What are some tips on how to introduce your dog to a new baby?
Original Question: We have added a new (human) baby to our family! How do I make sure that my fur baby (doggie) doesn't get jealous? I want them to love each other. - Leyla
Being a father of 3, ensuring dogs and newborns have a harmonious relationship is especially important to me. So congratulations on the new addition and hopefully I can help out.
Here are some ideas on how to introduce your dog to a new baby:
1. Plan ahead. I would recommend you speak to your vet about starting your dog on anti-anxiety supplements at least a month before the introduction to your baby. You have to remember that its world is about to completely change with new sights, sounds and smells which can be a little scary or overwhelming. Even moving around furniture or bringing in new things to home may make your dog anxious. If your dog is energetic, you may consider forgoing a supplement and upgrading to actual anti-anxiety medication just to really take the edge off. Speak to your veterinarian and get their recommendation as to how aggressively you should pre-treat any anxiety. They can also help decide what action to take, if any.
2. Introduce your dog slowly and keep them separated at first. You may even want to board your dog or let a friend take care of him during the transition. Quite frankly, you’ll have your hands full and it may be really nice to not have to care for the dog at the same time as your newborn.
3. Introduce your dog by smell before introducing them by sight. For the first introduction, I recommend you let the dog enter the newborn’s area and get exposed to the new smells first. If this is difficult, you could even bring some of the newborn’s bedding to your dog to sniff before throwing them in the laundry machine. You could do this for a few days. Your newborn will also be crying at times so the dog will be exposed to this before ever coming close physically to your child.
4. Introduce them physically. Let your dog come up and sniff your newborn a few times, then sit down with the baby on the couch and let your dog rest in the room. Just let them be in the same room together for a few days before actually putting the newborn in a car seat, basket, or on the floor where the dog can have a significant level of physical contact.
By doing these things, I think they will rapidly become fast friends and develop a lifetime of trust.
Good luck with it and congratulations!!
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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