Fido Can Stay: Tips For Keeping Your Pet When You Bring Baby Home

image credit: Jason Vasquez

One of the primary concerns of people with dogs and young children is keeping everyone safe. Bringing a new baby home can be especially stressful both for people and pets. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to bring your new baby home to your pets.

Preparation

As with many things in life, preparation is key to a stress free successful introduction between baby and pet.

  1. Any habits you will want to change once the child arrives begin well before the baby comes home. This way, the pet will not associate the baby with negative changes in their habits. Here are some things you may want to discuss changing:
    • Is the pet allowed on the furniture once baby arrives?
    • Is the pet allowed in the baby’s room?
    • Is the pet allowed to jump up on you?
  2. Does your pet have an area that is strictly for them, i.e. a crate or secluded room? If the pet is uneasy or anxious due to the baby, it is important that they have a place that is safe and all their own, a place that once the baby becomes mobile, the child will not be allowed.
  3. Refresh your dog on their basic obedience. If they have not had any training, get training before the baby arrives.
    Some commands that will be very important are come, lay down, and leave it. At a bare minimum, your dog should know these commands well.
    • The idea of teaching a dog to go to a specific spot will also be very helpful.
    • Making sure your dog can heel politely on a leash will make walks with the baby and the dog much more enjoyable.
  4. Allow the pet to get used to the smells of all the new baby accessories, such as blankets, shampoos or lotions. Just before the baby comes home, bring home a blanket with the smell of the baby on it, so that the dog may get used to the new scent.
  5. Do not allow the dog to play with any of the baby’s toys. If the dog picks up a baby toy, take it away, and replace it with something appropriate.
  6. Is your pet up to date on flea and tick medication, regardless of the time of year? Most medication provided by your vet will also protect against other little pests, like worms, that may be transmitted from pets to people.

Bringing Baby Home

  1. When the baby does come home, make sure the dog is on a leash so that any unwanted behavior may be corrected.
  2. Make sure that someone is available to give the dog attention so that he doesn’t feel left out among all the bustle of bringing home the new baby.

 Building a Relationship

  1. As time moves on, the baby and the dog will grow to be an integrated part of the family.
  2. Both dogs and children are oftentimes unpredictable, so leaving babies and dogs alone together is never a good idea, regardless of how well behaved your dog (or baby) is.
  3. Be sure to set aside time to spend with the dog while the baby is napping, so as not to let the dog get jealous.

Taking these steps is a good way to help ensure your pet and your baby will be wonderful companions for years to come.

–Amy Garabedian, Sit Means Sit Dog Training, Troy Michigan

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