Tips on Preparing Your Dog for Baby

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Baby kissing dog

Before your baby comes along, your furbaby may rule the roost.  Just like having a new baby at home is a HUGE adjustment for you, having a new small person at home can be a big adjustment for your dog.  Because you want your baby to be safe, and you want your dog to adjust as easily as possible, it’s important to prepare ahead.  We have a few tips from Caitlin Ultimo, the Chewy Resident Pet Expert, for introducing your new baby to your furry babies! 

1.       Brush up on the basics. Ensuring your pet is familiar with basic commands will help you both be more confidant when the baby arrives. Simple commands like sit, stay and down (for a dog) will come in handy if you need to stop your pet from jumping or disturbing the baby while he or she sleeps. If you’ve never been one for obedience training, it may be a good idea to take a training class with your pet or to have a professional trainer visit your home, this way you can both practice in your own environment.

2.       Let your pet be a part of the set up. If you keep your pet out of your baby’s nursery while you’re setting up, she may develop negative connotations with the space – and possibly with your baby once they come home to occupy it. Let your pet be with you while you hang up the baby clothes or make up the crib. Give them a few belly rubs, chin scratches or a treat while they keeps you company there. Your pet will have time to acclimate to the changed space and remember positive interactions happen there.

3.       Gradually adjust her routine. If your pet will be going out on less walks or being fed at different times then she is used to, start gradually adjusting your routine as the weeks approach your due date. This way there won’t be any abrupt disruptions which will hopefully result in less accidents or bad behaviors.

4.       Get her feet wet. If you have a friend or family member with an infant, ask if they’d be comfortable introducing their child to your pet. Getting your pet used to baby sounds, which can be jarring, and habits before your own baby arrives will also give her a leg up when it’s time for her to meet her human sibling.

5.       Make the introduction a positive one. When it’s finally time for your new baby to meet your first baby—your pup—set them up for success. The two don’t have to meet right from the moment you walk through the door, as they may see the baby as a foreign object that’s too close to mom or dad for comfort. Consider having a new interactive pet toy on hand that will help entertain your dog or cat while everyone gets situated. Once everyone is settled and calm, let your pet smell your baby’s blanket, bonnet or toy. This will allow them to become familiar with the baby’s scent. If your pet seems comfortable, let her sniff and even lick your baby, and give her positive attention when she does.

Did you have a hard time introducing your kids to your pets when they first came home – have any tips for all of us?  

Comments

  1. rika says

    Very useful info… my old dog was very gentled and charmed.. we didn’t prepare anything, i think we just got lucky.

  2. says

    These are all great tips! We got our two dogs after we had kids so we never had to worry about this dynamic. I can understand it can be a difficult situation that you need to plan for.

  3. says

    This is really a great post. It is so important that your dog is ready and adjusts quickly to the changed circumstances. He should not feel that suddenly he is not getting the usual attention.

  4. says

    It’s really important to prepare your dog for baby, it’s like having a sibling for them. That’s our big mistake when I had my second baby, we had our first dog and we didn’t prepare him for her. So it was a big adjustment for all of us.

  5. says

    Thankfully our transition was nice and easy. My daughter-in-law’s new niece came to visit a lot before Babke Aksel arrived. The dogs were always gentle and protective of the baby. Great tips.

  6. says

    These are all great tips on how to introduce a new baby to your pet. I expect the dog to be curious about the new member of the family. Most dogs are very good with small children but we should still practice caution because not all dogs are the same.

  7. says

    My dog did not really have issues when he met our first grandchild. I let him sniff the baby’s booties and bonnet. When the baby was able to sit up by herself, my dog assigned himself “protector” and lay behind the baby as if to protect her if she falls backward. It is just amazing how dogs can feel and act like humans. Now, if only they could talk..

  8. Angelic Sinova says

    These are great tips for preparing your dog for a baby! I’ve heard that gradually adjust your pets routine is a great start.

  9. says

    These are PERFECT tips. We literally were thinking of how to introduce the puppy who will be 1 by the time the baby comes to the baby. Totally going to try all of these tips.

  10. says

    Not sure if my brother and SIL implemented any of these tips when introducing my nephew to the dogs but both dogs and the baby adjusted well to each other and are best friends

  11. says

    My husband would always bring home a blanket the new baby was swaddle in and let our dog smell it before bringing baby home. We never had any problems and our dog was alway very protective of the kids.

  12. Robin rue says

    These are really great tips! I know there are a lot of parents out there worrying about this right now!

  13. says

    I don’t have kids yet but I do have a dog and she loves babies!! I got lucky in that aspect and can’t wait to introduce her to my future babies!!

  14. says

    These are all wonderful ideas to create a positive meeting between baby and pet! I especially like the one about letting your pet in the nursery while you get it ready for the new baby. I love seeing photos of babies and their adorable pet sidekick.

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