Below you will find some basic suggestions will help you to prepare your puppy/dog for the arrival of a new baby. Most pups/dogs take this in their stride, others do struggle to adjust. Taking the time to prepare will make the transition much easier for all concerned.

  • Take your puppy/dog to your veterinarian for a routine health check and necessary vaccinations.
  • Consult with a veterinarian and paediatrician if the thought of your new-born interacting with the family puppy/dog makes you uncomfortable. By working with these experts before your baby is born, you can resolve problems early and put your mind at ease.
  • If your pup’s/dog’s behaviour includes gentle nibbling, pouncing, or paw swatting at you and others, redirect that behaviour to appropriate objects.
  • Train your puppy/dog to remain on the floor beside you until you invite him/her on your lap, which will soon cradle a new-born.
  • Ignore any contact from your puppy/dog that could be construed as attention seeking. This needs to stop before you need to resolve with and care for your new-born at the same time.
  • Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your puppy/dog to babies. Supervise all puppy/dog and infant interactions.
  • Accustom your puppy/dog to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recordings of a baby crying, turn on the mechanical infant swing and use the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your puppy/dog by offering a treat or playtime.
  • Give yourself some time apart from your puppy/dog before the baby is born, so that he/she does not experience a sudden exclusion.
  • The baby’s room should be off-limits to your puppy/dog, so install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate (available at dog or baby supply stores) or, for jumpers, even a screen door. Because these barriers still allow your puppy/dog to see and hear what’s happening in the room, he/she will feel less isolated from the family and more comfortable with the new baby noises.
  • Limit your pup’s/dog’s access to your bedroom, particularly if it is currently sleeping there at night. Take the opportunity to allow your puppy/dog to sleep in a separate area of your home, such as the kitchen. Use a crate if possible, it will provide your puppy/dog with a safe and secure place to go to when necessary as well as a portable kennel if your puppy/dog needs to stay with others during the birthing period.
  • Talk to your puppy/dog about the baby, using the baby’s name if you have selected known.
  • Sprinkle baby powder or baby oil on your skin so your puppy/dog becomes familiar with the new smells.
  • If your puppy/dog shows a reluctance to be near you at any time during your pregnancy, do not force the issue, be aware that you will smell completely differently to your puppy/dog than you did prior to pregnancy. Let your puppy/dog have some space and accept that this is common and is not your puppy/dog rejecting you in any way.
  • Finally, plan ahead to make sure your puppy/dog gets proper care at the time of the birth.