Introducing A New Family Member to Your Dog
Pets and children are like Summer and popsicles, pizza and football, hearts and love. The love you have for your pet can only be rivaled by the love for your baby. This can cloud the judgment of even the most dedicated new parent. You want your dog to love your baby. You want that adoration your dog feels for you to carry over to your child. This is not always the case. Here are tips from experts across the board, from The Humane Society, to vets, to pediatricians, on how best to bring the family together, safely.
1-There are steps you need to take to ready your dog for a baby. Never assume your dog is going to just bloom and worship that sweet little wonder you bring into the house. In a dog’s mind, there is a chance he or she will feel replaced. More than one dog can produce an even more enhanced pack mentality, the baby being at the bottom of the list. Dogs are not humans. Never put the dog nor the baby in danger by assuming you know best. A dog is a dog, and although loyal and loving, instinct is instinct and you can not love the instinct out of animal as old as time itself. NEVER introduce a baby or small child to a dog that has shown aggression. This is dangerous and meets the legal definition of child endangerment.
2-Dogs have diseases and babies have new and precarious immune systems. You have to keep your baby safe from the diseases which can put them at risk. Never let an infant touch a sick dog. Never let an infant near the dog’s bowls or toys. Never let the dog’s bodily waste come in contact with the baby. These seem like simple things to remember, but with a house full of kids, dogs, and things to be done, is possible to look away for just that second. Read on for all the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC,) on how to keep your baby safe.
3-The actual moment you introduce the loves of your life will be emotional. This will be beyond any sweetness you could have imagined. Or it could go horribly wrong. That is why you need a literal plan of action. This is not a situation that you can just jump into without preparation.
4-When you bring a baby home you need to take all the steps necessary to make a nursery, have diapers, formula, and anything else the magazines and pediatricians tell you to have on hand. You will probably never feel ready, and if in that glimmer of a second you do feel ready, when you get home, you will find out you were oh so very wrong! Do not leave your dog hanging in the process of trying to pull it all together. Your dog needs a safe space, his or her own nursery if you will, before the baby comes home. The crying, the late night walking or TV watching, the decrease in pet attention and affection will have an impact. If your dog is crate trained, make sure the crate is open at all times. If your dog is small, set up a corral with a blanket and bed. For larger dogs, make sure he or she can find a safe spot to just get away from it all. Have dogs toys and medicine at the ready, as well as extra food and potty pads, you will not be running out to the pet store whenever the need strikes.
5-At the end of the storm of information, warnings, and rules to follow, there is a bright and glorious rainbow in sight. Having pets benefits children in a dozen ways. They learn pet care, responsibility, realize the profound joy in receiving and giving unconditional love, have a lifelong protector, and know the excitement of walking in the door to the greatest welcome home ever received, (before that first trips home from college.) They also benefit psychologically as pet and human sibling relationships help with confidence, intellect, emotion, and help in developing coping skills and compassion. Now the scientific and child health communities have gathered evidence that owning pets early help with fending off allergies.
Pets change human lives. Your pet’s life will change dramatically when you bring a baby into your home. Know your dog’s limits. Protect your baby first. Once the love takes hold, it will be a love story for the ages.