The secret to your family pet and your newborn baby getting along is preparation. Pets, especially dogs and cats, make for fabulous protectors and companions for newborn babies, and as they grow together, they will teach each other valuable skills and emotional proficiencies.

How to Introduce New Baby to Pets

Before the Birth

The bonding process between baby and animal should begin when the former is still inside the womb. Dogs are extremely protective of their human masters, and this will naturally apply to your newborn baby as well. While it is unlikely that a dog’s hearing is not as finely tuned as to detect a prenatal heartbeat, their high levels of emotional intuition will allow them to sense something significant is happening. Allow your pet to snuggle against your pregnant tummy and talk to them as you stroke both your tummy and your pet. Let them rest on your bump and if they start to lick your tummy, be sure to let them.

Additionally, as both your pet’s and your own daily lives are going to be significantly disrupted, especially for the first few months, it is prudent to initiate changes to your animal’s routine in terms of walking, feeding, and playtime, so they are used to the changes for when your baby arrives home.

Before your baby is born, you should actively strive to work on and hopefully, entirely eradicate any unwanted behaviors and re-establish yourself as the ‘pack leader’. Professional and established veterinary practices, such as, are fully versed in this and are able to offer practical and extensive advice on how to introduce your pet to a newborn.

When the Baby Is Born

The first thing to do to ensure your pet will accept and hopefully absolutely adore your new baby is to bring an item that contains your baby’s scent, such as a blanket or a burp cloth, home from the hospital and let your animal thoroughly investigate. Keep hold of the blanket and let the animal sniff and explore it but controlled by you, letting your pet know that the new baby belongs to you, and they must immediately respect this hierarchy.

Once you bring your newborn home, be sure not to force any interactions, a natural bond will develop in their own time and at their own pace. Another slightly odd but proven to be effective technique is to play baby sounds such as crying or cooing, even when your baby is sleeping, so they can get used to the sounds. Your beloved furry friend is bound to be extremely curious over this new bundle, and the way animals explore and become comfortable with something new is to investigate using their senses.

Just like humans, pets can experience jealously, and it is crucial to give your animal exactly the same amount of attention as you did before the baby arrived. To neglect this could make your pet envious of the new baby, and they could even start to resent your newborn.

Alayna Mayer Ph.D. has accrued more than ten years of professional veterinary experience. She emphasizes homeopathic care in her practice, but she makes all options known to her patients’ humans so that they can make well-informed decisions about their pets’ health. Email: [email protected]

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