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Tips for Introducing the New Baby to Your Pet

Updated on September 10, 2013

When Pet Meets Baby

Sometimes it's hard to say how your pets will react to a new baby in the house. Depending on their nature and personality, it could be easy or it could be more high maintenance than you'd like.

But, that's why I'm giving you a few tips and tricks to use when it's time to bring home your new baby to meet the family (er, pets).

Image courtesy of Dan Harrelson on Flickr.

Image by i eated a cookie on Creative Commons
Image by i eated a cookie on Creative Commons

Prepare in Advance

Start New Routines

If you have a cat who is used to free reign of the house, close off the baby's room several weeks in advance if you don't want the cat in there. This way, the cat will begin to understand that he's not allowed in the nursery and not associate this change as a negative that came with the new baby.

Same with your dogs. Close off any areas that you will restrict the dogs from once baby arrives.

Any other changes you'll make, such as the animals' feeding schedules or walks, should be changed well in advance of baby's arrival.

A Book to Study - It's a Goodie!

Childproofing Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Dog for the Children in Your Life
Childproofing Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Dog for the Children in Your Life

If you want to take this topic more seriously and find out more on this subject, then here is the book for you!

 
Image by theogeo on Flickr
Image by theogeo on Flickr

Visit the Vet

Check for Health Concerns

Have your pets checked out by their vet for any conditions that might require treatment. You might be less apt to notice a change in behavior caused by illness if you're attributing it to baby's arrival.

Also, if you're going to change your dog's shampoo or flea collar to organic ones, do it now so you can all get used to them.

When Dog Meets Baby - YouTube Video

Image by CarbonNYC on Flickr
Image by CarbonNYC on Flickr

Help Them Adjust

Give it Time

Spend lots of quality time with your pets before the baby is born. A few days before baby comes, back off a little so your dog won't miss you as much when you're attending to baby.

Let pets get a whiff of your baby blanket ahead of time. If you have creams, lotions, shampoos, and blankets ready for baby, let your pet sniff them to become familiarized with the scent.

Photo by Jacobim Mugatu on Flickr
Photo by Jacobim Mugatu on Flickr

Share the Scent

Let Them Meet

Once baby is born, send a family member home with something baby has worn. It could be the little hospital hat they give you or a baby teddy bear or even a sock. Once pets get used to the new smell, it will become a familiar part of their world.

The day baby comes home, have things as toned down as possible. Ask the pet sitter, if you have one, to walk the dog before baby arrives so he won't make a mess if he's over-excited.

When you come through the door, greet your pet as usual and show baby off to her. Let her see what's inside the bundle you're carrying.

Let Them Play - Safely & Keep Watch

Photo courtesy of Edenpictures on Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of Edenpictures on Creative Commons

Normalize Everything

Stay Calm & In Control

Sit down on the couch or other area you usually sit with your pet. Show baby to your dog and cat, and let your pets get a good look at baby. Act as though nothing has changed and remain calm if your pet seems curious.

The worst thing you can do is swat a well-meaning pet away just for looking. Your pet will view the new bundle as a threat.

Give your pet a new toy with baby right nearby, or even better get them a nice pet gift basket where you can give them a new toy every now and then. Your pet will begin to associate good things with this strange new person who's joined the family.

Image by Gudlyf on Flickr
Image by Gudlyf on Flickr

Use Common Sense

Don't Trust Your Pets Too Much

Above all, use your head. Baby's safety comes first. Do not leave baby on the floor in a car seat or carrier while you run to answer the phone or use the powder room. Always take baby with you so there's no danger of a close encounter between baby and your pets.

Do not put baby near any reptiles, rodents, or birds that you keep as pets. They can carry bacteria that would be harmful to baby if she accidentally came in contact with it.

Image by georgia.kral on Flickr
Image by georgia.kral on Flickr

Give Them Love

All We Need is Love

Most pets will calm down after the first day. Reassure your pet several times a day that they are still loved and that baby hasn't taken their place. Even though you'll be exhausted and up all kinds of crazy hours, make time to take a special walk with your dog or brush your cat. A few moments of quality time with you will go a long way for a pet who feels displaced.

Maybe Baby Will Even Learn Something! - Like How to Groom Themselves...

Image by Tobyotter on Flickr
Image by Tobyotter on Flickr

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    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 6 years ago

      The introduction of the first baby into the home with a pet that has been the center of attention for years can be difficult. That said, you have offered some great advice here.