Four legs and a baby – introducing your fur baby to the new arrival
With a new bundle of joy on the way, the “to do’s” might seem endless, but if you’ve got a pet, preparing them for the transition is an important item to add to your list.
Here are a few tips for keeping everyone happy:
Preparing your pet for your new arrival
- Visit your vet for a health examination and ensure they are vaccinated, regularly wormed and treated for ticks and fleas. If your pet is not desexed it’s a good time to do so as desexed pets are generally calmer and less likely to be aggressive. Also, get a ‘pet-icure’ while you’re there to avoid any accidental scratches.
- Address any pet training and behaviour issues – If your pet’s behaviour includes gentle nibbling, pouncing, or swatting at you and others, talk to your vet about how you can redirect that behaviour to appropriate objects.
- Consider enrolling in a training class with your dog – Training allows you to control your pet’s behaviour and enhances the bond between you and your pet.
- Train your pet to sit calmly on the floor beside you until you invite them onto your lap, which will soon cradle your newborn.
- Accustom your pet to babies and baby noises– Introduce your pet to as many infants and children as possible during the preparation time. If you’re short on friends with kids, try using a baby doll. It may feel a little odd but it’s a tried and tested trick that works. Play recordings of baby sounds whilst rewarding your pet to create a positive experience.
- Discourage your dog from jumping up at people and furniture.
- Set the nursery up well in advance to give your pet time to get used to the furniture. If you plan to use baby gates install them now. Stock up on some basic supplies such as baby powder so your pet begins to get used to new smells.
After the baby is born
- Before bringing your new baby home, take home something with the babies scent such as a blanket for your pet.
- When you return from hospital, your pet will be eager to greet you and get some attention. Welcome your pet as normal when you arrive home.
- Introduce your pet to your new addition slowly and offer rewards for good behaviour. Make them sit and behave calmly. Never force your pet to go near to the baby, and always supervise any interaction.
- Ask visitors to make a fuss of your pet as well as your newborn when they visit.
- Spend some one on one time with your pet each day to ensure they still feel important.