Healthy Ways to Safely Introduce a Newborn to an Existing Pet
As pet lovers, we have already formed a special bond with our four-legged friends that builds up over time and bringing someone new into this picture can be problematic. After all, some of our pets can become anxious when we simply leave them behind when we must deal with adult responsibilities, but bringing home a new bundle of joy as our new constant companion can be difficult for them to process.
Most often, these types of transitions happen without any type of incident, but there are still ways that we can ease the way this introduction takes place that will be better off for everyone involved. Here’s some tips for making the arrival of a new baby into the environment of an existing pet, to ensure they’ll be future best friends for life:
Check It Out
Be sure to take your animal to the vet before the big day arrives for a comprehensive examination, just to be sure they’re in perfect health before adding an infant into the pet picture. But check out this important fact, according to some recent studies, having a dog or cat greatly reduces the risk of your baby developing allergies, asthma and other health problems later in life.
During infancy, it’s probably best to keep your favorite feline out of the nursery, at least for the first few months, due to their agility and natural state of curiosity. Jumping into the crib or onto a changing table could lead to some pretty obvious problems for your both your baby and cat.
When it comes to their litter box, if your feline’s bathroom isn’t a place that’s toddler-friendly, it’s better to move it sooner, rather than later. Pet experts recommend you engage in this process slowly. In other words, instead of simply moving it from point A to B immediately, make this transition over several days or even weeks – slowly relocating it just a few feet each time.
Behavior and Sensory Perceptions
Whether you have a dog or cat, or even both, an infant comes with many new types of smells and sounds that can irritate an animal’s sensitive hearing and sense of smell. Here’s a few ways to ease them into this process before the baby abruptly arrives:
- Consider playing some infant sounds found on sites like YouTube to ease them into these new noises.
- If there’s time and an opportunity, think about bringing home a baby blanket before the infant arrives home with the scent of the little one already on the swaddling clothing.
- Get your pet used to the fact that you’ll have a new constant companion by carrying around a doll wrapped in a blanket – this will help to soften the blow.
Think about giving your pet their own, personal space, whether or not they’re crate trained, another area like a laundry room or garage, this will give them a sense of belonging to an area that’s baby-free and make them feel safe during the transition.
It’s probably unlikely you’ll have too many problems with your soon-to-be toddler connecting with your existing four-legged friend, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before you know it, they’ll be best friends and there will be a new, lifelong bond that will happen within the entire family.
Tara Heath is a 37 year old health professional and works as a freelancer writer in the evenings. Her writing focuses mainly on health, such as skincare and how to live a healthy lifestyle overall. She lives in Burbank, Ca. with her husband and two beautiful daughters ages eight and twelve.