Bringing a new baby home is one of the most common reasons pets are abandoned at the Animal Protective Foundation (APF). Bringing a new baby home can be stressful, especially for your pets. Not only is there a new little person in your household, but your whole routine changes as well.
Before a new baby arrives, it’s important to plan how to make the transition as smooth as possible for all the furry friends in the house. Laura Weiner, LVT, director of the APF Sterilization and Sterilization Clinic, said simple changes made the transition to her first child easier.
“During my pregnancy with my daughter, my husband and I worked hard to prepare our two dogs for the change by setting up gates ahead of time, creating a solid sleeping routine and making sure they had their own spaces. safe when they needed to relax away from the baby,” she says. “Patience and understanding that a new bond is being formed between your fur babies and your newborn is key to successfully keeping everyone happy. and in good health.”
Here are some changes they made to help their two dogs prepare for this adjustment.
1. Make routine changes early.
Do your cats and dogs sleep in the same room or bed as you? Ask yourself if your pet will be comfortable continuing this practice with a newborn in the room who will be up and noisy every few hours. Months before we were due, I slowly moved my dogs to sleep in another room. Routine changes can be stressful for people and pets, so making the change early creates a slower transition for everyone.
2. Create safe spaces for the new baby as well as your pets.
Decide early if your pets will be allowed in the nursery. If not, start training your pets to respect the forbidden space well before the newborn arrives. Along the same lines, what space in your home should your pet go where they can escape and enjoy some quiet time to settle down? Purchase baby gates for space dividers and install them before your newborn arrives. This allows for designated areas not only for the newborn but also for your pet if they want to get away from the new change a bit.
3. Teach your pet the difference between baby toys/items and theirs.
Set up your crib and other baby items early and set clear boundaries so your pet understands that these items don’t belong to them. Don’t let your pet play with baby toys, this will help prevent possible future resource protection.
Nurseries also come with many new items. It’s good to give your dog or cat as much time as possible to get used to the new setup.
4. Establish a pet care plan when you deliver your child.
Remember that your household may be busy and you may be away for a long time; have a plan to ensure your pet receives care and enrichment while you are away. You definitely don’t want to come home with a new baby or an energetic animal looking for entertainment!
5. Provide a slow introduction.
Plan to send a family member home with a baby item, such as a blanket, that will contain their scent so they can get used to it before the baby comes into your home. When it’s time to introduce yourself, move slowly and be sure to supervise your pet’s interactions with your child.
If you ever feel overwhelmed, the APF is available as a resource. The APF can sometimes provide equipment such as crates and/or baby gates to help with your transition to keep your pet away from your new family.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the best plans go wrong, and there are dogs and cats that are not comfortable around children. If the best thing for your pet is to find him a more structured home in his routine, we will do our best to find him an ideal home for his next chapter.
APF contributes Animal Chronicles and welcomes animal-related questions and stories about people and animals in our community. Visit animalprotective.org, follow us on social media @AnimalProtectiveFoundation or email us at [email protected]