How to successfully introduce your pet to your newborn
Preparing for a new baby is such an exciting time. Decorating a nursery, buying furniture and setting up all of your baby paraphernalia makes it easy to forget to get your family pet ready. It can be daunting introducing your baby to your fur baby but while you’re using the nine months preparing every other aspect of your lives, you should be preparing your cat or dog to. No matter the temperament of your pet, change can be stressful for them and getting them ready for a new tiny human, new smells and new noises is important to make your little family a happy one. Being pregnant with a pet can be worrying for some expectant mothers due to not knowing how the pet-baby relationship will work, worrying about fleas and worms and being nervous about the baby being in danger. A lot of expectant mothers worry about how to introduce dog to baby, or cat to baby. However, with the right planning and preparation your little family will be absolutely fine. Here are a 10 easy tips to make sure it all runs smoothly for you.
- Nip any behavioural problems in the bud – if your pet jumps up when he gets excited, climbs on all your furniture or is a bit rough when playing you now have nine months to combat this behaviour. Making sure you’re in charge will ensure there’s no incidents with your pet.
- Claim your babies scent – before you bring baby home, take back a cloth with his or her scent on. Let your pet sniff this cloth but ensure you’re in control of when and how long it can do so. This teaches your pet that you’re the owner of this scent and that you’re in charge.
- Set boundaries – you don’t want your pet climbing all over your sleeping baby or spreading animal fur in their bed so before the babies arrival, set up boundaries of where your pet is allowed to go - safety gates are a great way to do this. Let your pet into the nursery with you but be in control of where it goes and when it leaves.
- Don’t forget your pet – suddenly being around new noises, smells and routine can be very stressful for your pet. Make sure you’re still giving it lots of attention and keep an eye on its behaviour to ensure your pet isn’t stressed or uncomfortable.
- Give your pet its own space – making sure your pet has its own space to go when it’s feeling stressed, tired or just wants to be alone is important. Your baby takes over a lot of your house with toys, clothes and blankets so giving your pet a place that’s only his or hers will make them comfortable.
- Move food – if your pet eats its food on the floor or in a place where your baby might want to explore it’s important to move this before he or she starts pottering around your house.
- Prepare your pet – prepare your pet for the new arrival in advance. Allow it to explore the new furniture, introduce it to new smells from products and you can even play sounds of a baby crying and gargling to introduce these new senses before the baby arrives.
- Teach your baby – teach your baby from a young age boundaries with your pet. Do not allow it to pull on your pets tail, poke it too hard or slobber all over it. Teaching your children to be respectful of pets removes a lot of the danger from later interactions with other animals you don’t know.
- Introduce your pet to others – if it’s safe and easy to do so, introducing your pet to your friends or families babies or children can get it ready for the arrival of your newborn.
- Hygiene – making sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations, worming and flea medication before and after the arrival of your baby can help keep you and your family safe.