There are many dog owners out there who treat their much-loved pet like family and could never imagine a life that didn’t revolve around them. And then they get pregnant, and worry starts to creep in. How will they give their beloved pooch the time and energy they deserve with a brand new baby in the house? How will the dynamic change and will the dog be resentful?
While these worries are understandable, it’s important to keep in mind that dogs and children can be the best of friends! Here are a few tips to help everyone adjust as easily as possible.
Acknowledge you dog’s curiosity. Pregnancy brings a change to your body chemistry, and your dog will sense that. Instead of pushing him away, allow your dog to inspect you as your body changes.
Incorporate new routines. The baby is going to change your current routine. Try to think of all the ways your daily schedule will change and incorporate as many changes now as possible. For example, if you normally walk the dog in the morning but know you will need to be attending to the baby once she comes, start having your partner walk the dog during that time.
Attend training classes. Once the baby comes, it will be more important than ever that your dog have proper manners and respond to your commands. Enrolling in a training class or two as soon as possible will give you a leg up.
Bring other infants into your home. Your dog is in for a surprise when all the smells and sounds of a new baby enter his life. If your friends or family members have infants, invite them over so your dog can start getting used to the idea of a baby in the house.
Bring a blanket home before the baby. Have a friend or family member bring a blanket home from the hospital that smells like your baby. Allow your dog to sniff the blanket so he gets used to the smell of his new family member.
Present the baby in a calming environment. Your dog is going to be so excited to see you when you get home from the hospital. That is not the time to introduce him to the new baby. Greet him first while your partner takes the baby inside. Once your dog is calm, then introduce them. And make sure you are also calm. Your dog will sense your emotions if you are nervous or overly excited during the meeting.
Have a present for your dog. The new baby is going to be getting a whole lot of attention – attention that used to be directed at your dog. A new toy or treat that will engage him and keep him entertained for long periods of time can help everyone stay calm and happy.
Continue new routines. You will never be able to plan 100% for how the baby will change your life, and adjustments will always need to be made. But try to continue as many of the routines you started before baby after baby arrives. Consistency will help your dog adjust as quickly as possible.
What other ways have you prepared a dog to meet a baby? Have you tried any of the above suggestions? How did they work?
Heather Reynolds is a pet lover and internet journalist at Trupanion, North America’s fastest growing pet insurance company. Trupanion offers a simple, customizable pet insurance policy with no payout limits and 90% coverage of veterinary bills. Enrolled pets receive lifetime coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications if they get sick or are injured, with no incident, annual or lifetime limit.