Harmonious Home? How to Help Your Pet Adjust to a New Baby
The best things in life come in small packages, right? Newborn babies are the most delightful little bundles of joy, but this sentiment may not be shared immediately by your pet. Don’t worry. As you transition into your new life with your little one, your pet can also learn about the sights, smells, and sounds associated with babies. It may not always be smooth sailing, but you can definitely help your pet adjust to the new normal with these tips from The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital.
Slow and Steady
New parents-to-be commonly feel overwhelmed with all they have to do and how much they need to learn. Pets are no different. It takes time to absorb changes to the household dynamic. To be sure, your pet will not miss the fact that something big (yet so tiny) is about to shake things up.
Face the Change
It’s a good idea to schedule a wellness exam for your pet prior to baby’s arrival. We can ensure all vaccinations are current and address necessary parasite prevention.
How to Prepare
To help your pet adjust to the upcoming birth of your baby, we recommend some of the following tips:
- Crate training will allow your pet to get away from the baby, visitors, and other commotion. Remember, the baby will be toddling before you know it, and Fluffy or Fido may relish the opportunity to escape ear or tail pulling.
- If your pet doesn’t respond to basic commands, start training now. It’s imperative that your dog understands “down,” “sit,” “leave it,” and more. Likewise, an immediate response to calling his or her name is crucial.
- Do not punish or scold your pet if/when he or she inspects the baby’s furniture, toys, or clothing. Create a positive connection to the baby by staying calm, soft spoken, gentle, and loving to your pet.
- Use your pet’s natural curiosity to your advantage. It’s best that he or she smell, feel, and listen to all things baby-related prior to the homecoming. You might even consider desensitizing your pet with baby sounds on CD.
- Invite people over who have babies to help your pet adjust to the idea.
- Keep up with your household routine as much as possible before and after the birth. Your pet depends on exact meal times, play times, and outside times.
- Recognize the signs of stress, fear, anxiety, or depression in your pet. Please call The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital for help.
- Do not force interactions, and never ignore your pet if he or she goes into hiding.
- Introduce your pet to your new baby after both have been fed and are awake.
- Allow your pet to smell and gaze at your new baby, all the while offering praise and affection.
- Try not to make it a huge deal. If you remain calm and relaxed, he or she will too.
- When you hold the baby, make sure someone else is giving your pet proper attention. Consider a dog walker, dog daycare, or pet sitter for the first couple weeks after the baby is born.
- Do not leave your pet alone with your baby.
Can Your Pet Adjust?
Your pet can certainly adapt well to this new environment, but only with your help. It may take time after the baby is born for your pet to adjust to all the unpredictable sounds and movements. When it happens, watch out for the sweetest duo ever!
We won’t be able to give you more sleep, but we can assist you with any questions or concerns. Congrats and good luck!
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