When you are adding a new member to your family especially a new baby, you may wonder how that will affect your fur baby. Here are some tips and suggestions on adjusting your household to the new addition.
How can I prepare my pet?
1) Take your pet to the veterinarian for a routine health exam and necessary vaccinations.
2) Spay and neuter your pet.
3) Consult with a veterinarian and pediatrician if the thought of your newborn interacting with the family pet makes you uncomfortable. By working with these experts before your baby is born, you can resolve problems early and put your mind at ease.
4) Address any pet training and behavior problems. Consult a trainer if necessary.
5) Train your pet to remain calmly on the floor beside you until you invite him on your lap, which will soon cradle a newborn.
6) Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Supervise all pet and infant interactions.
7) Accustom your pet to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recordings of a baby crying, turn on the mechanical infant swing, and use the rocking chair.
8) If the baby’s room will be off-limits to your pet, install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate (available at pet or baby supply stores) or, for jumpers, even a screen door.
9) Talk to your pet about the baby, using the baby’s name if you’ve selected one.
10) Finally, plan ahead to make sure your pet gets proper care while you’re at the birthing center.
After the baby is born
Welcoming a new baby is exciting for your family. Remember when you first brought home your dog or cat? But before you bring your baby home from the hospital, have your partner or friend take home something with the baby’s scent (such as a blanket) for your pet to investigate.
When you return from the hospital, your pet may be eager to greet you and receive your attention. Have someone else take the baby into another room while you give your pet a warm, but calm, welcome. Keep some treats handy so you can distract your pet.
After the initial greeting, you can bring your pet with you to sit next to the baby; reward your pet with treats for appropriate behavior. Remember, you want your pet to view associating with the baby as a positive experience. To prevent anxiety or injury, never force your pet to get near the baby, and always supervise any interaction.
Life will no doubt be hectic caring for your new baby, but try to maintain regular routines as much as possible to help your pet adjust. And be sure to spend one-on-one quality time with your pet each day—it may help relax you, too. With proper training, supervision, and adjustments, you, your new baby, and your pet should be able to live together safely and happily as one (now larger) family.
At Admiral Veterinary Hospital, we can help you acclimate your pet prior to baby being born or even if you are getting a pet for your now toddler or grade school child, we can help with that too! We are a family friendly veterinary hospital who rather than cringe when we see a mom and her kids come through the door, we celebrate that a family chooses to love an animal and share life together. We feel it is important for children to grow up with an animal and the many benefits that it entails.
Dr. Stephanie Hickey is the owner of Admiral Veterinary Hospital since 2014. As a relatively new mom and business owner, she tries to do the best for her patients and son. She is a Knoxville native who grew up in the Bearden area. She went to UT for undergraduate as well as Veterinary School and graduated near the top of her class in 2008. Her interests and specialties are in veterinary dentistry, dermatology, and rescue work with animals especially Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Collies. She loves being a mom and loves that her son also shares her passion for animals.