The arrival of a new baby changes many things in a household and for one that has pets, especially a pet like a dog, preparations are needed to make the newest addition to the family safe from possible jealousy or rivalry from the erstwhile “baby” of the family. Read on for some practical tips for your baby’s safety when pets are around.
Like an only child who suddenly finds there is someone else who gets the hugs, kisses, presents, and attention from family members and visitors, a dog, especially if he/she is a puppy, may not get along with the newborn. Some dogs get upset when they hear a baby crying. And when the baby begins to crawl and grab tails, even the gentlest pets can scratch or bite when provoked.
First of all, if your dog’s breed tends to be aggressive, consider putting him/her through obedience school or engage the services of a “dog whisperer.” Many professional dog handlers now offer specialized training on how to deal with babies and young children. If, however, your dog remains threatening to your baby, the best option is to find your canine a new home.
Installing Safety Gates
Less obvious but equally dangerous situations are possible when you have a dog and small children around in a household. Curious toddlers have been known to eat dog food or drink the water straight out of the dog’s food bowls. In cases when the family pet is a cat, toddlers have been found playing in the kitty litter box.
If your dog or cat stays indoor, install portable safety gates around the pet’s food and water bowls and litter box. Choose gates with sufficient width for your pets to go through but narrow enough so that a small child cannot crawl through it and become trapped. If you have pet doors, keep them locked during times when your child is awake or use stair gates to block the child’s access to them.
Dogs and Cats Have Different Jealousy Levels
Generally, you can keep a baby between zero and four months old apart from household pets. When your baby starts crawling, standing up in his/her crib or walking, this is the time to take precaution. No matter how gentle you think your pets are, never ever leave them alone with a child at any given time. Keep pets out of your child’s room and never let a pet sleep with your child.
Introduce your new baby and your pets at once. Dogs can be especially jealous of infants since they were the center of attention before the newborn arrived. Give your dogs extra attention whenever you can so they know that they aren’t being replaced in hearth and home. Observe your dog’s behavior in the baby’s presence. Growling or snarling is a sign of a possible threat.
Cats are typically not the jealous type but they like snuggling up to warmth, something which the baby’s cot can provide. Additionally, cats are inherently curious and a newborn mewling can get their curiosity piqued so much so that they can jump right into your baby’s pram to see what is causing the sound. Get a net on your baby’s pram when your cat is around.
Infants are unable to move their heads and turn over. Heat-seeking felines that tend to cuddle up to people may do the same with your baby which will make it difficult for the baby to breathe. Close the nursery’s door when your baby sleeps and install a tent over your baby’s crib to keep your cat out. Additionally, this will prevent your cat from urinating in your baby’s crib.
Keep Your Pets Clean and Groomed
Dogs do a lot of sniffing around and your baby will be no exception. Ensure that your dogs as well as your cats are properly vaccinated for diseases or infections which they may unknowingly pass on to the baby. Additionally, if your dog’s breed sheds a lot of hair, ensure that your baby is not allergic to it. Never leave pet medication such as de-worming tablets in places where your baby has access.
If your baby has begun to crawl or walk, keep your carpets, rugs, and floors clean all the time. This means your pets have to be potty-trained prior to the baby’s arrival so they know where they should go when nature calls. And while you can’t keep your six-month-old from playing with the family dog, ensure that your canine is always groomed, has no doggy breath or mangy fur.
Clip and trim pet nails and hair regularly to avoid your baby being scratched by rambunctious dogs and cats at play. Petsmart’s Andis EasyClip Groom Dog Clipper Kit ensures that your pets are groomed from head to toe. Keeping your dogs free from fleas and ticks should be your priority, especially when they are around your baby. Fleas and ticks can travel from your dogs to your baby.
Protect your dog against these pests with PetSmart’s SENTRY® Flea and Tick Hawaiian Ginger Dog Shampoo. It helps keep your family canine free from ticks and fleas which may be carriers of the harmful Lyme disease. This shampoo not only cleans your dog, it deodorizes his/her fur while conditioning it for a shiny-looking and fresh-smelling coat.