Often when people are getting ready to welcome a new family member to the home, they forget about how it might affect the pets. It’s understandable as there are many exciting things that happen as the due date comes closer for new parents but a new “sibling” can steal the spotlight and make your cat or dog feel ignored or unwanted and can lead to bad behavior or attention-seeking behavior.
To minimize the impact of a new baby in the house it’s important to make some time to get your pet used to the sounds, smells, and routine changes that will occur with the arrival of your new child.
Here’s a few tips to minimize the impact and help create a smooth transition:
1: Don’t wait till the last second, start prepping your pet months in advance to address any issues that arise while you still have time and energy to train or re-train your pet.
2: Gradually decrease the amount of attention your give you pet because once your baby is here, your focus will be shifting and you won’t always have time to play fetch in the yard or play with the laser pointer.
3: If your pet needs to be spayed or neutered, do so because it decreases the amount of aggression and decreases health problems. Also, make sure your pet is up to date with vaccines and create reminders on a calendar for yourself so your pet isn’t overlooked in terms of healthcare.
4: If you have any friends who have small children or infants, ask them to come over and observe how your pet reacts.
5: If visiting babies bring out a side of your pet that you find unacceptable such as growling at the baby, stalking, or fear now is the time to address it and sign up for training classes.
6: As you start to buy baby things like powders, wipes, and soaps let your pet sniff them to get used to the new scents in the house.
7: Set up baby gates and close doors to areas that need to become “pet-free” zones.
8: Play recordings of baby sounds such as crying to familiarize your pet with the new noise. Reward your pet if there is no barking or stiff posturing.