Introducing Your Furry Family Member to Your New Addition

 

Toby + Taylor

Photos courtesy of Liz N.

We love that so many families bring their pets to Blum Animal Hospital, but for some new parents with a baby on the way, there are some things to think about when introducing your furry family member to your new addition.

Please remember that your cat or dog may be used to being your first “baby.” They are accustomed to an existing routine and the amount of time they normally spend with you. As soon as your new baby comes home, the focus of your attention will switch. No matter how much you prepare your pet for your new arrival, it may be difficult for them. Here are some tips on how to make the transition as easy as possible.

Per Animal Planet, “Use the next nine months to address any obedience concerns, or even just to reaffirm the basics. What might have seemed like minor infractions before, such as jumping up on the couch or on guests, will be an even bigger no-no once the baby arrives.” This way you can try and nip any behavior issues in the bud before the new addition is born. Even following up with the trainer would be a good idea; this way they can see first-hand how your pet is interacting with the baby.

There are a lot of unexpected movements and noises that come with having a baby. The Humane Society recommends, “Accustom your pet to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recordings of a baby crying, turn on the mechanical infant swing, and use the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your pet by offering a treat or playtime.” Also, by using a lifelike doll you can try and familiarize your furry family member with seeing you with a baby doing routine things.

Parent Magazine had some great tips for both cat and dog owners. For cats, “only allow your cat inside the nursery when you’re there to supervise—and always keep it out when the baby is sleeping. Anything that moves or is colorful (such as a mobile) is attractive to a cat.” Dog owners should “consider taking your pooch on walks with the stroller before your baby arrives” – this way your dog gets used to the pace of walking with the stroller since it may be slower than what they were previously used to.

Finally, before bringing your new addition home, we recommend bringing your furry family member in for wellness exam. This way the veterinarian can make sure your pet is completely healthy, and there are no concerns of transmitting any zoonotic diseases or parasites to your baby.

If you are expecting a baby and have any further questions regarding introducing your pet, please call us at Blum at: (773) 327-4446.

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.