Introducing Your Dog to Your Newborn

Introducing Your Dog to Your Newborn

26 February 2024

Bringing home a newborn is an incredibly exciting time for parents and there’s no question that it will be a huge change for a pup – especially if he’s been the only “child” up to now.

For many couples a dog is their first “baby.” And chances are, your pooch knows that he is! Here’s the thing, your pup will for sure always be part of the cherished clan, but routines are about to shift, and that can befuddle your furry friend.

Like babies, dogs thrive on predictability, so don’t wait till baby is home to help your pup adjust to the expanded family. The good news is that dogs and newborns do mix – if you put in a little groundwork before baby’s arrival. Experts all agree that it’s a good idea to implement changes early.

Put up baby gates to get pup used to not having access to the whole house before bringing baby home. A baby gate will keep him (and his fur) out, while allowing him to keep an eye on all the exciting changes. Also, if you decide to put up baby gates to keep baby and pup apart, make the dog zone appealing to your pooch with toys and a comfy bed. Set up prams and baby gear to get your dog used to new items in the house.

Additionally, dogs have an incredible sense of smell. If you’ve picked the talc or creams, you’ll use on the baby, start putting those on your body so the dog gets a good sniff. Get your dog used to baby’s scent by swaddling your baby in a new, washed blanket while you’re in hospital. Then, present it to your dog with lots of praise, so they could make a positive connection with baby’s smell. Also, make recordings of baby noises to help them get used to new sounds in the house. Find audio tracks online or simply record baby when you’re still in hospital.

It’s best to introduce your dog to your newborn as soon as possible. That being said, if you prefer that a family member or a friend takes care of your pooch for day or two to get used to having a baby at home, that’s fine too.

The first actual meeting between your dog and your baby is an important one. When mum and baby arrive home from the hospital, it’s a good idea to let mum enter alone first. Allow your dog to get over the excitement of reuniting with you before introducing your baby.

Get mum and baby comfortable before introductions are made. Keep your pet at a safe distance, preferably on a leach. Keep the meeting short, slowly extending contact.

Don’t lose valued time with your pet. Get everyone included by taking walks together, or provide a treat to your pooch while nursing your baby. Don’t expect the magic to happen immediately. And remember, whatever changes you make, be sure to make them fun for your pup with lots of praise, pats, toys and treats.

The golden rule? NEVER, leave your dog alone with your baby, no matter how trusted they are. Your baby’s safety is always your number one priority.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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