You just never know how your furry family member will react to the new addition. Therefore, be sure to be cautious and never leave them alone and slowly introduce them.
Tips for Preparing your Fur Baby
The following tips are provided by the Animal Human Society, and are designed to help pets and parents prepare for the arrival of their newborn.
Any other babies or toddlers in your world?
Do any family members or close friends have babies or toddlers? Now’s the time to expose your new pet to them. Invite them over and expose your pet to the baby, but make sure to always be cautious and that the parent is aware of the intent of their visit. Pet-loving friends are typically the best candidates for this.
Providing small doses of regular exposure to babies allows your dog/cat to get used to other small bodies in the house and the strange sounds and smells that will enter their domain.
Never leave a baby or child unattended with a pet. Reward your dog or cat for calm behavior around the baby, and only let them approach the child if they are calm. Do not punish your animal if s/he shows any signs of upset or aggression. If there are signs of the pet being upset and any aggression, your guests should leave calmly and you can try again another time.
What is allowed Now, that won’t be Then
There are all kinds of things that may shift in terms of where your pet is allowed to be now, and where he or she won’t be allowed once baby comes.
Try to envision how your home will shift, and which rules will change. Then start the new protocol months before the baby arrives. That way, the new routine is the “norm” and your pet won’t connect it to the baby’s arrival.
- Sleeping arrangements. Odds are you might not want your pet in the bed when the baby will be there. This is a good time to buy the new pet bed and train him/her to sleep peacefully in their new area.
- Pet feeding stations. A baby reaching for pet food on the floor can make a docile pet turn protective. Arrange a new feeding station, or change up the feeding routine.
- Couches/chairs. It may be a good idea to re-train your cat or dog to stay off couches or favourite chairs unless invited. You may find you are okay with your pet and your baby together on the couch or chair with you – and then you can invite them up. But since you can’t predict what you will want – it’s better to be slightly more restrictive until baby is home and you’ve established a routine.
- Change the environment incrementally. Dogs and cats are sensitive to any changes in their environment. Make small nursery changes over time so pets have a chance to adjust. Then, spend time playing with them in the space to make it familiar. Remember, pets should never be allowed unsupervised with the baby to help keep everyone safe.
Blending families – human and furred – isn’t always as easy as you might think. The more prepared you are, the smoother the transitions will be.
My name is Tanja, and I specialize in maternity and newborn photography with a studio in North Vancouver. I would love the opportunity to create artistic and emotional images of your newborn and your loved ones capturing the magic of this precious time. Contact me to schedule your newborn photography session.