A Parent Guide to Introducing Your Pet to Your Newborn Baby
Top parent tips to help your pet dog or cat get used to the new baby in your family
4 February 2022
How to introduce your pet dog or cat to your new baby.
Before your arms were filled with a snuggly, wiggly newborn, your family was home to another little one: the fur baby. A common concern for many parents with pet dogs or cats is how can you help transition into a new life between your pet and child, and ensure they get along?
Welcoming a new baby into your family's life, including your pet's, requires some preparation. Acclimating pets to babies, and teaching little ones to share a home with their four-legged companions will take a lot of adjusting.
Here are some top tips for preparing your pet for the baby's arrival and how to introduce your pet to your newborn.
1. Is your pet healthy?
Before the baby enters the picture, it's important to make sure that your pet dog or cat is healthy, recently checked by a vet, up to date with their shots, and fully covered for parasites.
Some contagious diseases, such as ringworm, can easily be transferred from pet to human so it's important to ensure that your pet is healthy.
2. Help your pet get familiar with baby sounds before the newborn arrives.
Your home will soon be filled with the sounds of a newborn crying, screaming, giggling and cooing.
Try and get your pet familiar with these sounds through audio tracks on YouTube and play them from different parts of the house, and at different points of your pet's everyday routine.
Every time you expose your pet to these sounds, consider rewarding them with a treat or an activity they like, so they may associate the sounds with good things.
3. Introduce your pet to new routine changes in advance.
A new baby won't just change your everyday routine, but your pet's as well. Try to establish the new post-baby routine before the newborn actually arrives, and introduce these changes slowly and keep them positive.
Consider changes to your dog's daily walks, your pet's sleeping arrangements around the house, etc.
4. Use your baby's blanket to get your pet used to their scent.
One commonly recommended way to introduce your pet your your baby is to help get your pet used to the newborn's scent. You can do this by using a new blanket to wrap your baby in.
After some time, bring the blanket back and present it to your pet or place it in your pet's bedding.
5. Slowly introduce your pet to your baby at a safe distance.
When it's time to bring the baby home, let your pet meet the new addition to the family at a safe distance, with one parent holding the pet or on a leash, and the other parent holding the baby.
It won't be an instant bonding process between the two of them, so create small successes and build from there.
6. Keep spaces dedicated to your baby.
Pet crates can help keep your pet out when you need it, while still letting your fur baby watch the exciting changes happening in the family.
Baby gates are great for keeping the family pet away from your baby when you need it.
7. Spend time with both your pet and newborn.
It can be a bit difficult managing time between your newborn and valued time with your pet. We recommend getting everybody included by bringing your baby along for dog walks, or providing food or a treat to your pet while the baby is feeding in the same room.
8. Get professional help
If you're struggling getting your pet used to your newborn baby, don't be afraid to seek advice from professional help such as a pet trainer or pet behaviourist.