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Five Tips for Introducing Your Pets to Your New Arrival

April 2, 2012

For years, you’ve been the perfect family. You, your partner, and your big goofy dog, or pair of lazy cats, have shared the couch and showered each other with affection. As far as your pet was concerned, that arrangement didn’t need to change. Your labrador didn’t spend months trying to conceive, and your middle-aged orange tabby doesn’t typically enjoy the attentions of your neighbor’s children. A new addition to the family will upset the dynamic that your pet is used to, so try these tactics to make the transition as seamless as possible.

  1. Keep an eye on your dog’s level of obedience. A dog that doesn’t respond to simple commands such as “Sit!” or “Stay!”, or who has a tendency to jump or nip, might need an obedience refresher. Seek out classes in your area, and explain to the instructor that you want to work with your dog in anticipation of a new baby.
  1. Cats are certainly harder to train than dogs, but are also less likely to pay much attention to your baby. However, keeping your cat’s nails trimmed will limit the amount of damage they might do in the event that your baby grabs a furry tail at the wrong moment. De-clawing is unnecessary; buying a small clipper from your pet store and trimming the nail just a millimeter or two, regularly, should do the trick.
  1. Your pet’s schedule will change after your baby comes. Think about the changes you’ll make to their walking and feeding schedules once you have a baby to take care of, and begin implementing that schedule a month before your baby is born.
  1. Animals are extremely sensitive to new scents, so as you prepare your home for the arrival of your baby, expose your dog or cat to the scents of the lotions, diapers, and plastic toys you’ll be using. And turning on the baby swing or playing videos of babies crying will acclimate your pet to the new noises they will be hearing.
  1. If your pet has not had much exposure to children, acclimate them by walking your dog near a playground or inviting over a friend with kids. Kids are loud and make sudden and unexpected movements and sounds. Your pet may be spooked by a child’s behavior at first. Always supervise your pet around children, to make sure neither party becomes overly rambunctious.

Remember that even if your pet seems upset at first by the changes in your home, they will get used to their new routines and the new noises and objects in their territory. Being patient with both your pet and your child will ensure that they enjoy each other as the years pass.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 2, 2012 2:37 pm

    Great advice! I also found that purchasing a CD with the sounds of babies crying on it was helpful to get our dog used to this sound before bringing home our little one.

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