pet and new babyPets are creatures of habit. In fact, they not only rely on routine, but their overall health and wellness depend on it. They enjoy anticipating meal times, walks, and snuggle sessions. They look forward to when owners typically reappear at home. In short, they do not welcome change or household disruptions – at all.

However, a pet and new baby is one of life’s most joyful combinations. While it may not necessarily be the quickest or most graceful adjustment, with these tips from The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital, you’ll have one big happy family in no time.

Will Your Pet Notice?

If you’re wondering whether your pet will notice a growing belly or the new mountain of baby supplies, the answer is: yes. Not only will your pet take stock of these changes, he or she may have a hard time embracing them.

Many pets get attention when needed, sleep in the bed with their beloved owner, and have free use of shared space and time. When combining your pet and new baby, your pet may very well feel like he or she is getting the short end of the stick.

A Majority?

It’s likely that at least half of all pets whose owners are expecting a new baby are upset, stressed, or depressed about the change in household dynamics. As we mentioned, pets accustomed to being the center of attention can easily feel ignored, left out, and generally shafted by the new focus on amassing diapers, furniture, toys, and clothes for a new baby.

No Competition

Imagine how it feels for a pet to compete with a wriggling, wailing, unpredictable bundle of joy? This can be insulting to even the most laid-back pet, but for those who were previously indulged or included, it’s downright depressing. The nature of this new normal, though, is to put your newborn baby first – even if it means relegating your pet’s needs to the backburner.

Help Your Pet and New Baby

Don’t allow your pet to withdraw. Many pets may stop eating, drinking, or answering nature’s call in the right places. Others can become aggressive or destructive. Soothe the transition for your pet and new baby with these tips:

  • Introduce your pet to the sights and smells associated with the baby as soon as possible.
  • Invite other parents to bring their infants or children to your house and foster a happy, positive experience.
  • Give him or her lots of encouragement and rewards to build a positive association.
  • Train your dog to follow basic commands.
  • Try to facilitate the first meeting on neutral ground, if possible.
  • Go back home together. Show your pet sincere affection and offer tasty, healthy treats.
  • Ask a friend or family member to tend to your pet while you’re otherwise engaged with the baby.
  • Always supervise your pet while in the presence of your new baby.
  • Provide new toys or puzzles for your pet to occupy him or herself while you’re busy with the baby.
  • Keep up your pet’s routine. If you cannot exercise your pet to the same degree as before, hire a dog walker, dog daycare, or pet sitter to meet these important needs.

Future Harmony

By starting off on the right foot, you’re laying the groundwork for future harmony between your pet and new baby. Who knows? They might even be best friends someday (you know, when there’s an endless supply of snacks and crumbs).

If we can be of further assistance to you during this stressful time, please do not hesitate to contact The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital.