Expecting? Integrating Pets and Babies in Your Home

We're Expecting!

My daughter Gwen announced recently that my first grandchild is due on August 2nd. Spoiler alert - it's a girl! She will be named after Gwen and Brandon's grandmothers: Sarah (my Mom) Marie (Brandon's grandmother). To say we are excited doesn't come close to explaining our feelings! Congratulations Gwen and Brandon! And good luck integrating your fur-kids with your two-legged. When my children were born we had a Doberman - many warned us against keeping the dog. The dog was our kids' best friend and watched over them carefully. I fully believe kids and pets belong together.

Helping Your Dog To Accept Your New Baby

Just as you train your dog to behave, you will also have to train them to accept your new baby. Bringing a new pack member into the household isn’t just an adjustment for you - it may take your dog some time to get used to a new family dynamic. Not only is there an exciting new addition, but there will also be a change in the amount of attention your dog may have. With a little preparation, you can help your dog to get used to the new routines, and help them not to be anxious about the sounds of a baby and the new smells they bring to the house. 

Before you bring your baby home

Babies are noisy - the sounds of crying and gurgling will be unfamiliar to your dog, and may be distressing at first. In the few months before your baby arrives, it can help to play baby sounds in the house. There are free baby sound effects available on YouTube. If your baby doesn’t come home for a few days after they are born, then put a blanket in the cot with them. You should then give the blanket to your dog so that they can become acclimated to how your baby smells. 

The first introductions

Even if you trust your dog implicitly, you should never leave them alone with a baby: keeping your baby safe is the most important priority.  Make sure that you install safety gates in your house between doorways and stairs so that you can keep them separate. The first introductions with your baby should be done in a controlled way, with the baby held safely in your arms. Always remain calm - this will teach your dog how to behave around the baby. Some Nutricalm canine supplements can also help. It is not uncommon for dogs to be jealous and confused about your little one, especially if they are no longer getting the attention that they're used to. Make sure that you pet and fuss your dog at every opportunity so that they know they are still an important member of the household. 

Including your dog in daily routine

Try and include your dog in activities with your baby whenever possible. If you are playing with your baby, then try throwing a toy for your dog in between. If you're going out for a walk with the stroller around the neighborhood, then take your dog with you. This will help them understand that they have a new pack member. When your new baby arrives, it might not always be possible to go for walkies at the same times as you used to. In the months leading up to the birth, try altering the routine where you can. Try shorter and more frequent walks, and try different routes that are going to be suitable to take a stroller. Your dog will then be less put out if they don’t always get to go out at exactly the same time every day. 

A new baby is a wonderful addition to your pack. With a little preparation, you can help your dog adjust to the transition, so that they will really bond with their human sibling.