6 key points for introducing a new baby to your pet.
WellPet Vets would like to congratulate Dr. Jessie on the birth of her little baby girl Rebekah! 😍💛💙
As we celebrate this wonderful news with you, we take this opportunity to share some helpful tips on how to best introduce a new baby to your pet(s). Here are 6 key points to help you prepare your pet for your new family member…
Start getting the pet used to a new, realistic schedule that will occur when there is a baby in the house. This may include restricted access to parts of the house, becoming accustomed to the presence of baby gates, a different exercise schedule etc.
Start walking them with a stroller and if needed obtain additional training if they are difficult to manage, this is best practiced prior to baby arriving.
Allow your pet to explore the baby’s environment and belongings but do not allow them to take any toys/clothing or claim an area in the room as their new resting place. If you haven’t already taught your pet to relinquish items to you then now is the time to get started, and to train or reinforce basic sit, stay, come, leave, stop.
Once the baby is born, have the person looking after your pet bring items with the child’s smell on them home and disperse them around the house (out of reach) prior to bringing the baby home from hospital.
Once you arrive home, have someone hold the baby while you greet the pet you have been apart from. Give them time to calm down, have the person sit on the couch with the baby, have the pet on a leash and allow them to gently approach and sniff the child. Excited behavior should be redirect back to you and the pet told to sit and relax before allowing them to approach once calmer. A gentle lick to the child is ok, but excited or overzealous licking should be stopped, with a gentle verbal command, in case of accidental injury from excitement.
Never leave a baby unsupervised with an animal. Baby gates are great to separate the animals from the baby while still allowing them to be inside and involved with the family. Alternatively, tethering on a harness to something stable that cannot move or tip over can be done. This may be useful while you are present, in the early stages of introduction. Any accident can be potentially fatal to a small baby. It is recommended that children up to 8 years old never be left alone with a pet. Children are typically loud, fast, unpredictable and need to be taught acceptable behavior around pets to prevent them hurting or scaring the pet and provoking the animal to defend itself.
For further guidance consider referring to a book called “Tell your dog you’re pregnant!” by Dr. Lewis Kirkham. If you have any further questions or would like help with introducing your new baby to your pet then we can help. Please call our friendly team on 1300 WELLPET for advice, behavioral consultations are available.
This story is this weeks Vet Report in Nepean News: https://issuu.com/
Photograph of baby Rebekah credit to photographer Susan Levens.