How to Introduce Your Family Pet to a New Baby
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #PurinaNextStepsPhaseTwo
As a young-couple life before Evie meant much of our attention was put towards our puppy. We adopted Sampson, a terrier-mix last summer only to find out a few days later (as in 3) that I was pregnant with our first child. All throughout my pregnancy Kevin and I constantly wondered how we would go about introducing our puppy to a newborn baby. As a small dog Sampson was used to ruling the house, and with such a big personality we worried that he would have trouble sharing the spotlight. Through a bit of research and reading we utilized a few key tactics to get the two acquainted early on. To help other families make the transition we’ve partnered with Purina® ONE® to share our steps for introducing your puppy to your new baby.
Obedience - A Social Dog is a Happy Dog!
Most dogs are very intuitive! Sampson took to me quite early and loved to snuggle pretty much all the time. As my stomach grew and I experienced all the things that come with pregnancy, Sampson became much, much more attached. He was protective of me on walks, always wanted to snuggle close to my stomach, and was never too far away while I was home. From the get-go we knew we wanted Sampson to do obedience training so he’d be comfortable not only around other dogs - but also, other people. We signed up for a few weeks of training and took him on daily walks so he would get accustomed to seeing new faces.
This helped tremendously, and although he still occasionally would get nervous around certain people we never had to worry about him snapping or biting. Whether you’ve had your dog for years or they’re a newer addition, helping your pup become more friendly and social will help make for a smoother transition come baby.
Preparation - How to Prep your Home
As if there isn’t already a laundry list of to-dos for getting your home ready for a newborn, there are also a few things to keep in mind for your pet. I can tell you that you most likely won’t have a ton of extra time when you get home with your baby so preparation is key. Most women can expect to be in the hospital anywhere from 2-4 days (or longer) depending upon your delivery. Make sure you’ve lined up someone who can stay with your pet while you’re away. Keeping your dog on a routine (walks, meals, play-time) will help them stay on track. It’s also important to ensure you have plenty of dog food on hand for the weeks following your delivery. We recently transitioned Sampson from puppy kibble to Purina® ONE® Smartblend True Instinct.
We chose Purina, because as a company they’re dedicated to the well-being of pets and rely on core principles to promote product innovation and community. For Purina, safety is of the top most priority and they continue to uphold high-standards of quality in their food. Pets are their passion, and through their continued nutritional breakthroughs they are extending their lives of pets everywhere (Sign your dog or cat up to take the 28 day challenge on purinaone.com and receive $3 off coupon.)
Arrival - How to introduce Your Dog to a new Baby
A dog’s sense of smell is likely a key factor in how they get to know new people or other animals. Before actually bringing your baby to meet your dog it’s important to familiarize them with this new scent. Many books suggested bringing home something that the baby had worn in the hospital for your dog to smell. This could be a hat, blanket, etc. Before bringing the baby in the house let your dog smell the item for a, once acclimated to the scent, bring your dog outside of your home. Bringing the dog outside the house to meet the baby allows everyone to be on the same playing field. This way your dog won’t feel territorial or aggressive about this new person entering their space. For their first meeting remember that this isn’t something that needs to be forced - it’s just a simple introduction.
We kept Evie in her carrier and let Sampson sniff her when he was ready. Obviously, you should be standing close by during this meet and greet! Honestly, their first interaction was brief, he sniffed her toes, licked the car-seat and walked away. It may be like this in the beginning, after all this is a completely new person to them. Continue to encourage short interactions between the two, but remember that they don’t need to be best friends right away.
Transition - Boundaries are KEY!
As time goes on your pet should be getting used to your new baby. In our experience, we found that after about a week of daily interactions Sampson became very found with Evie. He enjoyed sleeping near her bassinet, and would commonly fall asleep in her nursery during feedings. He did try several times to get into her bassinet with her - so a word to the wise, make sure you have eyes on the two at all times! Evie is now almost 5 months and the two couldn’t be more engaged with one another.
Sampson has definitely come a long way since we adopted him! I remember when he’d run away when new people would enter our home! He is much more open to strangers and is gentle towards us and around Evie. Sampson still sleeps in her room and as she gets more curious, will often reach out to pet his fur. While he is skeptical of her “pets” her allows her to touch his crest and occasionally his paws. We knew he was ready to transition to adult food when he hit not only his 1st birthday, but also social milestones.
Thank you to Purina for sponsoring this post and for being dedicated to the lifelong potential pets!