It is common to get so caught up in the excitement of preparing for your new baby that you forget you need to prepare your fur baby for the arrival of your new family member. Many dogs adjust just fine, but some need a little extra help and of course love.
When You're Expecting
If your dog has any behavior problems now is the time to get them into obedience school. Along with this, making sure that they are up to date on vaccines and their nails are trimmed are very important.
While it might seem a bit silly, one of the best things you can do is carry around a babydoll. Doing this gets your dog used to seeing you carrying around a baby. It also gives you the opportunity to teach them not to jump on you or to sit when you have the baby in your arms.
Invite friends with kids over or play recordings of babies crying. This will help to desensitize and get them accustomed to what their new life is going to sound like. If your dog is only used to you and your partner it’s very important to socialize them ahead of time.
Bring out the baby gear a little early. Your dog will get used to it being around and will become less interested in it over time. By the time the baby arrives it will be old news. You can even start using some of the baby’s lotion or soap to get them used to the new smells they will encounter.
While you might want to give your dog some extra love before the baby arrives, this could backfire. If anything taking a small step back can be helpful, especially if you're with them all the time. This will give them the opportunity to become a little more independent and less jealous.
Bringing Baby Home
When our daughter was born, my husband came into the house first with one of our daughters blankets. He gave it to our dog and allowed her to sniff it for a few minutes before I brought the baby into the house. We left the blanket in our dogs bed so she could sleep with it.
Dogs will be curious about their new baby. It’s okay to let them, sniff, lick, and snuggle with the baby. Just be sure to never leave them alone together.
While I’d like to tell you it gets easier as baby gets older, it could be the opposite. As your newborn turns into a toddler they will pull ears, tails, and fur. They will often try to jump on their best friends back. Keep an eye on them, while you can try to teach your toddler to be gentle, they're not capable of doing this on their own until they're closer to age 3.
Dogs might have a loss of appetite, hide and pee every once and awhile. But when they disappear, it’s a sign they're adjusting. But if these problems don't go away, check in with your vet to make sure there aren't any medical reasons unrelated to the new baby.
Babies and dogs can have incredible bonds. I know our dog Bianca is our daughters best friend and protector. They play together, share snacks, and sleep together every night.