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First impressions can be very important when you introduce someone to your pets regardless if it is an adult or your newborn baby. Babies should live in harmony with cats and dogs. Learning how to introduce pets to a baby is crucial. Making sure that they get off on the right foot, and paw, can be very important.
Having them get along could end up being beneficial for your baby since certain pets (stereotypically dogs) can become protective over the young one.
This article will go through the steps you can take to make sure the introduction and the first few days are smooth and a connection is made between pets and baby.
Prepping Your Pets Before the Baby Arrives
Before the first meeting between pets and baby, there are a few things you should do to make sure that the pets are ready for this new life coming into your home.
- Make sure that the pets’ vaccines are up-to-date and that they have been dewormed or treated for anything else that could end up making your baby get ill such as parasites.
- Another suggestion would be to trim the pets’ nails before the baby comes.
- You may also need to control certain behavioral traits of your pets such as jumping and going in certain rooms such as the future nursery. A jumping dog can be a great thing to come home to but not when you have a small baby in your hands.
- It is also a good idea to show them that the nursery will be off the table for them to enter just until the baby and them are used to each other.
Do I Need a Trainer?
However, if you are worried that you will need more help in preparing them before the baby arrives then you should get in touch with a trainer and a veterinary behaviorist to make sure that the pets do not have any medical condition (such as arthritis) that may lead to aggression.
The best thing you can do is pay attention to their behavior and what signs they give off when they feel uncomfortable. They may look away, tense up or freeze. It is important to help them feel safe and comfortable.
The Day of the Arrival
When you bring your baby home for the first time you should not introduce them to the pets straight away. Instead, let them greet you first without the baby being there with you. They will know that something is different so it would be a good idea to keep the baby and pets separate from each other for a few hours.
In this way, the pets can get used to the presence and maybe even the smell of the baby living in the house. If you can, have someone else take a blanket or item of clothing that has been on the baby home first, and let the dog/cat smell and interact with it.
The First Meeting
When the pets have calmed down you can organize a meeting of the two in a calm, safe, controlled and neutral setting. However, pets should be secure. This would mean to have a dog on their lease or a cat in someone’s arms while the baby will be in someone else’s arms. The pets need to understand that the baby is not a chew thing but a living creature.
- For dogs, they should be sitting. Praise and attention should be given to them when they are being well-behaved. The baby can be brought slowly closer and closer while the dogs do the same.
- With cats, it can be slightly different since they will be held. You can hold them close to the baby to get a stronger smell of them but not too close to prevent accidental scratches.
Always supervise your pets and baby when they are together even after their first meeting. Pets can easily grow to like the baby and this could lead to cuddling which is nice but if unsupervised, your cat or dog could end up accidentally suffocating the baby while they sleep. That is why pets should not sleep near new-born babies. Plus, it may be a good idea to stop the dog from licking the baby’s face due to the bacteria that is in their mouth.
Dogs, Cats, and Babies- Oh My!
A baby takes a lot of time out of your day, which is understandable, but this will mean a change in routine for your pets. Dogs and cats can start to act up when they no longer are getting the attention they were used to. This may lead to them unusual behavior, grumpy actions, or anxiety that might cause them to become missing pets.
Daily routine and spending some time with them, alone, once a day can help them feel included in the family. You can also spend more time with the pets while you are with your baby. Giving them praise when they behave well around the baby will teach them that they are doing the right thing.
It Takes Time…
However, if it seems that the pets and baby are not connecting then they would need to be kept apart until the baby is a bit older and the pet calm down a lot more. But do not pretend that the pet does not exist since this may add more to the problem. With time they will grow to stand each other and may even slowly like each other.
Children and pets can get along with one another once they get used to each other. They will develop an understanding or a connection that should not be forced.
Your dog or cat can become your baby’s best friend, and their biggest protector. This type of friendship could end up teaching your child about responsibility, as well as other valuable lessons as they grow. Many older animals tend to look out for and look after the younger creatures that they come by and hopefully, your baby will fit into this group.
One of the most important things is to be patient with them and even more important than that is to keep calm. If you are not calm, your pets will not be either.