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Pets and the New Baby: What's Safe, How to Prepare

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The arrival of a newborn brings so much excitement to any household. However, if you’re a pet owner, you’re probably anxious about how your furry babies will get along with your newborn.

Luckily, with a bit of planning, you can make your household safe for your baby and help your pets become good “siblings” to your little one.

Here’s a guide on preparing your pets for the new baby.

Plan Ahead

Early on during your pregnancy, you must have your pets tested for various conditions.

Take them to the vet for some major tests, specifically for parasitic diseases like toxoplasmosis. All pets should be dewormed, as parasites can cause abnormalities in a developing baby when a newly pregnant woman gets infected with it.

Also, make sure that your pets are updated with their vaccines.

If your pet has behavior issues, you must tackle them as soon as possible. Focus on your leadership. Establish yourself as the unwavering pack leader so your dogs will behave the way you'd like them to. Consider asking help from a professional trainer if needed.

Prepare the Environment

A great way to help your pets adjust to a baby-friendly household is to make them familiar with the new environment.

Let them get used to the idea that a baby is on the way by unpacking new furniture and baby gear as early as you can.

Give your pets time to familiarize themselves with the baby's stuff by taking them to the nursery often as you build it, and showing them some newborn items like the crib and toys.

Prepare Your Pet for Baby Sounds

A baby's crying and screaming can be disturbing to animals. Play recordings of a baby crying, turn on your baby's swing toys that make noises and play nursery rhymes daily. They are a great way to help pets become more familiar with baby sounds.

Prepare the Pet for Baby Smells

Apart from the sound, you also want to introduce new scents to your pets, such as the smell of baby detergent, diapers, lotions, powders, and other baby products.

Another popular way to introduce your fur baby to your new baby is to bring home your little one's first outfit or blanket. Let your pet sniff and become familiar with your baby's scent.

Create Barriers to Areas of the Home

During the first few weeks or months of your baby, you want to be extremely protective of her. Getting used to the presence of a newborn can take time for pets, so you want to make sure there’s a healthy boundary between your little one and your fur babies.

Part of preparing your home for the arrival of a new baby is to set up barriers in restricted areas, especially the nursery room.

Consider installing a door gate or barrier to the nursery room so even if you leave it open, your pets can’t enter. Also, stop them every time they try to come in. They will eventually get the message that they shouldn’t be there.

Change Your Home Cleaning Routine

Maintaining a clean and germ-free environment can be difficult when you have pets. They can bring home bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that can cause illness if transmitted to humans.

To protect your health and your baby’s health, regularly clean surfaces in your home using disinfecting sprays. Mop the floors with a bit of detergent soap or baby-safe cleaner to get rid of germs and bacteria.

Plan on how you’re going to minimize the spread of germs in your house, such as limiting pets’ access to areas like bedrooms and the kitchen where you prepare baby food and bottles.

Also, stock on baby-friendly cleaning supplies. When you’re taking care of a baby, even a 20-minute trip to the grocery can be challenging.

Consider using dehumidifiers and air purifiers to prevent the spread of allergy-causing pet dander.

Introducing Your Pet to Your Baby

The introduction can be overwhelming for your pet, as it is for you. When you enter the house, greet your pet like you normally would.

Make sure your pet is in a calm-submissive state. It's a good idea to have your partner or someone in the family take your dog for a long walk to drain his energy.

When he's relaxed, start introducing your pet to your baby.  You can let your pet sniff the baby, at a respectful distance. Do not bring the baby too close to your pet on their first meeting. By doing this, you are teaching your dog to respect the baby as another pack leader.

Supervise All Interactions

Never leave your baby unattended around your pet. No matter how young your pet is or how gentle he is, both parties can get hurt.

As your baby grows and learns to crawl and walk, the more supervision they need. You shouldn't allow your child to grab, chase, or pick up your pet, or even yank his tail. Teach your child not to bother your pet and establish a healthy and respectful relationship with animals.

Conclusion

The arrival of a new baby can be very exciting. However, it can also be extremely challenging and potentially dangerous when you have pets.

Luckily, nine months are more than enough to help your pet transition into a life with a newborn. By following the tips mentioned above, a seemingly challenging task will become a lot easier.

It's going to take time and effort to prepare your pet for a baby, so the sooner you start, the better. Planning is the key to having a healthy, safe, and happy household with pets and a baby around.

About the Author:

Mariam is a Hygiene Specialist working with SONO Healthcare. She has been interested in health and cleaning issues since she was young and wants to share her knowledge and experience with others who are not indifferent to cleanup. Mariam is deeply convinced that house cleaning is a critical part of hygiene. On a regular basis, she delivers new cleaning expert advice on how to treat products, tools, different items, which sometimes include medical instruments and equipment as well.

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