How can I "baby-proof" my pet?
For many families, dogs and cats are loved and cared for as though they were children. But what happens when pet owners decide to bring a baby into their family? As much of an adjustment as this is for humans, it can be stressful for cats and dogs, too. Infants and pets can get along well with a few tips on making the introduction properly.
It takes months to prepare your home for a baby and you should start preparing your pet well ahead of time, too. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, you can gauge how well your pet will respond to an infant by considering how much exposure the pet has previously had to children and how it reacted during those experiences.
Everything changes for pets when a baby comes - how the home looks, smells and sounds, how much attention it gets and what rules it is held to. The Associated Press reports that it is important to slowly introduce your dog to all of these foreign things before the actual baby arrives. You may want to let a dog or cat sniff around new baby furniture or items like strollers and get used to their presence. You can buy CDs of baby noises and pair them with treats to create a positive association for your pet. When the baby arrives and is still in the hospital, you can bring home an item of clothing with the baby’s scent to introduce your dog to the new smell. Although new parents are very busy and often overwhelmed, it is critical to still make time for your pet by continuing a routine of grooming and exercise so they understand they are still an important part of the family.
When a child is old enough, parents must teach them to respect your pets. They should know to be gentle with the animal, especially if your pet has dog hip dysplasia, and to give sick cats space when necessary.