You're expecting a bundle of human joy in the near future. But for the past few years, you've had a...
Dog and NewbornYou're expecting a bundle of human joy in the near future. But for the past few years, you've had a bundle of furry joy as your "baby." Fido has loved you unconditionally, even when you forget to feed him at the right time. He gives you snuggle-nuzzles when you are having a bad day. He's content to play fetch for hours on end. But how is he going to react to a real baby? Most parents assume that it will be an easy transition. Sadly, it wasn't an easy transition at all for a family in Florida. Their pit bull killed their newborn baby. While not overly common, I easily found three other instances just this year of a dog killing a newborn baby. (I didn't even scroll below the fold on the results page.) One was a 71-pound Siberian Husky. Another was a male-female husky combo. And the other was another pit bull. All very sad stories. This post is not an attack on a specific breed, a specific size of dog or pets in general. Instead, this post is a warning to parents that pets can be territorial, and they need supervision and preparation for baby's arrival. Realize that your pet has had your sole attention for however long you have owned the wonderful, furry being. Newborns needs lots of time and attention, and your pet may feel stressed at the sudden lack of time. Here are some tips I've rounded up from various sources:
  • Get your dog used to "less time" ahead of time. It may feel mean and neglectful when no baby is there to steal your attention, but if your dog gets used to hanging out by himself ahead of time, it will lessen the "OMG! WHERE IS MY OWNER! AHH!" effect after the baby's arrival.
  • Invite friends over who have small kiddos. As your dog gets used to small babies in general, your newborn will seem like less of a threat.
  • Install a gate (or screen door for jumping animals -- think cats) in the door of the baby's room. Your pet can then see what's going on inside and not get grumpy that you're completely ignoring him.
  • Get your pet to obedience school! If your pet hasn't had proper training yet, now would be the perfect time to make sure your pet will listen to your commands and heed your warnings.
There are other tips, of course, including making sure your pet is up to date with vet care and planning ahead for who will care for the dog while you're off giving birth to your baby. The Humane Society actually has an amazing list of ideas on how to prepare pets for a new baby. I suggest it as reading for all pregnant pet owners! How did you prepare your pets for baby's arrival? Photo Credit: Freebird.

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