Dr. de la Houssaye and the staff at de la Houssaye Animal Hospital are always excited when a family is blessed with a newborn child. The following information below, we hope, will help you to introduce the newborn to your family pet in a more enjoyable and safe manner. We do realize that what works for one family may be different from another, but please use the following information as a guide to find what is right for your family.
THINGS YOU MAY CONSIDER BEFORE THE BABY ARRIVES
- Make sure your pets vaccinations are up to date
- Make sure your pets parasite preventatives are up to date
- Make sure you have adequate supplies of pet medications,etc. You are going to be very busy with the baby and may not have time to pick certain items up in the beginning.
- Begin introducing your pet to the idea of change
- expose your pet to baby smells(lotions,powders, etc.)
- practice taking care of a baby with a doll in the presence of your pet
- Tape a baby crying and play the recording around your pet and judge your pets reaction
- Obedience train your pet
- Make changes to your pets surroundings before the new baby arrives
- If your pet does things now that you do not like, start correcting the problem now.
THINGS TO CONSIDER DOING AFTER THE BABY ARRIVES
- Arrange for someone else in the family or a friend to spend more time with your pet to avoid any jealousy by the pet at the beginning
- Begin gradual introductions of the pet to the baby over a period of 4-8 weeks. You can adjust this period to fit your situation
- Avoid letting the baby “invade” the territory of your pet till you feel very comfortable with the baby and pet interacting freely.
- Never ever leave the pet and baby alone initially, no matter what
- Be very careful with exotic pets around babies, their actions and reactions are not as predictable to read as a dog or cat
Hopefully these ideas will help you to introduce your family pet and newborn in a safe way. By doing so, you can try to avoid making major changes to your household and family which at times can be uncomfortable for you and your pet. We at de la Houssaye Animal Hospital would be happy to discuss this further with you.
Please remember that this is not an all inclusive list of tips but only a guide to help you find what works for you. We also can not guarantee that the above tips will help you. We do feel that they will be very helpful to you and are a starting point to find what works for you.