Introducing Your Pet to a New Baby

When you’re expecting a new baby, you likely spend a lot of time preparing your home and older siblings for his or her arrival.

But what about your furry baby? Pets need some time to adjust when you bring a new bundle of joy home and there are a few things you can do to help make that transition easier.

Keep in mind that your pet could become overstimulated by guests coming over to meet the new baby and the new sounds, like crying, an infant will bring to your home. During your pregnancy, provide your dog with a safe and comfortable place that he can call his own, like a pillow in a laundry room or a crate. A high shelf is perfect for a cat. Place food and water and a few toys in that area so your pet can relax there.

Another good thing to do during pregnancy is to help your pet get used to the rough handling of a young child so that he doesn’t bite in response. A few times each day, touch your pet on the tail, in the ears, on the belly, and on the paws. If your pet doesn’t react well at first, feed him treats while you go through the practice.

After the baby is born, but before he or she comes home, send a hat or blanket with the baby’s scent on it home so that your pet can investigate it. When you arrive home with the baby, put the little one in a safe place so that you can give your pet a proper greeting. Pick the baby up again and invite your pet to sit on the couch next to you while you feed him treats. By doing so, you’ll help your pet make good associations with the baby.

Bringing a new member of the family home requires a little adjusting for everyone, and you’ll likely experience a few bumps along the way. But as long as you work to dole out attention fairly and show everyone the love they need, you’ll settle into your new normal in no time.

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