier before they even arrive!
Play Infant/Children Noises
Start getting your pet used to hearing certain noises. You can go on Youtube and find videos of babies crying, cooing, and maybe even some baby talk. Play them at a low tone in the house and see how your pet reacts. I would do this regularly a few months or so before your baby arrives, or children arrive. If your pet seems to be reacting in a positive way I would increase the sound and continue to play as frequently as you feel is necessary. You can even leave the noise playing n the nursery where your baby will be.
Start getting your home ready and placing the baby stuff through out the home. You can install your car seat and leave the car seat in the house near the door. Place the height chair in the kitchen or dining room. Set your nursery up and walk your pet through it. Let them smell and get a sense of what all of the things are. It will be a big enough impact to bring another human into the house- let them get used to anything you have before hand.
How is the Current Temperament
If you are pregnant you might notice your pets are acting different towards you. Do they seem more affectionate? Do they focus on your belly at all? My golden used to lay on my belly with his head all the time while I was pregnant and he doesn't do it anymore since my son was born. Since being born they have been inseparable.
Once your baby is born, or child is ready to come into the home, get your pet used to their smell before they meet. This way you can introduce them without physically meeting each other and you can see how they react to their smell.
You can grab the blanket or clothes your baby, or child, was wearing home and give it to your pet. You can place it on the floor in front of them or hold it and see what they do. Your pet might pick it up and lay with it, maybe lick it and nuzzle it (which is a good sign). Tail wagging, purring, or laying with the items is all a plus!
If your animal does not take to the item you might see some growling or hissing from your pet. He or she may even bark if not sure how they feel about the smell. Be sure to introduce slowly and not get your pet worked up to help ease them into it. After all, meeting a new member of the family is very exciting. Give them a day with the item to get used to it and see how they feel after a night adjusting to the smell.
Once your pet has had a smell introduction it's time for the real one. If your pet reacted in a positive way to the new smell you can use your discretion on whether or not a leash is necessary. You might want to leash your pet if you have a large breed dog just because they can get very excited and usually have huge paws- we don't want any accidents!
If you are bringing home a newborn I would not suggest leaving them in the car seat when introducing them to your pet. This may freak out your pet and they might not understand what is going on. Instead place the car seat on the counter and take your little one out. You can sit on the couch with your baby and have your partner hold your pet on their lap or close by to let them smell you both at a safe distance and see the new member of the family.
When it comes to small children and toddlers I've found that rather than holding the children up high away from the pets they tend to react better if at the same level. But please be aware of your children and pets moves. Let them smell each other and get used to each other before making any quick moves or especially any quick grabs (those little ones can be fast) !
Maintaining a Positive Relationship
Educate Your Little Ones
It's never too early to show your little ones how to treat animals. Show them how to pet rather than pull and what is and what isn't okay. Some pets have boundaries while others are more mellow. Watch for anything that can put your baby and your pet in harms way.
If your pet is okay with your child grabbing their toys, have them toss the ball to the dog or put a treat on the floor for their cat. Let your pet know that they are their to play with them and share in the fun.
Keep Your Pet Happy
Pets can feel neglected after the arrival of a new family member. Remember to maintain your pets happiness by still going for walks or playing fetch. Or maybe just some treats and head scratches. A little bit goes a long way with them. This way your pet will not feel left out on all the new attention your baby is receiving.
Educate Your Pet
Teach your pet how to be gentle and calm when babies or toddlers are around. Some pet's just know what little humans are and that they are delicate. While others need a little training. You can try to drain their energy out a little before you know you'll need a little down time with the tiny humans. Throw a ball for 5-10 minutes in the back yard to help release anything before your children come down stairs for the day.
Nails Nails Nails
Another key thing you'll want to make sure you do with any pet is to make sure their nails are trimmed! Sometimes our pets get excited and don't realize how powerful their paws can be and can scratch a little one by accident. Or sometimes it's not an accident and they go in for a good clawing. Keep everyone safe and happy and keep your pets nails trimmed. If you have cats they actually make a nail cap cover to keep cats from scratching! So you'll be protecting your furniture while also protecting your little ones! Link Below for the gel nail covers.
- Kitty Caps Cat Nail Caps, Color Varies, 40 count, Small - Chewy.com
Buy Kitty Caps Cat Nail Caps, Color Varies, 40 count, Small at Chewy.com. FREE shipping and the BEST customer service!