Having a baby comes presents a big life change to any parent. But, as a pet owner, many expectant parents face an added challenge. How to prepare your dog for your newest family member. Your dog is used to being your only “baby”, and now he will have to share you with this new little person that will be entering “his” home.
It is best to start preparing your dog when you first find out you are expecting, rather than waiting until the day you bring home your new baby. He has many new things he will need to become acclimated with, such as new smells and objects entering his home. And of course the baby!
Below are some suggestions and tips you can use to make the transition easier for both you and your dog.
Tip Number One
Invite over a friend that already has an infant to accustom your dog to babies. Be sure to supervise your dog and not leave him unattended, even if your dog seems unfazed by the baby’s presence. Safety is the most important thing.
Tip Number Two
If you have a nursery for the baby, put a gate in the doorway as soon as possible, as this will teach your dog early on that he is not allowed in that room. A gate is a good choice as dogs are curious creatures by nature. Allowing him to see what is going on in the room will also help in not making him feel isolated or left out once your baby arrives.
Tip Number Three
Begin sprinkling some baby powder on the carpet or rubbing baby oil on yourself. This will help him to become accustomed to the new smells now, making the transition much easier when you finally bring your new baby home.
Tip Number Four
Before your baby enters your home, be sure to take your dog to the Veterinarian to be sure that his shots are updated and that he is healthy. Also be sure to have his nails clipped. You don’t want him to jump up and scratch you or your baby.
Tip Number Five
While you and your baby are still in the hospital, have your husband or a family member bring home a piece of clothing that belongs to your new baby and give it to your dog. This will help him become accustomed to your baby’s smell and he will likely be more relaxed when your baby enters the home.
Tip Number Six
When you are coming home for the first time, it is best that you greet your pet without your baby, while someone else holds the baby away from the area. You need to remember that he will be excited to see you and may jump up. Should this happen, you don’t want to reprimand your dog and have him coincide your reprimanding him with your new baby. This could cause him to resent the baby. After he calms down, have your husband bring in the baby and hold him, allow your dog to sniff the baby. Have a treat in hand for your dog and be sure to praise him for his good behavior!
Above all, remember to still show your dog lots of love and affection so that he views your baby as a positive addition. This will help to ensure a happy and healthy environment for you and your “babies.” And lastly, always be sure to never leave your baby unattended around your dog, no matter how well adjusted he appears to be. Always have supervision!