Bringing up Baby With a Dog

By Michele C. Hollow

Bringing up Baby With a Dog

When my son was born, many people asked what I was going to do with my pet. What a strange question, I thought. Our pet is part of the family.

Despite a deep love for animals, many people wind up dumping their pets at local shelters when they become first-time parents. That’s not only unnecessary, but also a huge loss to both you and your dog.

Prepare Ahead
Life with a new baby does mean less time, at least temporarily, with your dog. So give your dog quality time. Praise it for being good. Take it to the veterinarian for a routine checkup, and make sure it is spayed or neutered. A spayed or neutered pet is a calmer one.

Before the baby comes home, train your dog to stay on the floor by your side. This way, it won’t jump up on you when you are holding the baby. Get your pet accustomed to baby noises by playing recordings of a baby crying. Sprinkle baby powder or baby oil on your skin to get your dog used to that scent. Install a screen door to the baby’s room. Such a door will permit your dog to see and hear what’s going on.

At the Birthing Center
While I was at the hospital, I had a friend bring home a baby-scented blanket when she checked in on our pet. The dog sniffed it and was allowed to get used to baby’s aroma.

At Home
My husband carried our son into another room, while I got down on the floor and fussed over our pet. He received lots of attention. Then, my husband brought our baby into the living room while we watched carefully. We had treats nearby. Our pet sat on the floor and slowly came over to sniff the baby. We kept on praising our dog because we wanted him to know that his behavior was appropriate.

Above all, we always kept a close eye on our pet and our child. Now, they are best friends.

Michele C. Hollow is a journalist and author who specializes in writing about animal welfare. Her blog, Pet News and Views, covers pet care, wildlife, and people who work with and on the behalf of animals.

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