It’s been a wonderful season already for Fit’n’Furry! We have been seeing many fresh arrivals come through our doors; and we’re not just talking about our new furry friends! Babies are a blessing and always bring smiles to our faces. A newborn is so much fun and so much hard work but we cannot forget to be ready for when it comes time to introduce your furry member of the family to the infant.
Bringing baby home is an adjustment for everyone and it certainly affects your pet! The best start is to slowly spend less and less time with Fido or Feline. They may experience something similar to sibling rivalry and wonder why you’re not able to pay as much attention with them. We want them to still feel loved and another tactic would be to have the pet become closer with another member of the family while the Mom-to-Be is busy with the baby.
Introduce them to the nursery. Do not let the dog or cat into the crib, ever! This is promoting a behavior that may cause harm to the infant. According to the Humane Society of the United States, if your dog experiences separation anxiety or is prone to jumping on Mom or Dad’s lap the minute they sit down, it is best to enroll in a training course to address concerns about pouncing, nibbling, excessive barking, etc.
Encourage friends and family who have small kids of their own to visit. A familiar suggestion is to bring home the baby’s blanket before coming home from the hospital. Deter Fido and Feline from scratching, chewing, or other actions that could be harmful to the baby. Associate the baby’s things and possible baby-behavior (pulling on ears, crawling on them, chasing, tugging on jowls) with positive reinforcement like treats.
Introducing new smells is very important to help your pets adjust with the arriving family member. Sprinkle baby powder on yourself, for instance. Sounds are critical, too, such as the nursery mobile, play recordings of baby noises, or turn on the mechanical baby swing. Throughout this adjustment period, remember to praise Fido or Feline as much as possible! This is necessary to keep them happy as well as reinforcing positive behaviors.
When coming home with baby, have someone take charge of the infant for a while as you greet Fido or Feline. Once they have settled and gotten their “hellos” finished introduce the two slowly; they’re family now! Reward good, calm behavior with treats and don’t attempt to force interaction. Remember, no matter how much you trust your pet, never leave the baby and pet together unattended. Of course, we want our pets to feel just as cherished as before so it’s great to still spend one-on-one time with your pet everyday; it will make you feel better as well! With the right preparations, bringing home baby doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for anyone. Your happy, and now bigger, family can enjoy each other safely.