Bringing home a new baby isn’t only going to cause a difference in your personal life, but it will also have an affect on your pet. Cats and dogs will often accept a new member of the family relatively easy, unless they were the only ones receiving your constant attention before you brought home your newborn. The following 7 tips on introducing your pet to your newborn might make the adjustment to having a baby in the house much easier on everyone.
7. Prepare Your Pet for the Newborn’s Arrival
Play tapes or CDs with baby noises on them to prepare your pet for the sounds your newborn will make. Dogs and cats tend to be curious about new things in the house and a baby not only looks different, but he sounds different too. Besides introducing your pet to the sounds a newborn makes, you might want to help the animal get used to you caring for another being as well. Carry a doll around the house and treat it like a living being. Talk to it, rock it, and watch your pet’s reaction.
6. Allow Pets to Check out the Nursery
If you’ve recently been spending a lot of time on the nursery, your pet is probably wondering what all the hubbub is about. Let him check things out and sniff around the room to see what’s going on. Animals are curious about all changes, even if it is only a minor adjustment such as a baby bed being moved into your bedroom. Give him time to look things over and reassure him that this change is a good one.
5. Watch for Any Behavioral Changes in Your Pet
Pets often retaliate to drastic changes they don’t agree with by either urinating on or chewing up items to get your attention. It could be a pair of shoes, an item that belongs to the new baby, or maybe just a fresh pee puddle in the middle of the living room. Since your pet can’t verbally explain the feelings he is having about this new addition to the family, watch out for changes in his behavior.
4. Make Sure the Newborn Can’t Get a Handful of Your Pet’s Fur
The first impression your pet is given by a newborn is often a lasting one. It might not be the pet you need to worry about. If your newborn ends up with a death grip on kitty’s tail or the dog’s ear, this innocent gesture can easily be taken as a hostile move, according to your pet. He might become very wary of the newborn and think that the baby is out to get him.
3. Make the Introduction a Gradual One
Let the animal smell some clothing or a blanket the baby has been wrapped in, before showing your pet the actual baby. If the animal acts hostile towards the smell of your newborn, then it might be a good idea to not make any actual introductions at first. Before you even bring the baby home, have someone take a blanket the newborn has been wrapped in and let the pet check it out at home. Allowing your pet to have a sort of preview of the new being that will be arriving later will make the baby seem more familiar to your pet.
2. Try to Remember to Show Your Pet That He Isn’t Being Replaced by the Newborn
Dogs seem to take a new addition to the family much harder than cats. People who have raised a puppy have provided it with love and tenderness that will now be shown to the new baby. Some dogs take this change very personal. Make sure to console your pet and let him know that he is still well loved and appreciated. Give him some one-on-one time every so often. It’s a good idea to allow your pet to hang out with you and the new baby as well, so that he is reassured that this new addition isn’t replacing him.
1. Never Leave the Pet and Baby Together Unattended
It’s sometimes difficult to know how your pet will respond to a newborn when unattended. Your pet might decide that it’s alright to lick or lay next to the baby when you aren’t looking. Either of these actions can cause a situation to turn ugly rather quickly. A sudden lick on the face might startle the baby and make him cry, causing a dog or cat to react in a harmful manner. If a pet lies to close to the baby, then it might suffocate the newborn or end up getting its fur pulled and decide to retaliate.
These 7 tips on introducing your pet to your newborn might come in handy if you are trying to decide what to do in this type of situation. What other considerations do you think need to be made when introducing pets and babies?
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