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Create a Lasting Friendship Between Pet and Baby

Tips for bringing baby home

Tips for introducing your pet to your newborn safely.

Introducing your baby to your pet can be a daunting experience.  Hoping they get along and form a long lasting friendship is every pet owner and new parents' hope.

On that big day, you've prepared the crib, stocked up on baby food, and mentally prepared yourself for no sleep, but don’t forget about Spot or Tabby, or Clyde the iguana. While these are great pets for big people, they can pose threats for newborns.

The American Humane Society recommends these tips to ensure a smooth introduction.  

Before baby comes home:
  • Make sure your pets have appropriate manners, listen to you, and are well-trained. Identify problem behavior and start working to fix it.
  • Train your dog to stay off people’s beds and furniture. A pet can easily injure a kid by jumping on a couch or bed that the child is on. Also, you want to avoid a pet being eye level with your newborn.
  • Introduce schedule and behavior changes well in advance. You don’t want your pet to associate the child with new strict rules, less attention, and a shattered schedule. Start giving your pet less frequent attention and more quality time to make up for your pet’s inevitable shift to second place. Allow your pet to meet children and feel comfortable with them.
  • Make sure your pets are healthy. Have them checked by a vet and update their inoculations. It’s also important to understand that pets can pose disease and health concerns to newborns.
  • Get your pet used to the sight, sound, and smell of a new arrival. You can do this with a cap that was on the clean baby, occasional baby sounds, and even a doll.
  • Relocate litter boxes, pet cages, or their “go” area as soon as possible to make sure it’s away from the child.
  • Don’t forget to still provide for your pet’s physical and mental needs.
  • On the big day
  • Bring clothing or a blanket that belongs to the baby so the pet can smell it again before meeting the newborn.
  • Have a helper at home before hand to make sure your pets are happy, exercised, and not over eager when you get home with the child.
  • Come in and greet your pet before bringing in the child, have a friend or partner hold the baby as you do this.
  • Monitor the baby’s and pets’ first actions with the child very closely! Be ready to step in if needed.

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courtesy of American Humane Society

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