How to introduce your new baby to your home pets

How to introduce your new baby to your home pets
babydogheadIn light of the recent royal introduction of Prince William’s new family addition, we’ve considered the best options for how to introduce your own new family arrival to your pets at home.  While the thought may be intimidating do consider that as in all things that careful consideration goes a long way to making the transition much easier.  Here are our fantastic tips to help guide you in this process.
ACCLIMATISATION: The key to introducing a cat or a dog to a new baby is to start acclimatising your pets to idea that there will be a new addition to the family as early as you can. Allow your cat and dog to check out the room where your baby will sleep.  If you don’t allow your pet into the room, they will think there is something in there that needs investigating or chewing! Supervise your pets checking out the new smells of the nursery, and start carrying around a ‘baby’ with you – letting your pets see you behaving as you would normally do with a new baby. OBEDIENCE: One essential part of interaction between dogs and children is obedience training and every dog owner should make obedience control their priority. If your dog tends to jump up, now is a good time to teach your dog that no jumping is allowed. You can also go out for some practice walks with the buggy and dog so you can make sure your dog understands what acceptable behaviour is. LET THE PET CHECK OUT BABY: After the arrival, safely let your pets check out the baby whilst your hold it, making sure that your pets do not lick your baby and that you follow strict hygiene precautions. As dogs depend on their sense of smell, a few sniffs around a baby – under close supervision – may also help.  Stroke your pet where you would have done in the past, whilst holding the baby, washing your hands after stroking. This will make your pets feel that they are not being ousted from the household. Try and be as relaxed as possible with all of these exercises so that your pets do not pick up your anxiety. INCLUDE THE PET: Be inclusionary during daylight hours when baby is around, not exclusionary. If mum was nursing the baby, and the dog was jumping around her, acknowledge and praise him to let him know he hasn’t been displaced in the family. Most people think when the baby is sleeping, now is the time to make up to the dog. But that’s incorrect because he thinks it’s the baby’s fault he hasn’t been getting any attention. They can end up blaming the baby for coming in and interrupting their life. And you end up with a sibling rivalry situation, they might start to urine mark around the house because they feel insecure because they want to reclaim it as their own. Allow the dog into activities as much as possible. At evenings when the baby is in bed, let it be quiet. NEVER LEAVE BABY UNATTENDED: A baby should never be left unattended with a cat, as cats are naturally curious animals – they can’t be expected to know it would be harmful to lie on top of a baby. Keep your baby behind closed cat-free doors if you are not nearby, or get some netting to put over playpens. SUPERVISE INTERACTION: Both your dog and your cat should know that they still have a secure place in the family. Supervise any interaction between your pets and child, and praise your child when they handle them correctly. Teach your child other do’s and don’ts, such as never feeding a cat small toy parts or pulling a dog’s ears or tail – the dog will protect itself from the child. Be aware, when the baby starts to crawl very fast, or at least when they’re toddling, the dog looks at them like a big, fuzzy toy. CAT’S TOLERANCE: You should evaluate your own cat’s tolerance and explain it to the child. Teach your child to speak calmly and softly to your cat and to stroke gently.Never treat your cat in a way that you have told your child is unacceptable – if you have told your child not to disturb it whilst the cat is sleeping, do not do this yourself! Some cats don’t mind being picked up, but it’s not a good idea to let children do this. NON-AGGRESSIVE GAMES: Any game that your child plays with your dog should be non-aggressive such as fetch – not tugging and pulling games that can become aggressive. Children must understand the importance of never bothering the dog whilst he is eating, as touching a dog’s food is a quick way to get bitten.  Your child should not sit or lie on the dog – this is essential even if you have a large dog and think it cute to let your child ride on it.

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