Before we have our human babies, our fur babies are our children…and always will be our first babies. A lot of people wonder (including myself) what is the best way to introduce a newborn to your pets when that time comes for your family? My husband and I will be having our first child in January and do not know the first thing on how to introduce our pets to our son properly:) So here I am, researching and updating you guys! This will also be my last blog as my last day with Little Friends is Halloween….I will be taking on my new full time role as a Mom. I will miss all of you dearly! xoxo
I have researched a couple of good sites and this is the one I liked best:
First step, when you find out you are expecting..ask yourself , “Are there things that your pets do that are annoying habits to you and your spouse?” If so, consider signing them up for some classes to help with obedience issues, now.
“Many dogs have never been around children before. Little people do unpredictable things that adults do not, for example: make sudden movements, shriek, and get in dogs’ faces. To give your pet exposure to tots, take him to the park to see how he reacts to babies from a distance, Stilwell suggests. Ask mom friends if you may walk near them when they have their kiddo in a stroller—or, if things go well, even alongside them. These tactics will gradually acclimate your dog to the sight and sound of children.” http://www.parents.com/parenting/pets/babies/preparing-for-baby/
Three months before your due date—- Actively prep your pets for their new sibling, they suggest buying a doll and carrying it around with you, like you would your infant. You can put the doll in the swing, bassinet or crib. “You want the dog to become familiar with these items now, not when your baby is in them,” says Betsy Saul, cofounder of PetFinder.com, an online pet-search site. Let your hound investigate everything the way he does best—by sniffing. “And introduce him to smells like baby lotion and powder,” Saul says.
One month before your due date–Do you know who will be feeding and walking your dogs while you and your spouse are at the hospital? Start to get some friends or sitters lined up for when you are at the hospital during delivery:) Keep in mind you will be away from home for a couple of days!
Two weeks before delivery date—Have your dog’s ducks in a row, because unless you have a scheduled cesarean, your due date is anyone’s guess! “Divide your pet’s food into individual servings, jot down pertinent phone numbers for your sitter, and keep the leash in a visible place. This way, if you have to head to the hospital suddenly, your pooch’s caregiver can find everything in a flash.”
Put some goodies away just in case, as your pet will most likely be confused with the abrupt change in schedule. “Keeping him busy is crucial for his well-being and decreases the chance of behavioral problems,” says VetStreet.com dog trainer Mikkel Becker, who suggests Kong toys (rubber toys you fill with food). “They keep a dog focused on a productive outlet that releases energy in an acceptable way.”
One week before your due date–You most likely have a million emotions going on in your head right now and your pet is probably picking up on those feelings, and may act out. “Take a leisurely stroll if you’re up for it, or cuddle with your pets on the couch. The TLC will calm your canines and help you feel more relaxed and ready for the impending life shake-up too.”
While you are in the hospital—have Daddy or Grandma take home one of your baby’s first bodysuits or blankets so your dog can get used to your child’s smell, Saul says. By the time Baby comes home, your pooch will recognize and accept the strange new scent. “There’s quite a difference between the initial sniff-down and a friendly recheck,” Saul say
Coming home—Brace for lots of licks! Your pooch is going to be overjoyed to reunite with you. “Let your husband hold the baby when you walk into your house,” Stilwell says. “Greet the dog first, since he’s missed you and will probably give you an enthusiastic hello. Then, after he’s chilled out, sit down with your baby and let your dog sniff him to get acquainted.” The first few times you nurse or give your baby a bottle, ask your husband or mother to dole out a handful of small, treats, to your pet. “Dogs sense that nursing is intimate,” Saul says. “If they learn they get rewarded for being tranquil, they’ll associate feedings with positive times.”
In the midst of all the newborn’s demands, don’t forget that exercise is your pup’s happy pill. If he’s not getting enough, he’ll find a way to burn off his energy—even if it means raiding the garbage! Have your partner (or a visitor) take your dog for a long walk each day. It will allow you QT with your munchkin and help Fido settle down. He may curl up for a nap as soon as he comes home!
First weeks—Your dog probably doesn’t entirely grasp why the home life he knew is changing. With all the additional stimulation, he may get into more trouble than usual. Stilwell advises: “Rather than scold him and say, ‘no, no, no,’ all the time, teach him another choice. Redirect his behavior toward something that will make him happy.” He’s jumping on well-wishers? Remind him he has a new chew toy.
“Include your dog in baby-related activities,” Becker says. Let him sit nearby when you’re changing a diaper, and talk to both of your “babies” while you’re at it. You’ll give your pups attention and build Baby’s language skills too. Eventually, your infant will go from being the stranger your dog is uncertain about to his favorite playmate and lifelong pal! (see below)
Keeping the peace between your dogs & baby— Your pups and baby will live happily ever after, just like you and your prince charming. Just will be an small adjustment period:) Here are a few tips from Heidi Ganahl and Dacia Henshaw, of Camp Bow Wow, in Boulder, Colorado.
1. Zone Out: Install safety gates/put up baby gates to designate rooms that are off-limits to your pooch (if any). This way, baby can perfect his/her rolling and crawling in peace.
2. Stock Up on Playthings: If your pup has his own toys, he’s less likely to chew on any cute baby toys you received as gifts. Basically, if your pup is low on toys, get some extra toys now:)
3. Avoid Food Fights: Keep your dog’s bowls on the counter when it’s not mealtime. Once your child is mobile, she/he can create a mess of sloshed water (which also poses a drowning risk) or may sample the kibble (choking hazard). Plus, some dogs get territorial around chow.
4. Teach Your Baby to Be Gentle: As your tot begins exploring with their hands, she might grab Fido’s fur (just like the first photo at the beginning of the article)…Show her/him how to pet nicely. They will mimic Mommy—and your pups will thank you.
5. Always Supervise: Never, ever leave your child alone with your pet. Infant behavior (squealing, a quick maneuver) could unexpectedly irritate your pets. Watch for pacing or unusual eye contact, which could indicate your pups are not comfortable with baby. But who are we kidding? All of our fur babies are perfect…right? Hehe.