You may have tested your parenting abilities with a dog or cat before committing to an actual human baby, but now you have a furry best friend you love and a baby on the way. How are you going to balance both of them? How are they going to get along? Will my pet hurt my newborn baby? There are many questions to consider when bringing home a baby, especially when there is a pet involved, but with some careful caution and preparation, your pet and your baby will be best friends.
While your baby was at least something you were expecting, your dog has no idea what this new creature who cries and smells is. While you may be stressed trying to take care of your newborn, your dog did not choose to be stressed about a baby in the room he used to be allowed in.
These are the 3 reminders you’ll want to jot down in your memory:
- Plan ahead
- Plan a calm greeting
- Always supervise
Once you find out that you are pregnant, you need to start getting things ready. So not only do you need to get medical tests, you need to get tests for your cat and/or dogs. Cats need to be tested for toxoplasmosis since this can lead to birth abnormalities for your baby. Cats and dogs need to be dewormed and be given a stool test that comes back negative. Before you come home with your baby, your pets’ vaccines should be updated and their nails should be trimmed.
If your pet has behavioral problems that you have not been addressed, this is the time to do it. You don't want your dog jumping onto your newborn or any of your pets being aggressive toward your baby. Remember your dog’s behavior is usually not irrational and they show signs before biting. Your dog may be tense and uncomfortable, which you can notice and help move your pet away from your child.
You will also want to ensure you continue to spend time with your pet. You can look for signs that indicate they feel neglected such as dogs urinating in the house or cats not using their litter box. They want your attention, so try setting aside time dedicated to them such as a long walk, some fetch time, or some games accompanied with treats.
Plan a Calm Greeting
The first thing to ensure is that the pet greets the mom before they meet the baby. It is recommended that this greeting is done in a neutral territory so that your pet is not possessive and thinks of the baby as an invader. It’s okay to go slow, just make sure your pet is secured on a leash and the baby is secured in your arms. If your dog needs help calming down or gets anxious, you can try administering CBD oil for dogs before the greeting or give your cat CBD oil for cats.
Supervision is especially important for when your baby is an infant since they can not control much. Do not allow your pet to sleep with your infant because this could lead to accidental suffocation. Aldo, discourage your pet from licking your child since your pets aren’t necessarily the cleanest and have lots of bacteria on their tongues which they could transfer to the baby’s vulnerable immune systems.