Safe At Home: Introducing Your Pet And New Baby

For parents, welcoming a new baby into the family is one of life’s greatest moments. Unfortunately, this wonderful milestone in our lives may be a confusing and upsetting one for our four-legged family members.

Introducing a pet and new baby can be tricky, but with the right attitude and plenty of preparation, the transition can be a smooth one. Let your team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital pave the way!

Plan, Plan, Plan

Figuring out where where a new little one will sleep, picking out tiny adorable outfits, and gathering diapers and other newborn essentials is all part of the fun of getting ready for baby. Getting your pet prepared in advance for the new addition too will go a long way toward easing jealousy and creating a lasting bond:

  • Make sure your dog has a good grasp of basic manners and obedience, and fully cooperates with commands such as “leave it” or “go to your bed”. Start now to train dogs not to jump up on people, as this can be dangerous when someone is holding the baby.
  • If your pet’s daily routine will change in any way once baby is here, make those changes gradually in the months and weeks leading up to the birth.
  • Lessen the amount of time you spend playing with and interacting with your pet as the birth approaches.
  • Play recordings of baby crying and other vocalizations to prepare your pet for the new sounds that are soon to enter the home. Offer treats while the recording plays to create a positive association.
  • For the safety of your newborn, bring your pet to the veterinarian before the baby is born to make sure he or she is up to date on vaccines and parasite preventives.

Introducing Your Pet And New Baby

The big day has arrived! Before your baby comes home, have someone bring something the baby has touched, such as a blanket or article of clothing, home for your pet to smell. When the time comes to enter the home with the baby, use the following tips for a smooth transition:

  • If possible, enter your home without the baby at first so that you can greet your pet one-on-one.
  • When your baby comes into the house, enlist the help of another adult to offer treats, ask your pet to sit, and generally help to keep him or her calm. Dogs and cats can pick up on our emotions, so strive to keep the mood light and positive.
  • When you are ready, invite your pet to investigate the baby while you are holding him or her. Dogs should be leashed and held by another adult, and only invited if their demeanor is relaxed and happy.

In order to avoid creating a negative association with the baby in your pet’s mind, be sure to continue paying attention to him or her while you are taking care of your child. Taking time each day for a little bit of alone time with your pet can do wonders for one who is feeling a little jealous or anxious.

Rule Number One

The most important thing to remember about introducing a pet and new baby is to never, ever leave them alone together. No matter how much you trust your pet, or how long you have had him or her, your pet is still a member of the animal kingdom, which makes them unpredictable. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the staff at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital with your questions!

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posted in:  You & Your Pet