How to safely introduce pets to newborns
It doesn't matter what breed your dog is... attacks can happen anytime. Avoid them by applying these tips.
Before you became a parent, you were first a fur-parent. Many families start off having dogs or cats before having babies. When it is time for your baby to come along, it doesn't mean your dog or cat becomes any less important to the family. And please, do not get rid of your pets just because you have a baby on the way. In fact, there are so many benefits of having pets for your kids. You just need to understand how to integrate the family by introducing pets to newborns!
You don't have to worry that your pet is going to be shocked that there's suddenly a baby in your home. Dogs and cats will gain a sense that something is changing as you are pregnant. But they might not know exactly what's up. Can babies and pets really co-exist? Well, introducing pets to newborns can be tricky, but if you follow these steps, it can help!
This is something you're going to do naturally. You will be setting up a nursery for the baby, or at least a section in your room where the baby will sleep and have his or her nappies changed. This area should be off limits to your pet. Establish this from the start, so when your newborn arrives, your pet will understand that the baby's area is a no-go zone.
It is important to bring in the new items that will be in your home, like your baby's crib or dressing table, or even your baby's stroller and introduce them to your pet first. But do not let them climb into the crib or the stroller. Train them how to behave around these items. So when your baby is brought in, they will not have any bad habits surrounding these items.
For dogs, they identify best through scent. Before your baby comes home from the hospital, bring back a blanket or a piece of clothing with your baby's scent first. Hold it out for your dog to sniff. That way, once the baby arrives at home, your pets would already recognize his or her smell.
Don't forget that your pet reads your energy, so if you're nervous, your dog will also feel antsy. Be sure to do the introduction in a calm and neutral manner. That way, your dog can mirror that energy when approaching the baby.
Once the baby arrives, it is important not to neglect your pet. Remember to give it attention from time to time and most importantly, do not forget about its routine. With a steady routine, your pet will be just fine with the new addition to your family.
If you're really uncertain about introducing pets to newborns, start off by doing it with a leash. Keep your dog on a leash until it has calmed down, before letting it near the newborn.
As much as you teach your dog to respect the baby, you must also teach your baby to respect your pets. Of course, this is only possible once the baby starts to grow up a little. This means also telling your baby a firm "no" if you see him or her misbehaving by trying to poke the dogs eyes, or pulling its tail or smacking it.
It doesn't matter if you have a Rottweiler at home or a tiny little Shih Tzu. Breed only plays a small role in attacks. It also doesn't matter if your dog has never been aggressive in the past. This can change as the environment around your dog has altered. You should always take the necessary precautions to ensure both baby and dog are comfortable with each other.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore