Garanimals Blog

January 24th, 2013 at 11:01 am

Introducing Baby to the Family Pet

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Most of us with pets consider them to be a part of the family… sometimes even our first “babies” (or “fur babies”). It’s quite an adjustment for them when we suddenly have another little bundle that takes up a lot of our time, energy, and affection. Having babies and pets living under the same roof requires some planning, both before you deliver and when you first bring your newborn home. Here are some tips for making sure you all become one big happy family!

Before Delivery:

Research the hazards

Diseases can be transferred from your pet to you, and from you to your unborn baby. You may have heard of the dangers of the cat’s litter box. If you are pregnant and cannot have someone else change the litter, wear rubber gloves.

Prepare your pet

  • If your pet has any obedience or training issues, now’s the time to address them. Consider a training class at your local pet store or do some training research to handle it yourself. Be consistent and firm and keep treats on hand! Doing so will ensure your pet will listen to you when your baby is home.
  • Make sure you keep their coats washed and nails trimmed to avoid scratching and shedding issues.
  • Schedule a vet visit before your due date to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations.
  • Familiarize your pet with the smells and sounds of a baby with baby powder and audio of babies crying (you’d be surprised how animals react to new sounds and smells!).

After Delivery:

  • Have a family member bring home a blanket or item of clothing the baby has been wrapped in, and let your pet smell it. Some pets will enjoy sleeping with it once they are familiar with it.
  • When you come home from the hospital, your pet will likely be excited to see you. Let someone else hold the baby in another room while you greet your pet calmly and show it love. Once they are calm and collected, bring the baby in and carefully let them see and smell him or her. Give them treats for good behavior around the baby.
  • Always supervise interactions between your child and your pets. While you may be convinced your pet would never hurt them, it’s important to remember that they sometimes don’t know their own strength or roughness.
  • Try to stick to your pets’ routines as best as you can. It may be difficult so enlist your family members to help if necessary. Remember to give them lots of love and affection and involve them in your new baby’s life.
  • Sometimes it’s best to wait to introduce your new baby to your pet. Birds, reptiles, rodents and some other caged animals require different care than a cat or dog. Keep them separate until your child is old enough to understand the proper way to hold and care for them.

Did you have any problems introducing your bundle of joy to your pets? Share some of your own tips and tricks!

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