A new baby is one of the most exciting gifts life has to offer, but pet owners may be worried about how their furry companion will react with a newborn child. However, there is no reason to add undue stress to your life; with a little bit of planning you can easily transition your pet from a baby-free house into a house with a small child that will be demanding of your time and attention.
Time Management for Pets
The thing that pet owners will have to get used to is that they will not have as much time and attention for their pet as they did before, but that doesn’t mean their relationship will fall into neglect. Let’s explore some of the things that you can expect when you’re expecting!
Make the Change Gradually
Your pet is not oblivious: they will notice that things are starting to change around the house, room changes, baby paraphernalia, etc. Help your pet get used to the oncoming change gradually. If you make these changes suddenly it will be very stressful for your pet and they won’t be likely to associate good things with the baby.
If you plan to allow your pet into the child’s room, then let the pet become familiar with the new room while you are pregnant. This is especially important for cat owners since cats like to jump on and into things. If you don’t want your cat jumping into the crib train your pet using an adhesive deterrent like Sticky Paws on the edges of the crib. Netting covers can also be an effective training method for your pet.
If your pet is not going to be allowed into the newborn’s bedroom, then safety gates or screen doors are a good route to go. These barriers allow your pet to see and hear what is going on in the room without admitting them in, which makes them feel less isolated and in turn makes your transition from a non-baby to baby household that much smoother for your pet.
Create a New Vibe
When the baby arrives, there is going to be a lot less time for your pets. Instead of this abrupt change, start getting them used to what your schedule and attention is going to be like once the baby is in the house. The daily schedule of the home as it relates to the pet should be pre-adjusted before the baby comes home. For example, if you are going to be walking your dog and pushing a stroller at the same time, bring a baby stroller and put a doll in the seat when you take the dog out for a walk. A number of vets and doctors alike recommend acclimating the dog to the presence of a newborn through the use of a surrogate doll.
Introduce the New Baby
Before bringing your new baby home with you, introduce your pet to the child via scent. Send a blanket or article of clothing home before you and the baby arrive so that your pet can investigate the scent and get used to it. When you do arrive home have someone else carry the baby and greet your pet in a calm manner. When it is finally time to make the introductions let your pet approach the baby. If your pet starts to get too excited or if things get out of control take your baby out of the room instead of banishing your cat or dog. Your attitude around your pet is going to be the most important thing during this transition period.
To get more information talk to your doctor, your veterinarian, or look for online support groups that can help you make the transition into having a baby at home as easy as possible for you and your pet.