Get Your Fur Baby Ready for Human Baby Play
Your pet was your first baby. Your pet is a real and important part of your family, so it’s important to prepare Fido or Tabby for the arrival of a baby. A baby will be a new, loud, wonderful, and disruptive part of your home life. Here are a few tips to make baby’s arrival a little less disruptive or scary for your pet.
Adults know to treat a pet gently. A baby doesn’t know this, which means that you need to prepare your pet for this new kind of interaction. Children love to poke, grab, and explore their environment. If your pet is skittish and not used to this kind of incidental contact, you should prepare by exposing them to this. Gently poke your pet’s sides while you pet it, play with their feet, and rub their tail and face. Reward them consistently for good behavior during this so that they begin to equate it with praise and rewards. If your pet is ready for the baby, they can become fast friends!
While You Baby Proof Your House, Consider Your Pet
Babies have a knack for getting into places in the house that they shouldn’t. Consider setting up your baby gates, crib, changing table, etc. early enough when you decide to raise a child to get your pet used to the new set up and possible restrictions. If you need to relocate a pet’s food or toys, do this as early as you can before your baby comes home so your pet is accustomed to the new status quo. You might also consider putting out a basket of your baby’s toys so that you have time to teach your pet that they are not her toys. Of course, make sure your pet has appropriate toys of their own. You want to reduce the amount of sudden change as much as possible while you’re introducing your pet to a new member of the family
Help Your Baby and Your Pet Get to Know Each Other in a Safe, Supervised Setting
Gently introducing your pet to your baby is crucial for both your baby’s and your pet’s well-being. Use positive reinforcement and practice to teach your pet that they are your partner in protecting and caring for your baby, and not a competitor with the baby for your affection. This will help to take care of the emotional and mental health of your fur baby, and your people baby.
If your pet likes treats, practice calling him away from the baby, or the baby’s toys, then reward him with a treat each time he listens to you.
Planning for your new baby and preparing your pet as early as possible are the two keys to a successful pet-baby relationship. Once a pet understands that the baby is not a threat and has your seal of approval, the pet and the baby can develop a deep and lifelong bond that’s unrivaled by almost anything else. However, no matter how affectionate your pet is, never leave a child unattended with a pet – for both their safety.