Best practices for handling pets around infants

FFranklin November 20, 2023 7:02 AM

Welcoming a new baby into your home is an exciting time, but if you have pets, it can also bring new challenges. It's important to prepare your furry friends for the new family member and ensure the safety of your infant. Here are some best practices to help you navigate this new territory.

Preparing your pets for the new arrival

Pets, much like people, can experience a range of emotions when faced with significant changes in their environment. Welcoming a baby into the family is definitely a major change, and it's essential to prepare your pets in advance.

  • Introduce baby scents: Before the baby arrives, bring home blankets or clothing that have the baby's scent. Allow your pets to sniff these items under your supervision. This will help them get used to the baby's smell before they meet face-to-face.

  • Set boundaries: If certain areas of the house will be off-limits to your pets when the baby arrives, begin enforcing these boundaries before the baby comes home. This gives your pets time to adjust to the new rules.

  • Train against jumping: If your pet has a habit of jumping on people, you should address this behavior before the baby arrives. Training your pet to stay on the floor can prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your baby.

Managing the first introduction

The first introduction between your pet and your newborn is a crucial moment. Here are some steps to make this process smoother:

  1. Stay calm and relaxed: Pets can pick up on our emotions. If you're anxious or nervous, your pet may become anxious too.
  2. Keep control: Maintain a safe hold on your pet's leash during the introduction.
  3. Let your pet sniff: Allow your pet to sniff the baby from a safe distance.
  4. Reward good behavior: If your pet behaves well during the introduction, reward them with treats and praise.

Ensuring safety

Once your pet and baby have been introduced, ongoing safety is paramount.

  • Never leave your infant alone with your pet: No matter how well-trained or gentle your pet seems, always supervise interactions between your baby and your pet.

  • Create safe spaces: Both babies and pets should have their own secure areas. For pets, this may be a crate or a specific room. For babies, this could be a playpen or crib.

  • Keep toys separate: Baby toys and pet toys should be kept separate to prevent any potential mix-ups that could pose a choking hazard.

Hygiene considerations

Finally, while pets can bring much joy, they can also bring dirt and germs into the home.

  • Regular grooming: Regular grooming and vet check-ups are essential to keep your pet clean and healthy.
  • Frequent hand washing: Make sure everyone in the house washes hands regularly, particularly before handling the baby.

Following these best practices and tips will ensure a harmonious cohabitation between your pets and your new little one.

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