Introducing your dog to the new baby in your household

by Rita Watkins

Introducing your dog to the new baby in your household

If you and your loved one have adopted a dog and you're now expecting a little bundle of joy, you might be wondering how your family is going to come together after your pregnancy. Is your canine going to get along with your new child? Will you need to say goodbye to your dog once you have an infant around the house?

You're not alone with this dilemma - many couples adopt dogs or cats, only to have to think about these potential issues once they discover they're having a baby. If this is your first time being pregnant or simply the first instance of expecting with a dog in the house, you can put your worries aside! There are many ways that you can prepare your home for the changes to come during your pregnancy calendar and make sure the transition is smooth for everyone.

Preparing for your baby's arrival
During your nine months of infant development, you'll want of make a series of adjustments to your home to ensure your pup and baby get along well. Dogs Trust reports that the first step you need to take is to lay down the ground rules for your pet. For example, he or she will need to understand that the days of jumping on furniture and people are coming to an end now that a baby is on the way. Obedience classes can help in this process.

Next, speak with your veterinarian to make sure that your pet is up to date on all vaccinations. Your vet may also be able to give you tips on how to keep your dog calm when the new baby arrives.

Finally, educate yourself on how to handle your dog in the event of a quarrel. There are many books on the market that specifically deal with how to introduce pets to new babies. Take the time to familiarize yourself with helpful tactics to prepare your household for the changes to come.

Diverting attention from your dog
If it's just been you, your partner and your dog living in your home for years, a baby can quickly spur a bit of jealousy once he or she arrives. Your pup may have a hard time understanding why he or she isn't getting as much love and attention as before. During your pregnancy, you can use your nine months to help your pet get used to the idea of sharing you as a parent.

For example, put in the effort to show your dog how to be more independent. This might mean leaving him alone for a longer period of time and giving him toys to occupy himself or herself when you're not available.

Introducing your pet to your child
Once your pregnancy comes to an end and your little one is ready to go home, you'll want to take your time as you introduce your pet to the new member of your household. Cesar's Way recommends acquainting your pet with your child by simply giving him or her something to sniff that belongs to your baby. This can help you dog adjust to the new human's scent.

When it comes time to bring your pet face to face with your baby, keep him or her at a distance. Allow the animal to sniff the baby, then establish boundaries for your pet. For example, teach your dog where he or she can or can't go in the nursery. This will help the animal learn to respect your child.

How have you prepared your pet for a new arrival in the past? Do you have any tips for pet parents and expectant mothers? Leave your feedback in the comments section!