If you’re getting ready to bring home a new baby, chances are your life is full of planning for how to make this transition run as smoothly as possible. Amidst the birth planning, gathering all the essentials, and taking care of yourself, you may be wondering how your pets will adjust to a new baby as well. 

A new baby can be exciting for everyone, but for pets, it may also cause some anxiety. Pets are creatures of habit, and any change in their routine may be stressful for them. When it comes to this process, it’s smart to start early! Planning and preparation are key.

To that end, Fairview Veterinary Hospital has helpful hints for introducing your pets to your new baby. If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact us

Before Baby

  • Make gradual changes to your dog’s routine, from where he sleeps, to when he gets walked or exercise 
  • Go through the baby’s routine before coming home, and include your pet so they don’t feel left out. Pretend feeding, changing, etc. 
  • wWalking with the stroller, and spending time with your baby’s things will all help your pet feel acclimate to upcoming changes in the environment
  • Acclimate your pet to baby toys, books, supplies, and equipment so they get used to the sights, smells, and sounds they will experience when baby comes home
  • Invest in basic obedience classes, or brush up on basic commands
  • Create a safe space for your pet, where she can retreat to if she needs quiet space. A crate, pet bed, or special pet chair can work well to give your pet a sense of security

Bringing Home Baby: Introducing Your Pet to Your New Baby

  • Introduce your pet to your baby’s smell by having someone bring home a hat the baby has worn before you come home. Let your pet’s sniff the hat so they are introduced to your baby’s smell
  • When you arrive home, greet your pet first alone so he doesn’t get excited and jump on the baby
  • Allow your pet to adjust to the baby’s sight, smell, and sounds before introducing them “formally” 
  • After a few days and when your pet seems calm, allow your pet to sniff the baby while controlled (dogs on leash). Praise your pet for remaining calm. 
  • Always invite the pet to approach the baby, but don’t force it if he doesn’t want to 
  • Once your pet is calm while restrained, allow her to sniff the baby off leash. Watch for reactions if the baby kicks, cries, or screams. Keep the baby elevated and an adult between the pet and the baby for safety

Baby Steps

Introducing your pet to your new baby means planning, and also taking the right steps in the first few weeks after bringing baby home. In this way, you can set everyone up for success and a lifetime of friendship.

Remember to give your pet plenty of attention when the baby is around. You don’t want your pet to associate anything negative with the baby. So give praise, petting, and treats while the baby is near to let your pet know that good things happen while the baby is present. 

Baby toys look a lot like pet toys! So don’t scold your pet for picking them up. Instead, make a trade for a pet toy and keep everyone happy. 

Babies change quickly and keeping up with these changes includes keeping your baby and your pet safe. Never leave a baby alone with even the most trusted pet. 

Your best four legged friend and your new addition will be off to a great start soon! Let us know if we can help.