A Guide for Introducing Your Pets to Your Baby

8 min read

Last Modified 3 August 2023 First Added 1 June 2023

Bringing a new baby home can be a joyful and exciting experience, but it can also be a little daunting when you have pets in the mix. Whether you have a loyal dog, a curious cat, or a chatty parrot, introducing them to your new baby can be a challenge. Your pets are used to being the centre of attention, and a new little human can upset their routine. 

Whether you’re a new parent or a seasoned animal owner, through this blog you’ll find valuable insights that will help you create a lasting and loving relationship between your furry friend and your bundle of joy.

Fur-babies to Big Siblings: Preparing Your Pet!

Bringing a new baby into your home is a substantial change for everyone, including your pet.  

How to prepare your pet before your baby arrives: 

1. Game Plan Time! 

Preparing your pet for a new baby takes time and effort. Creating a ‘game plan’ can help you stay organised and focused. Start by making a list of tasks you need to complete before the baby arrives.  

For example, you may need to schedule a visit with your vet to ensure your pet is up to date on vaccinations and in good health. You may also need to plan for pet care during the hospital stay. Once you have a list, prioritise the tasks and create a timeline for completion. 

2. Sit, Stay, Play

Your pet’s obedience skills will be tested once the baby arrives. It’s important to work on obedience training before the baby arrives to ensure your pet listens to commands and responds to your words. This might include basic commands such as sit, stay, and come, as well as more advanced commands such as leave it or drop it.  

Practice command training in different circumstances, such as when the doorbell rings or when someone enters the room. This will help your pet stay calm and focused even when things get busy.  

3. Fresh Start, Fresh Rules

Establishing new house rules early on can help your pet adjust to the new routine. For example, if your pet is used to sleeping in your bed, you may want to start training them to sleep in their own bed (yes, that bed you bought them months ago, but they only used once).  

You can also establish boundaries for where your pet is allowed to go in the house or flat. This can include the baby’s room or play areas. Make sure to enforce the rules consistently to avoid confusion. 

Parents with dog.

4. From Furry Paws to Little Fingers

Babies can be noisy and unpredictable, which can be a little stressful for pets. Getting your pet used to a baby’s touch can help them feel more comfortable around the new arrival.  

Start by introducing your pet to baby toys and sensory sound toys. You can use a baby doll to simulate the experience of a baby’s size and how fragile they are and to get your pet used to how their environment will change!  

You may also want to play videos of a baby crying or screaming, just to get your pet used to the sound frequencies. This way fewer surprises are likely to appear.  

5. Home, Sweet Home

Prepare your home as much as possible, this will make the transition as smooth as it can be. This may include baby-proofing the house, installing baby gates, and setting up the baby’s room.  

You may also want to introduce new scents into the home, such as baby lotion or powder, to help your pet get used to the new smells. Purchasing baby equipment in advance can also aid your pet in getting comfortable with some of the larger items like prams and strollers that they need stay away from for their own safety, or baby rockers that move and make noise.

Preparing your pet for a new baby takes time and effort, but it’s worth it to ensure a smooth transition for everyone and welcome your baby into a loving and safe environment. With patience, love, and consistent training, your pet and baby can have the purrrfect relationship. 

Fur Meets Baby: Making the First Introduction

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for – the introduction of your beloved pet and your precious little explorer!  

To make the introduction run smoothly, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind: 

1. Pace Yourself for Purrfection 

It’s important to introduce your pet and baby gradually, giving them both time to adjust to the new addition to their life.  

Start by bringing home an item that has your baby’s scent, such as a blanket or clothing. Allow your pet to sniff and investigate the item so they can start to get used to the new smell.  

Gradually introduce your pet to your baby, starting with short, supervised visits. As your pet becomes more comfortable, you can slowly increase the length of the visits. 

2. Calm and Confident 

Pets can sense when their owners are feeling anxious or stressed, which can make them anxious too. It’s important to stay calm and speak in a calm voice when introducing your pet to your baby. This will help your pet feel more relaxed and comfortable around the new arrival. 

Family photo with cats.

3. Pamper Your Pet 

Who doesn’t love a treat?  

Preparing some treats for your pet can be a fantastic way to help them associate your baby with positive experiences. When your pet approaches your baby calmly and shows interest, reward them with a treat. This will help reinforce positive behaviour and create a positive association between your pet and baby. 

4. Room to Relax 

When introducing your pet and baby for the first time, it’s best to choose a quiet room where your pet feels comfortable. This could be a room that your pet is already familiar with, such as their favourite spot in the house. Make sure the room is quiet and free from distractions, such as loud noises or other pets. 

5. Praise Your Pet for Their Calm Interest  

When your pet shows calm interest in your baby, make sure to praise them for their good behaviour. This can be as simple as saying “good boy/girl” or giving them a pat on the head.  

Praising your pet for calm interest in the baby will help reinforce positive behaviour and encourage your pet to continue to be calm around your new arrival. 

Baby starring at dog,

Peaceful Coexistence: Maintaining a Safe Home

Your pet is probably a little too excited about having a new playmate at home. However, it’s important to remember that your pets may need some guidance to ensure that everyone stays safe and happy.  

Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind when introducing your pet to your new baby: 

  • Teach Your Pet to Move Out of the Way: Babies and young children are curious by nature, and they love to explore their surroundings. This means they may unintentionally get in the way of your pet.  To avoid any accidents, it’s a good idea to teach your pet to move out of the way when needed. This can be done by gently pushing your pet to the side and saying, “Scoot” or “Move”. With enough practice, your pet will learn to move out of the way on its own when they see the baby coming.
  • Supervise Your Little One: It’s important to never leave your pet and baby unattended, even for a brief period of time. Pets are unpredictable, and even the most well-behaved pet can become agitated or anxious around a new baby. It’s important to always supervise any interaction between your pet and baby to ensure everyone stays safe, at least for the first few months so you can understand their relationship!
  • Teach Your Baby to Respect Your Pet: As your baby grows, it’s important to teach them to respect your pet’s space and boundaries. This can be done by teaching your baby not to grab, pull, or poke your pet, and to give your pet plenty of space when they’re eating or sleeping. It’s also a clever idea to teach your baby to approach your pet gently and calmly. This will help your baby build a positive relationship with your pet and learn how to interact with animals safely.

Your pet is a beloved member of your family, and with a little consistency and training, they can learn to coexist happily with your new baby. 

Family with pets.

Life After: One Big Happy Family

Your pets may become more curious and want to stay near the baby, sniffing and licking them gently. They may even try to cuddle up with your baby or watch over them as they sleep, the perfect snapshot for your photo album.  

It is shown in studies that pets can establish a very protective bond with little children, especially when they get to grow up with them. 

But don’t worry, normal life won’t change too much. You can still enjoy playtime with your pets, go on walks, and have snuggle time together.  

Whether it’s your cat and your newborn or the dog and your newborn, relax and enjoy the new dynamic of your growing family! 

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