No matter how much you plan ahead, it can seem quite difficult introducing a new family member to your pet. Remember, your pet is the original baby of the household and is used to always getting all of the attention from you. It is understandable if your pet becomes depressed or tries to win over your attention when you bring your newborn home.
You can minimize these tensions before you bring your baby into your home. Start by spending less time with your pet before your baby arrives so that your pet can easily adjust to the limited attention you will give him or her. Try to prepare your pet before the baby comes because it will decrease the chances of your pet becoming seriously stressed.
Below are several suggestions for you new parents who already own a pet such as a dog or a cat. Be sure to carry out these changes months before the arrival of your newborn baby to best prepare your pet.
Take your pet to the vet for vaccinations and health exams.
Put your mind at ease before your baby arrives by taking your pet to the veterinarian. If thinking about your newborn interacting with your pet makes you uncomfortable, you can solve any problems that may come to mind by getting professional advice from a vet or pediatrician.
Get your pet used to regular nail trims.
Keep your baby safe by making sure to get your pet’s nails trimmed on a regular basis. We recommend getting your pet’s nails trimmed every 4-6 weeks.
Address any pet training or behavioural problems.
If your pet shows any signs of fear or anxiety in new situations then now is the time to get help from an animal behavior specialist. For example, you don’t want your pet to jump on you while you are holding your newborn. Try training your pet to sit calmly in front of you while holding a baby doll. Training classes are available for you and your pet and these classes will safely train your pet to be calm and controlled under stress.
Encourage friends with infants to visit your home.
Accustom your pet to baby noises well before your newborn arrives by inviting friends or family with infants to your home. Train your dog not to bark at the baby or try jumping on you as you hold the baby in your arms. If none of your friends or family has a baby, play sound recordings of a baby crying. Offer your pet a treat if they are well behaved during these unfamiliar sounds.
Install a sturdy barrier such as a gate in front of the baby’s room.
If you choose to keep the baby’s room off limits to your pet, then it would be a good idea to install an adjustable gate at the door.
Use a baby doll in front of your pet.
Prepare your pet for the real baby’s arrival with a baby doll. Carry a swaddled baby doll around the house, talk to the baby in front of your pet and take the doll in the stroller as you walk your pet.
Lastly, plan ahead to make sure your pet will be well taken care of while you are at the hospital with your newborn.