Before you bring your new bundle of joy home to meet the pets, it’s important to prepare your furry family members for the change. Here are 10 steps to take in order to plan ahead.
Families grow and change over time – and babies are often part of this exciting adventure! Maybe you’re expecting, or maybe you’re planning to add to the family in the near future. If your pets are used to being the “only child”, it may be difficult for them to adjust to a new baby brother or sister. Preparing your animals for this big adjustment ahead of time will help make the transition easier for everyone in the house.
One thing that can really help families as they grow and change are in-home gates. For example, the Gathered Home Gate and the Riverstone Gate are both great products for families. Not only are they ideal gates to help with managing your pets, but they can easily be adapted for babies too! These gates can help keep pets separate from the kids’ rooms, living room, or any other part of the home. They are a simple and safe way to transform openings around the house in a snap, and can be adapted for however your needs and routines change over time.
Having in-home gates can make it a lot easier for babies, pets, and even parents to cohabitate.
However, there are several other steps you can take to ensure that pet and parents alike are set up for success. Before introducing your newborn to the pets, here are 10 other tips to consider:
Before Baby Arrives
1. Make sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccines.
As your pets get used to your baby they will likely be in close proximity, so making sure that Fluffy has his shots is a good idea. It’s important to keep everyone healthy during this time, including your furry friends.
2. Work on behavior issues.
You definitely want to avoid your pets jumping on, nipping at, or growling at your baby. If your pet is already prone to any bad behaviors that could potentially harm or scare your baby, be sure to train them out of it before baby arrives.
3. Learn the signs of aggression.
If your pet gets easily aggressive or uncomfortable, learn how to spot these signs and be ready to intervene. This will allow you to get both your pets and your baby away from a potentially dangerous situation.
4. Get pets acquainted with their new environment.
Your household is likely to change during this time. New furniture, toys, or equipment will be brought in, and your pets might need time to adjust to the sights and smells of their surroundings.
5. Use strollers, baby carriers, and other props.
Before baby arrives, get your pets used to the new equipment and items that you’ll be using with your baby. Take walks with the empty stroller, carry the car seat around the house, and maybe even hold a baby doll in your arms while the pets are nearby.
After Baby Arrives
1. Give your pets a warm welcome, alone.
Before introducing dog and baby, be sure to greet your pets as usual. Once they’ve calmed down, you can carefully go about making introductions with the baby.
2. Make leashed introductions.
Keeping your pet on a leash, first allow them to see the baby from a far. Give them praise for sitting calmly, and if they’re behaving, gradually allow them to get a little bit closer. If your pets are overly anxious about the baby, it may be wise to do this over the course of several days before actually allowing your pets to get close.
3. Get pets accustomed to the baby’s scent.
Give the pets a baby blanket or used item of clothing so they can adjust to the scent of this new, unfamiliar human in their home.
4. Be sure to include your pets.
This is going to be a time of change for everyone, and your pets may be confused about why they’re not getting as much attention. This might cause your pets to cause trouble if they feel left out. Don’t forget to give them love and attention, too!
5. Use a gate to keep areas of the home off-limits.
It can be difficult to keep an eye on both the baby and the pets at the same time. Gates are a great solution for blocking entry to the baby’s room or other areas of the home.
Adding to your family is an exciting time, but it can be very stressful as well! We hope that these tips and tricks help you and your family as you go through changes big and small in your homes.