When you experience finding out that you’re a soon-to-be parent, you’ll be overjoyed. And obviously we want to share the happy news with our furry friends. But you may have some concerns about how your pet will react when you introduce your new baby.
Dogs and cats can get jealous if a new baby arrives because they’ll no longer be the centre of attention. They sometimes become aggressive or destructive in the house, but this can be prevented if you take steps to gradually introduce your new family member.
In this guide, we’ve shared the four steps you can use when your cat or dog is meeting your baby for the first time.
1. House train your pet
The first step you should take before introducing a newborn is to ensure your pet is fully house-trained. This can include training them to ‘stay’ and ‘sit’ on command, as this may be needed to control your dog whilst you have a baby in your arms.
House-trained pets are disciplined and know that bad behaviour won’t be tolerated.
2. Show equal amounts of attention
We mentioned earlier that dogs and cats may get jealous when a new person starts living in their home. After all, they have been content living with you for a few months – and having your undivided attention.
To combat the abnormal behaviour that your pet might show when they feel neglected, make sure to give dogs and newborns a similar amount of attention. You can still take your dog for walks when you’re out with a pram. Showing your pet that you’re still spending time with them can cause them to feel less left-out.
3. Gradually introduce baby items
When a dog is meeting a baby for the first time, they might feel threatened. The sudden introduction can be enough to get their back-up, as they may feel their space has been invaded. A wise idea is to gradually introduce baby-related items around the home before the new arrival.
Start by getting a baby blanket and leaving it in areas where your dog relaxes. Their scent will gradually build-up on the baby’s item so when they spot the newborn with it, there’s more of an attachment and familiarity. This prevents the new arrival from coming as a shock to your pet.
4. Allow personal space
Just like us, our babies and pets need personal space. In fact, if you feel too overcrowded in your home, everyone can get stressed. A whining baby mixed with a barking dog is the perfect recipe for a headache.
To avoid the chances of this happening, give your baby and your pet separate rooms in the house to use as their own. This is great for dogs as they can feel ‘in charge’ of a specific space, but remember to keep their food and sleeping spaces separate.
As you can see, introducing dogs and newborn babies doesn’t have to be traumatic! Be sure to have a look for the best pet insurance companies to relieve the financial burden of having a pet and a baby. You’ll have a harmonious home in no time!