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Tips for Bringing an Infant into a Pet-Friendly Household

There can be some concern about introducing a baby into your pet-friendly household. With some planning prior to the arrival of the baby, Sparky will grow to love this new member of the family.

There can be some concern about introducing a baby into your dog or cat-friendly household. For expectant mothers, you may have noticed your pet clinging to you, wanting your undivided attention or being very protective, and acknowledging the changes to your body before most others will. With some planning prior to the arrival of the baby, Sparky will grow accustomed to this new member of the family. Here are some simple but effective tips to make this process smoother for both pet and mommy.

1. Allow your cat or dog investigate the nursery once it is all set up. Make it clear that this is not your pet’s room and it is off limits unless he or she is invited. Spend some time in the nursery alone to let your pet know that you will be spending time in the room without them.

2. Begin playing a recording of baby noises around the house (particularly in the nursery), and reassure your pet that these sounds are safe and normal. When the sound of a baby crying happens in the recording, spend some time in the nursery. After a little while, turn down the volume so your pet understands the crying will eventually stop.

3. Bring home the baby’s cap or blanket from the hospital before the baby arrives. These items have both the baby’s scent as well as yours and are best preserved if kept in a sealed bag. Place the item in a location that is easily accessible to your pet so he/she can inspect it.

4. When mother and baby return home from the hospital, put the dog outside or cat in another room. Since your pet has not seen mom in a few days, he or she could be very excited. Once the baby is safely in the nursery, mom should spend some time with the pet so they can reacquaint themselves.

5. Introduce a new baby to your pet(s) about a day after he or she arrives home. This will give your pet a chance to hear the baby’s sounds. Let your pet sniff the baby’s blanket first, NOT the baby’s face. Pay attention to your pet…if the pet is unsure, try again another day. If things seem to be going well, you can allow your pet to continue smell the baby’s hands and finally, face. It may take a little while, but your pet will get used to your new addition.

The most important thing to remember about introducing a pet to a newborn is to always be aware of the pet’s body language and behavior. An adult must be present at all times, as a baby has no defense mechanisms or ways of communicating with your pet. With some patience and careful guidance, your new baby and your pet will become lifelong pals!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Corona August 26, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Joanne- I was told not to bring home anything from the Hospital before the baby arrives due to concerns of the pets behavior. Have you heard this? Care to explain the difference of opinions? Thanks Mike Corona www.activate-fitness.net
Joanne Morris, CKO August 27, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Hello Mike, Firstly, we'd like to thank you for taking the time to read and respond to our blog post. As for the difference in opinion, if the advice to refrain from bringing home baby items before the baby arrives comes from a trusted source then we recommend following the information you feel most comfortable with. Though this is our method of introduction, we find there is always a difference of opinions but the safety of both infant and pet is most important. Again, thank you very much and we look forward to your correspondence in the future. Sincerely, Morris Animal Inn www.MorrisAnimalInn.com
Fredric Stavros December 04, 2012 at 04:22 AM
We recently had a baby in our household. My sister gave birth to my niece and her dog who they have treated as their baby since he (yes, the dog is a he), was a puppy did not have a jealous bone in him towards the baby. What they did, they made him get used to baby noise and a baby doll. They would always talk to the dog and for some reason, the dog understood. I think it is the connection that they have made and nurtured with the dog. Now, he is more than happy to welcome the baby to their household. He even guards the room and stays near the crib every day. He doesn’t someone to move the baby from one room to another, other than the baby’s parents. Such closeness they’ve built between the dog and the baby. Amazing.
Joanne Morris, CKO December 04, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Hello Fredric, Thank you for sharing that wonderful story. We here at Morris Animal Inn are touched by the amazing connection between your niece and her dog. Sincerely, Morris Animal Inn www.MorrisAnimalInn.com

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