Any pet owner, who is expecting a new baby, worries about how the pet will respond to the infant. This is a perfectly natural worry that many people experience at one time or another. However, there are some easy ways for people to introduce their new baby to their pets that will keep stress at a minimum on every side. Following are some terrific tips for safely introducing new infants to pets in the household.
It is essential that new parents prepare their pets well in advance of the baby’s arrival. Preparing the pets for the baby’s homecoming is just as significant as the introduction itself. Many parents-to-be start this process when they first find out they have a baby on the way. One terrific way to prepare the pets is to have them spayed or neutered. Sterilized pets are often more mild-mannered than unaltered pets and are much less apt to nip or bite.
Parents will also want to make sure that their pets are up-to-date on all their vaccinations, and have been checked for any internal or external parasites before their baby comes home. Such things as worms, fleas and ticks can harm babies; thus, parents will want to make sure their pets are worm and parasite-free. They will also want to make sure their pet’s nails are trimmed and filed neatly so that the pets do not scratch the infant.
Socialize the Pet First
It is also a smart idea to enroll the pets in a training class or socialization course. These courses can go a long way in helping people control their pets, while also strengthening the pet/owner relationship. Another terrific way to get pets ready for the baby’s homecoming is to get them used to baby-related noises and smells. Some examples include rocking in a rocking chair, playing recordings of babies crying and turning on a baby swing while the pet is around. When the pets react calmly to the sounds, give them a treat.
Introduce the “baby” Beforehand
A terrific idea is for people to use a baby doll to help get pets ready for the new addition to the family. They can do such things as wrap the doll in a blanket and hold it, or they can take the doll for a walk in the stroller while taking the pets with them, as well. They can also get the pets used to baby-related activities by bathing the dolls, changing their diapers and “feeding” them. Sprinkling baby powder or lotion on their skin can help pets get used to these smells.
People should never, under any circumstances, force their pets upon their babies and vice versa; and they should never leave pets and babies alone together despite how small the pets may be. Many of the movements and sounds of babies may alarm pets, and they may bite or scratch out of natural reflex. It is a smart idea to keep pets on leashes during the introduction so that they can be kept under control. Next, people should let their pets sniff the baby’s hands and feet while they pet the pets and keep a tight grip on their leashes.
People should never let their pets sleep with the baby or on the baby’s furniture. They should also never let the pets play with the baby’s toys, as pets can get possessive over objects that they think belong to them. It can never be stressed enough, never to leave pets alone with babies, despite how small the pets are. Even small breed dogs can get vicious when provoked, and cats can smother babies by laying on them. When people follow the tips as outlined above, introductions between pets and new babies are sure to go smoothly.
Before the New Baby Comes Home
Finally, right before the parents bring their new babies home, they should have someone take something home that has the baby’s scent on it such as an article of clothing or a receiving blanket. They should let the pets smell the item and become familiar with the scent. Now, it is time to bring the baby home and make formal introductions. It is always best to have somebody else hold the infant while greeting the pets. The pets have more than likely missed their owners and may be a bit rambunctious. Make sure that when the baby does come home there are no foreign smells such as candles burning or incense, which can confuse the pet and can cause any breathing problems with the baby when he or she comes home.
It might be a good idea when you come home for someone else to take the baby into another room while the owner spends time with their pets and plays with them. The baby should never be introduced to the pets until they have calmed down. After the pets have calmed down, people can then bring the pets with them and sit quietly next to the baby, rewarding the pets for excellent behavior.
It is essential to remember to get the pets to think that spending time with the baby is a positive experience and not a negative one.
Soon everyone will be able to get along in the household. This is not an easy transition for some pets who are used to being the center of their parents universe. Make sure you spend time with the pets as well, when the baby is down for her nap, spend some time with your cat or dog to let them know they are still special to you and you still love them as much as you did before the new baby came home.