There is nothing like having to care for the feeding and comfort of another living being to teach commitment and hone the skills of parenthood. Now that you and your spouse are preparing to become parents, you might be wondering how to ease “Fido” into his new role at the bottom of the priority list!
Depending on the kind of dog or cat you have, there might be safety concerns. What is a new parent to do? How can you help your pet not only adjust to the new family member, but thrive and bond with the new baby?
There are steps you can take to ease your pet’s anxiety and assure your baby’s safety! Home should be a place of harmony. You don’t want anything to detract from the celebration of your infant’s homecoming! Here are some steps you can take to make pets and children live together in peace and safety:
- Put your dog in obedience school before your baby arrives and be consistent in reinforcing his training.
- Familiarize your dog with the baby equipment. Turn on the swing and teach him not to react to the movement.
- Never leave baby alone with your pet, even for a minute! Pets can be unpredictable. Even small dogs can inflict severe injury to infants!
- Never leave diapers on the counter or in reach of a doggy’s mouth. You will regret it!
- Bring home a blanket with baby’s scent. Let your pet smell, snuggle and familiarize himself with your baby’s smell.
- Even when you are there, keep your infant at a safe distance from your pet. An errant tug, grab or squeal can trigger aggression in even the most peaceful of dogs.
- Prepare a space that is comfortable and special just for your pet. It can be a large crate or enclosed play space with special treats, toys and doggie chews. It should be close to or in the house. When you need to leave the room, your dog has a cozy place to go.
- Do not rush to declaw your cat. This process will leave her traumatized and feeling vulnerable. She will likely react to any threats by biting.
- Keep your dog’s nails trimmed short.
- Do not try to parent a puppy/kitty and baby at the same time! If you can, raise your pets to maturity, before introducing another family member. It is good to have them spayed or neutered and house trained. They will be less aggressive and more receptive to change.