All of us who have furry at home and are thinking about expanding the family are concerned about the same questions: how will my pet behave when the newborn comes home? Is it healthy for them to be around? Can it be dangerous for the baby? In this article we will focus on how to face the coexistence of domestic animals and babies, and we will try to answer the most common doubts regarding this topic.
Is it a good idea to have pets at home with newborns?
Having pets at home and babies is completely compatible, but it is important that you prepare the arrival of the newborn so that the change that will happen in the home is as stress-free as possible for the animal.
The sooner you start preparing your pet for the arrival of the baby, the better. For example, if it’s a dog, you’ll need to spend time training it to help it with changes. As your child grows, you will have to teach him to respect animals, since he will be able to move himself to your pet, and however polite a dog, no one guarantees his reaction if they are pulling his hair or from the ears.
As for the dangers to the health of the baby, if your pet is healthy, you should not worry about anything, and also, as long as the baby does not fend for itself, you can control the approaches and contact between the two. In any case, it will be a good idea to talk to both the midwife and your trusted vet: they can surely advise you so that the presence of the animal does not pose any risk to the baby’s health, as well as to prepare the coexistence.
Things you can do in the months before the baby arrives
During the months prior to the newborn’s arrival, you can do the following:
- Make sure of a good and basic behavior by your pet to facilitate the life of all family members. In the case of dogs, you can review orders such as “sit down”, come when called or “lie down”.
- If there are problems of aggressiveness or stress due to separation, it is highly recommended to seek outside help. Ask your vet to refer you to a good specialist to improve behavior.
- Make sure your pet is healthy and has fully updated vaccinations.
- With the arrival of the newborn, your pet will no longer have all the attention: get used to not being aware of you and feeling relaxed without your attention, for example, taking him to his bed and entertaining him with a chewy snack.
- If your pet is a dog, train him to walk gently next to the stroller, without jerking.
- Begin to arrange the utensils and furniture that the baby will use, such as cribs and high chairs, so that the animal gets used to them.
- You can look for baby sounds and play them from time to time at home, this way your pet will get used to the sounds that the newborn can make.
- Allow your pet to smell the clothes and utensils that are going to be used by the baby. If he remains calm, reward him.
What to do once the baby is at home with your pet?
When the newborn arrives home, it will be important not to make a problem of the moment and to remain calm and “normality”. You have been preparing your pet for the previous months, so trust: everything will be fine.
The first thing will be to practice the approaches: the animal will have to be taught how to approach properly and smoothly. It is important to help the animal see the newborn as something pleasant to be around, so you can reward him a lot every time he behaves well with the next baby. Here are some more tips you can do:
- If your pet is a dog, there are important details that will help the animal become familiar with the baby: walks. Family walks are for him the way to reaffirm and recognize his pack. Taking walks together will help you recognize your family members.
- Even if you have the calmest pet in the world in your home, never leave your baby alone with him.
- Keep reinforcing positive education and never punish or yell at him near the baby. Since you can make associations contrary to what you are looking for.
- Don’t let your pet get bored: if you have a dog or cat at home, try taking turns with your partner so that they do some exercise daily. Fatigue, in the right measure, relaxes animals.