Bringing a new member into the family is an exciting and nerve-racking experience. Especially if this is your first child, pets may get jealous with someone else taking the attention away from them. These tips will help you prepare pets for a new baby in the house.
Schedule health and grooming appointments
Remove any unnecessary additional stress by making sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccines, especially rabies shots, and are free of fleas and ticks. You will also want to have their nails trimmed to avoid any scratches on you or the baby. While you’re at it, consider getting your pooch or feline a haircut so you have one less thing to worry about when taking care of a newborn.
Expose pets to babies and children
If you have friends or family members that have babies or small children, encourage them to come over so your dog or cat can get used to the smells, sounds and sight of a small human. You may also want to play recordings of baby sounds and toys while in the house and acclimate them to new smells by using baby lotion and powder.
If you haven’t been keeping up with your pet training, now is the time to nail it down. If your pup starts acting up, you’ll want to make sure they will cooperate with you. Refreshing (or teaching) commands like “sit,” “drop it” and “down” will help maintain a sense of order and reduce the chances of your pooch unintentionally harming your baby. Another idea is to teach your dog to go to a certain place, such as a bed, and praise them for listening with treats. This will teach your furry friend to get out of the way if needed.
Practice new routine
Pets crave consistency, so it is best to make gradual changes to their lifestyle. Practice changing, feeding, rocking and walking with an empty stroller for them to get used to this new routine. This will provide your pets (and you) a glimpse on what life will be like when the new baby comes.
Change sleeping arrangements
If your pup or kitty usually sleeps in your bedroom and you’d like that to change with the new arrival, start introducing them to their new sleep space as soon as possible. This will help them become comfortable with their new arrangement before the baby arrives.
Keep out of nursery
As things are starting to fall into place for the nursery, create strict boundaries for your pets not to go in there, especially when you aren’t in it. Try using a gate so they are able to view what is going on, without going in.
Move food and water
Although your new family addition will not be crawling anytime soon, you’ll want to prep your pets with where their food will be located once your young one is moving about. Place food and water in an area that will be out of reach for the baby, but easily accessible for pets.