Bringing your new baby home can be a very exciting yet scary time, especially if you have pets. Your pets are used to being your number one and getting ALL of your attention. You never know how they will react to the new addition to the family. Good news is there are some very effective methods the Humane Society suggests to prepare and introduce your little fur baby to your little new baby.
Before the Baby is Born:
- Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Supervise all pet and infant interactions.
- Accustom your pet to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recordings of a baby crying, turn on the mechanical infant swing, and use the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your pet by offering a treat or playtime.
- Use a baby doll to help your pet get used to the real thing. Carry around a swaddled baby doll, take the doll in the stroller when you walk your dog, and use the doll to get your pet used to routine baby activities, such as bathing and diaper changing.
- Talk to your pet about the baby, using the baby’s name if you’ve selected one.
- Sprinkle baby powder or baby oil on your skin so your pet becomes familiar with the new smells.
After the Baby is Born:
- Before you bring your baby home from the hospital, have your partner or friend take home something with the baby’s scent (such as a blanket) for your pet to investigate.
- When you return from the hospital, your pet may be eager to greet you and receive your attention. Have someone else take the baby into another room while you give your pet a warm, but calm, welcome. Keep some treats handy so you can distract your pet.
- After the initial greeting, you can bring your pet with you to sit next to the baby; reward your pet with treats for appropriate behavior. Remember, you want your pet to view associating with the baby as a positive experience. To prevent anxiety or injury, never force your pet to get near the baby, and always supervise any interaction.
- Try to make one-on-one time with your pet each day.
- NEVER LEAVE BABY ALONE WITH YOUR PET UNTIL THEY ARE FAMILIAR WITH EACH OTHER.
All of these tips and more can be found directly from the Humane Society.
You may notice that the steps to introducing your pet to the new baby are very similar to those you would use for an older sibling.
Congratulations on your growing family!
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