Preparing Pets for Baby
When bringing home baby, often the last loved one thought about to introduce your new bundle of joy to is your pet. This is often a huge deal breaker for pets, so preparing your pet for baby is essential.
Cats and dogs alike see their home as their domain. This is their main environment, so when someone new enters it can be traumatizing. Some say it can take even 2-3 months for your dog to accept your infant as a member of the homestead. With that in mind, introducing baby to pet slowly can help head-off territorial behavior. Another way to avoid territorial behavior is to remove pet from their home that they know so well. Introducing in a neutral place is huge. This allows pet to be comfortable without feeling overwhelmed. Before introduced, letting your dog or cat sniff the baby blanket and then show the baby to facilitate a healthy introduction. When baby and pet are at home together, make sure that your pet has a hideaway. This encourages the pet to still feel like it has its own space.
Giving your pet plenty of exercise is also extremely important. With all your attention on baby, dogs often get neglected and jealousy or an overly focused pet on your wee one is the last thing you want. Making sure the animal receives attention and releases some pent up energy to keep the peace in the home! On the other end of things, for your infant, one of the best things you can do is model the right behavior.
Help your child interact with your pet in a positive way. Teaching your child to treat your pet well is important. Often times, pets can get a lot of unintentional abuse from small children. Modeling interaction is important to avoid yanking on tails or ears and explaining the importance of gentle encounters.
Last but not least, never leave pet and baby alone together! It will be years before your child will be able to handle the pet on his own. Hopefully with these tips you’ll have both your babies living happily ever after in no time!