For many pet owners, your animal was your first baby. Engaged couples and young married couples often undertake the responsibility of pet ownership before starting their families. This leads to an often tense situation when it’s time to bring a new baby home from the hospital. Your dog may feel jealous, confused or worried by the change in the family dynamic.

If you’re bringing home a new baby, take a blanket from the hospital that has been used by the baby to your pet. Allow them to sniff it and get used to the baby’s scent before you introduce them to the baby. You may even want to put the blanket in your dogs bed. Baby blankets are the right size to fit into dog crates and other small areas.

Talking to your dog can also help. Use soothing tones and tell them you’re bringing home a new baby. Pet them and give them treats while you discuss the changes. They will begin to associate the tone of your voice and the word baby with praise, love and attention, making them less likely to misbehave when they meet the source of the new word.

Keeping your dog crated when unsupervised or the use of pet gates to keep your pooch away from the baby is very important for safety reasons. This is also helpful if you’re introducing new children to the pet. It not only keeps the pet away from the kids, but it also keeps the kids away from the pet until they understand how to interact with the animal.

When introducing your pets to older children, it’s important to discuss with the children how to treat the pet before they are brought around it. Explain that pets don’t like to have their fur pulled and that they must be treated gently. Practice petting a stuffed animal to get the hang of it. When they meet the pet, they may get nervous. Remain close as the pet will be able to pick up on their nervousness and they may lash out.

It may be helpful to keep the animal on a leash during the first meeting to avoid any dangerous situations. If your pet seems shy around the new children, have the kids offer treats or other enticements to the pet. A favorite toy or a special food item are great ways to get the animals to approach the children.

If the weather is nice and the animal is a dog, letting the kids throw some balls outside for the dog to chase can show the pet how much fun kids can be. Both the child and the dog are sure to have a great time playing and bonding.

Introducing pets to babies and children can be exciting and stressful. Taking the time to make the introductions the proper way is essential to creating a mutual understanding between the children and the pet that will hopefully lead to a life-long friendship.

Introducing puppy to baby