Growing Pains: Introducing Your Pet to a New Baby
If your pet is anything like the ones we know, he or she is content to be the center of your universe. In fact, as far as your four-legged friend is concerned, your life revolves around their whims, fancies, and needs, right?
That all might be about to change if your family is expecting another little one – but your pet won’t find four little paws, a tail, or a wet nose. A newborn baby can cause a pet a great deal of worry, frustration, and emotional pain. The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center have experience in this area and offer some ideas for acclimating your pet to a new baby.
Strike a Balance
It’s challenging enough to prepare yourself for the changes incurred by a baby’s arrival, but how are you supposed to assuage any negative feelings your pet might have? Sure, there will be a potentially hectic adjustment period, but time, patience, and a balanced approach will help smooth any wrinkles. In fact, a deep friendship may even blossom between your pet and your growing baby.
One of the most important things you can do for your pet is stick to his or her routine. Make sure mealtimes, bathroom breaks, and exercise opportunities are maintained with zero room for error. During times of physical or emotional upheaval, it’s critical to your pet’s wellbeing for him or her to be able to rely on these basic needs being met.
Good thing you have 9 months to prepare the ways to introduce your pet to a new baby, right? Involve your pet in the way the house might change. For instance, if you have a room designated as the nursery, it’s never too early to foster positive associations between the space and your pet. Snuggle with your pet, groom him or her, offer treats, and so forth.
It’s understandable to want your baby’s furniture, toys, and other items to be perfect for their arrival, but try not to shoo your pet away from them. Doing so will encourage negative feelings that may be projected onto your new baby. That being said, however, don’t allow your pet to sleep in your baby’s crib, lounger, or anything else prior to the birth.
A Space Case
Since your new baby will have a room full of baby stuff, try to make a space just for your pet as well. This will allow your pet a place to go to feel safe, secure, and, let’s face it, enjoy some peace and quiet. Your baby will be crawling, toddling, and chasing after your pet in short order, and your pet deserves to have a place that’s just for him or her. Consider crate training your pet prior to the birth, and always have reassuring items nearby, such as toys, bedding, and even treats.
Speaking of Noise
One of the most significant points before introducing your pet to a new baby is to get him or her used to the sights, smells, and sounds that accompany an infant. Encourage your pet to smell the clothes, diapers, baby powder, etc. You might even arrange for a meeting with a friend or relative’s baby beforehand.
The cries of a baby can truly create anxiety in a pet. A step beyond an arranged meeting between your pet and someone else’s child is to play recorded baby sounds. Squeals, screams, giggles, and more can be brought into the fold of understanding and acceptance long before baby’s arrival.
Your Pet and Your New Baby
Introduce your pet to a new baby on neutral ground and then slowly bring everyone into the house together. Whenever you’re holding the baby, ask that someone else play or cuddle with your pet.
If you have any questions or concerns about introducing your pet to a new baby, The Pet Experts are always here for you. Congratulations and good luck!
The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center have experience in this area and offer some ideas for acclimating your pet to a new baby.
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor’s Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
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New Dog or Puppy? Time For Training!
Training is an important part of any dog's life. From providing mental stimulation to exercise and proper socialization, training will help in the development of a great canine companion. Enrollment is now open for Behavior Training Classes. The cost of a 6-week session is $140. Please call us at (630) 428-0500 to register your pet. For specific training questions only, please email: [email protected].