Pets and a New Baby
Is the family dog a danger to your newborn baby? Will the cat provoke allergic reaction? The thoughts are many when you first bring home your newborn baby from the hospital. By being careful and having planned on beforehand you can avoid many traps when introducing a new baby to the family pet.
Pets can react differently when introduced to a baby. Perhaps you have a dog and you do not really know how it will react to the new family member. Usually it’s no problem, but you should always be on alert when the dog and baby are close to each other. The dog may bite baby due to the baby’s curiosity for the dog. The baby reacts just as instinctively as the dog – it can be scared and start screaming which in turn can scare the dog into biting or barking. In a worst case scenario, the baby and pets do not get comfortable which each other and you might think about getting a new home for your dog.
If you have a cat at home you have to be watchful where the cat lies and lies down. The cat can easily climb up on the baby’s bed and if you are unlucky the cat do some damage on the baby. So close the door to the nursery or bedroom, so that the cat can’t sneak in.
In order to accustom the pets to the new baby, you can go out for a walk with both the dog and even cat and the baby carriage, so as to get used to the animal as the new walking companion. One can also arrange the baby nursery with various things so that the dog or cat has time to smell of, explore and get used to it. This is the only way to prepare the family pet with the arrival of the baby.
The situation is of course trickier if you have variety of pets, such as many dogs, cats and maybe birds or other mammals. Pets kept in a cage do seldom pose a problem, as they are in a closed container and cannot reach the baby. Here you have to watch the baby on the other hand, as they might put their fingers into the cage or try to open it. If you have several cats, for instance, you need to watch them closely even if they are well mannered. Cats can feel threatened by the new arrival and they might not accept it as a part of their hierarchy.
An important thing to remember that just because you got a baby you should not forget or block out the animal. Let it be curious. And meet the new member. There is so much new and exciting for your pet: new scents, new baby, new routines etc. The animal has to get used to all of this and only than it can be assured that the new baby will be a future playmate and not a threat.