Introducing Pets to Babies
The presence of a baby in a family is itself an enormous change for the parents. This new chapter in their lives is often made complicated if they have pets. Pets consider themselves as a central part of the family, and rightly so. Having a baby in the house can make them feel territorial. This can eventually result in ill feelings towards the child, which can sometimes lead to dangerous consequences.
However, it is always a good idea to take precautionary measures from the very beginning. Pets can develop a very special and positive relationship with children, and in order to nurture it, make sure that you invest time into preparing your pet for a new arrival.
Here are a few tips to consider when it comes to introducing pets to babies.
Take Small, Gradual Steps
Make sure that you don’t overwhelm your pet with the new arrival in your home. Give them enough space to adjust to the presence of a baby in the house. Ideally, there should be a separate place for them, where they cannot be disturbed from the commotion in the house. Consider using your laundry room, or simply a crate for a dog and high shelf for a cat. Be sure to keep it stashed with a blanket, food and toys.
Additionally, keep your dogs on a leash when they are around the baby, so that they are close enough to smell his/her presence, but far enough that they cannot bite.
Positive reinforcement can do wonders for the relationship between your pet and baby. If your cat or dog is behaving well around the baby, be sure to praise them and give them treats they deserve. This will encourage them to be nice or not as rambunctious in front of the baby.
Stay Firm and Composed
This is extremely important. If you become nervous during this introduction phase, your pets will sense it instantly and they will perceive the presence of the baby as something wrong or dangerous, which may cause them to react accordingly. Yelling at your pet for coming too close to the baby will instantly make him/her defensive. Be firm without raising your voice, otherwise, your pet may harbor negative feelings towards the baby.
Don’t Neglect your Pet
One of the biggest reasons some pets react adversely to a new baby is if they feel neglected. Try to include them as much as you can so that they feel that your attention has not wavered. Over the passage of time, they will definitely become fierce protectors of your child.
If you feel that you need more assistance, be it for your cat’s health, cat or dog food, or more tips like these, feel free to contact us at ePets and we will be more than happy to be of assistance!