Hello Moms! My name is Jenn Fadal, aka The Pack Mom, and my family includes: my husband, Cristan, my boisterous toddler, Sebastian, and my two canine boys Abe and Chico. Like you, my life is hectic. I thought that I was busy with just two dogs and a husband. Oh, how little I knew.
Before Sebastian came along, I had been a pet mom for over six years; a job I knew well. (I work in the pet industry, so pets are in my blood.) But, at 37 years old, having a baby and raising a human being was a brand new experience.
Toward the end of my pregnancy, when sleep was fleeting, I spent nights thinking about how to ensure my dogs and my son got along. I wanted the introduction to go smoothly and the early years to be a time of bonding, not a story worthy of the nightly news.
I am happy to report that so far we are successful! My son and my fur boys get along well albeit with a lot of careful supervision.
My goal is to be a resource for all of you moms out there who are raising kids and pets or considering adding a pet to your family. I want to make your life easier. And, it all begins with properly introducing your pet to your newborn.
Tips to Safely Introduce Baby and Pet
Spay or Neuter: If your pet is still intact, now is the time to change that. Altered pets tend to be mellower.
Training: Your dog should know his basic commands prior to welcoming a new baby. Taking the time to enroll in a group class or have a trainer come to your home will pay off after the baby arrives.
Change Routine: Before the baby arrives, adjust your pet’s routine. For example, if you plan to keep your dog or cat out of the baby’s room install the baby gate and establish that precedent now. Other ideas: make pet meal times sporadic, swap normal pet responsibilities with your partner and vary pet play and walk times. The goal is to not have your dog or cat associate changes to their routine with the new baby.
Smells & Sounds: Prior to baby arriving on the scene, purchase a baby doll that makes baby sounds and walk around the house with it in your arms. Use baby powder and baby lotion on you or the doll so your pet is familiar with the new scents. Practice walking your dog with the stroller. It is a practiced skill… trust me.
Receiving Blanket: Ask a friend or relative to bring the receiving blanket to your home and allow your dog to smell it thoroughly. This way, when the baby arrives, Fido will be accustomed to his/her scent.
Introductions: When the baby does come through the door, the dog should meet the baby immediately. Allow your pet to smell the baby’s feet and over the days that follow, invite your pet to be a part of the routine as much as possible.
Supervision: If I could shout this from the mountain tops I would! Dog and baby should never be left alone together. Never ever. Accidents happen this way. It is important to remember that although we love our pets like family (and they are), Fido and Felix are part of the animal kingdom. They process, react and deal with situations as dogs (or cats), not as humans. As diligent parents, we must understand how to ensure our human children are safe and our fur kids are happy.
Pet and baby can happily coexist and even become fast friends. Patience and love for all of your kids (both human and furry) coupled with discipline will make it possible.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.
Jenn Fadal cut her leash to corporate life in 2005, and opened a holistic pet market in Tampa, Florida, called Wag. Since then, Jenn has worked with Better TV as their pet expert and is the Pet Wellness Expert for Daytime TV. Additionally, she has been a guest on Martha Stewart Living radio, blogged for Chewy.com, and contributes to industry- wide publications. Pack-Mom.com, JennFadal.com, www.youtube.com/user/