Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Expecting a Baby: How About Your Pet Now? (Guest Post)

Today's guest post was brought to you by Melianie Cho.

GSD and a baby
By Dogperson3d (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you are expecting a baby, your life is about to change dramatically. While you have read all the books and set up your new baby’s room, you may not have thought about how to prepare your pet for the new arrival. If you think your world will be turned upside down, your pet will be in exactly the same boat. Your new baby will become your key priority and focus and what was once your four legged child, will undoubtedly see the difference. Some common changes that your pet may notice are:

  • Less attention
  • Not as many walks
  • Change in feeding time
  • Not able to bark, being shooshed a lot
  • Less tolerance for naughty behaviour
  • New noises such as crying or baby toys
  • New furniture

There are many thing that you can do to help with the transition and changes in routine that your pet will experience with a new baby.

START TRAINING EARLY

A great way to help your pet adapt to the changes associated with the new baby is to get them used to the idea a few months before the baby arrives. Some easy ways to do this are below:

  • Place some of your larger baby equipment such as rockers, prams and toy boxes in the house before the baby arrives. Your pet will find them interesting and it’s better that they do their investigating before the baby starts using them.

  • Tape a friends newborn cries so your pet can gradually grow accustomed to the new sounds it will be hearing.

  • Introduce baby smells early. Clean nappies and baby lotions have a distinct smell that you should expose your pet to before the birth.

  • Place a blanket with your babies scent in your pet’s bed or some place your pet enjoys. This will keep the association positive.

  • Back off the attention a little before your baby is born so your pet does not feel abandoned when the baby arrives.

  • Adjust meal times which will fit with your new born schedule a few months before the baby arrives.

ARRANGE THE HOUSE SAFELY

Your pet has probably had run of the house until now, but things are about to change. It’s important that your house is set up so that your pet and new baby can co-exist in safety. It’s vital to have boundaries set for your pet such as not being allowed in the baby room or not being allowed on furniture. A good idea is to install baby gates or potentially invest in playpens for both kids and pets. These will keep your baby in and your pet out!

AnnieDog
By Sarbagyastha (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

SOCIALISE YOUR PET WITH OTHER BABIES

It’s important that your new baby is not completely alien to your pet. It’s essential that you start to socialise your pet with other babies and children before your baby arrives. This will help your pet understand the boundaries critical for co-existing with small children. Kids and babies poke and pull and your pet needs to build up a level of tolerance.

ADJUST YOU PETS BEHAVIOUR

Your pet has spent a large amount of its life being able to what it wants however this will change when the baby arrives. Make sure your pet knows who is boss and is fully trained to sit and stay. If your cat jumps onto the pram or cot, spray it with a squirt of water. If your dog jumps up on people, say ‘NO’ firmly and take it outside. Children are small and can be knocked over easily and dogs can get very excited around playful activities. Be strict with your new boundaries and your baby and pet can have a long, loving bond!

About the Author

Melanie is a pet lover, responsible for the dog supplies at http://www.realsmart.com.au. Melanie is also a passionate blog writer and forum contributor.

7 comments:

  1. We have never had to think about a little addition but fine points and one worthy of note when little children visit too. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  2. We're glad the only *baby* we had to adjust to was when Tutu arrived. And she grew up really quickly! ;)

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  3. This is a good post. Volunteering for a rescue, mom sees pups automatically surrendered when the baby is born no matter how long the pup lived in the house
    Lily

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  4. When I saw the title I thought you were going to give us some good news lol. Great post very useful advice.

    Sheba.

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  5. This is some terrific and helpful advice. We wish more people would prepare for babies' arrivals. It can be so hard for the ORIGINAL babies (pets).

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  6. This is such an important post because it may keep some families together! So many times when proper planning isn't done, the new parents become frightened of or frustrated with their pet and end up sending it to the shelter.

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  7. Great post for those who are planning babies or have little ones. :) Lots forget to plan when a baby comes along and it's important not to leave the dog out xxxooxxx


    Mollie and Alfie

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