As new parents, you want to ensure that the new arrival of your baby goes well with your beloved pets. So, keeping their current schedule is essential to prevent any new behaviour problems, such as barking, digging, chewing, and hyperactivity from developing. Make sure this is a shared effort so that one person is not exhausted trying to keep everyone safe and happy.
Slowly introduce your dog by ensuring that they are unable to lunge at the baby in their excitement. Never leave your newborn unattended with your dog even if it’s the friendliest dog in the world.
Be aware of your dog’s body language when around the baby: staring at the baby with a stiff body or closed mouth standing in a stance to lunge or high-pitched whining. If you must step away from doggy and baby make sure that baby is safe in his/her room or your dog is confined to a safe area.
Be aware when your baby is crying, screaming or wiggling around your pet as these movements may provoke a predatory behaviour in some dogs. If you have to step away make sure the nursery door is shut or keep your dog confined to a safe area.
When you’re busy with your new baby, try not to neglect your cat. Have one person play with the cat while someone else tends to the baby. Use Feliway, a synthetic pheromone that cats naturally mark their territory as safe and secure. This will reduce their stress while getting used to all the changes. Don’t allow your cat access to the baby’s crib and keep the nursery door closed. A baby monitor in the nursery is always a good idea as well.
Keep an eye on your cat and baby whenever they’re together. Never leave the baby or small child unattended around any animal. No matter how young the child or gentle the animal, too many things can go wrong, and both can get hurt. Once your baby is mobile supervision is even more critical. Your child should never be allowed to grab, chase or pick up the cat, so keep your child and cat separate when supervision isn’t possible.
Written by Jennifer Barr, Receptionist