Introducing Pets to Baby

Posted March 14, 2016 by Julie in Parenting, Pets, TopPosts / 22 Comments

We have two dogs and a cat, and they are used to things being their own way. So when we first brought Baby H home, obviously that disrupted their lifestyle. The good thing is, my pets took well to the addition. If they felt uncomfortable with the noise or something else, they simply went off to their corners and stayed away. If they were curious, they stayed close and observed.

Introducing Pets to Baby

Tips for Introducing Pets to Baby

This will really depend on the temperament of your pets, but if you have a rescue like we do, some preparation in advance is important. We started out with pulling their tails and ears to see how they would react. Obviously, with cats, you can’t really train them not to snap or scratch, but we did try to make her run off instead of attack. The dogs had the same conditioning exercises and any snapping behavior was corrected. The preferred behavior is for the pets to just turn around and walk off if they don’t want to be messed with, and that is what we encourage them to do. Of course now, that means the toddler chases them around. But that is still ok.

Slow Transition
We gradually allowed the pets to actually get close to the little guy, and really didn’t allow them to interact much until he could sit up, showing some sort of control. By that time, they were used to his scent, his cries, and his overall presence in the house.

Guided Interaction
When Baby H started spending more time on the floor, we started letting the pets play with him. We’d be right there on the floor with them to control any reactions and protect both the pets and the baby from each other. Since Baby H wasn’t at a hitting-things point yet, he just sat and leaned against them, so the pets were just fine with that. When he started being rough and tumble, the pets would just run away. Sure, he’s gotten a few cat scratches, but those are not serious issues and can teach a good lesson – like don’t grab kitty’s face when she is napping.

Recommended Post:  To My Son, Now That You're Two

I’ve also read some tips about bringing home a blanket the baby was wrapped in during the hospital stay and letting the animals smell that. We didn’t do that, but it is a tip I hear quite a bit.

I have a lovely photo from our first days home with the baby and the kitty sleeping in my lap. I also have photos of the dogs guarding the baby’s bassinet. Animals are good at sensing the emotions of their humans, and they can adapt well to new additions when it is made clear they are here to stay.

What are some of your tips for introducing pets to a baby?






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JuliepicI'm Julie, a new mom who works full time and blogs, all while wishing I had more time to read fun books. I write about being a first time working mom in order to help myself and other working moms in our journeys to find balance between family, responsibilities, and hobbies so we can thrive both at home and at work.
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22 responses to “Introducing Pets to Baby

  1. Those are great tips. The last time we had to introduce a baby to our pets was over six years ago. We just had two cats back then. I think all we did was let them sniff the baby a few times and eventually they got used to him. Enjoy the rest of you weekend!

    • Thanks Cascia, you too! Sniffing and just giving it time is really all you need to do. By the time the baby is on the ground and mobile, the pets are used to him or he πŸ™‚

  2. These are great tips! My dogs were largely indifferent to newborns but then were kind of obsessed with both our babies when they were just starting solid food and dropping tidbits … funny that! Visiting from #picknMix

  3. Great tips! We only had a cat when my daughter was born, and he adjusted just fine (until she started moving around more and chasing him!). Now we have a dog, too, so I’ll be sure to keep these in mind next time around!

    Thank you for sharing with us at #MommyMeetupMondays!

  4. One big thing that we made sure to do was to ensure that our puppy learned to respect both us and our daughter before our son came. Then when we brought our son home, we only introduced him slowly, by only allowing him to sniff and lick his feet even though he wanted to be all up in his face. We made sure that their interactions were always on our terms to ensure that the respect was there. So far so good! The only worry I have now is teaching my toddling one year old to pet the puppy gently πŸ™‚ Great tips!

    • That is definitely important Tori, great point! The dogs do need to respect you and they learn to respect the baby with the slow introduction and seeing how important the baby is to the master.

  5. Great tips! We’ve been really lucky with our dogs and babies. We introduced everyone slowly, and they’re all learning to get along. (It’s a little hard to tell a one-year-old that smacking the dog is not the same as petting it.) But these kids can literally do anything to the dogs, and the dogs don’t care one bit.

  6. These are some great tips. We don’t have any pets but my MIL does, and she followed these steps. The dogs seem to have taken to my kids really well. One is especially protective of our kids. LOL.

    • I love seeing the relationship that forms between pets and their adopted humans πŸ™‚ I love when doggies are protective over babies, so sweet!

    • Thanks Renee πŸ™‚ I keep hearing about people wanting to re-home their pets once they have children, and it really makes me sad, especially since it isn’t necessary unless the pet has behavior issues.

  7. Solid advice. We had a kitty at home when our first baby was born. I was just extra vigilant the first couple months and everyone adjusted fine. There was a second adjustment period when baby became mobile, but luckily most cats know to get up high when they are being bothered. πŸ™‚

  8. Good advice here! I hope people who are in this position find this post, I have shared it on twitter πŸ™‚ Just popping in from WkendBlogShare

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