Far too often, animals from happy, loving homes end up in rescue shelters when a new baby arrives. With a little patience and a lot of planning, you can make your home a safe and loving environment for your new baby AND your dog!
First of all, congratulations on expecting a new baby! If you already have a dog at home, you will most likely need to help your fur baby adjust to the new human baby that you’ll be bringing home soon.
You can help your confused or upset pooch deal with this big change in almost the same way most parents make children understand that a new sibling will soon be joining the family. You’ll likely need to ease your dog’s stress and help him welcome the new member of the family. This way, you can make sure that your pooch stays where he belongs – with you and your loving family.
How Your Fur Baby Will React to the Little One
Adding a new member of the family can be difficult for your dog. No matter how much you try to plan ahead, it is likely that your pooch will still experience something similar to sibling rivalry. Because he was the first, if not the only baby, in the family, and is used to having the spotlight, he’ll probably have trouble adjusting to the new environment.
By working with your pet before you bring your new baby at home, you can lessen these feelings of jealousy. Always remember that a drastic decrease of attention and frequent ignoring, isolating, or scolding after you have introduced the new baby will most likely make your pooch feel very stressed.
Further, if your dog is particularly attached to the mother, another member of the family will need to develop a closer relationship with him. This way, your pooch can still feel loved and taken care of while mommy is busy with the new baby.
When a dog is stressed, confused, or anxious, he can become disobedient, hyper, even aggressive. This doesn’t mean your dog is bad or that he can’t ever share his home with the new baby, it simply means you’ll need to consider your dog before bringing a new baby home.
How to Prepare your Pet
The following tips and advice should be started well in advance of bringing a new baby home. When you find out that you’re expecting, go ahead and share the good news and celebrate, but then get to work!
1. Take your dog to the vet for routine health exams and needed vaccinations.
2. Neuter or spay your dog. Sterilization not only leads to lesser health issues related to the animal’s reproductive systems, but the process can also make your dog more calm.
3. Consult your pediatrician and vet if the idea of your new-born interacting with your pet makes you uneasy. By working with them even before your baby is born, you can help resolve problems early, putting your mind at ease.
4. Address any canine behavior problems. If your pup shows fear and anxiety, now would be the perfect time to seek help from animal behavior specialists. Consider dog training to control his behavior and at the same time strengthen your bond with him.
5. Get your furbaby used to nail-trimming. Obviously, you don’t want your new baby’s delicate skin getting scratched by wandering paws.
6. Try training your dog to stay calmly on the floor until you invite him on your lap as you will soon be cradling a newborn.
7. Encourage any friends with infants to come visit your home so you can start getting your dog accustomed to babies. Just make sure that all animal and infant interactions are supervised.
8. Months before your baby is expected, try to familiarize your dog to baby-related noises. Do this by playing baby recordings, using the rocking chair, or turning on the automated infant swing. Offer treats, praises, or playtime to make these experiences positive for your pet.
9. Discourage your pooch from jumping in and on the baby’s crib. Try applying double-stick tape onto the furniture as an easy deterrent.
10. If the new baby’s bedroom will be off-limits to your little furry friend, consider installing a sturdy barrier like a removable gate or a screen door. This way, you can let your dog see and hear what is happening inside which will help him feel much less isolated from the family and become more at ease with the infant noises.
11. To help your dog get used to the real thing, use a life-like baby doll as a stunt double. Carry it around and use it to help your dog become accustomed to routine baby activities such as feeding, bathing, and diaper changing. Cradle and talk to the doll, as if it were the real thing.
12. Plan ahead to ensure that your dog gets proper care while you are at the birthing center.
13. Make time for your dog, too. A new baby can take up a lot of your time, time that was previously spent pampering your pooch. Make sure to carve out some time to give your four-legged baby the attention he craves and deserves.
Babies and dogs can develop amazing bonds when given the opportunity.
Have you ever brought a newborn baby home to where your dog already lives? Share your tips for success with our readers!