Below you will find some basic suggestions will help you to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new baby. Most 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 dog to your vet for a routine health check and necessary vaccinations.
- Consult with a vet and paediatrician if the thought of your new-born interacting with the family 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 dog’s behaviour includes gentle nibbling, pouncing, or paw swatting at you and others, redirect that behaviour to appropriate objects.
- Train your 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 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 dog to babies. Supervise all dog and infant interactions.
- Accustom your 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 dog by offering a treat or playtime.
- Give yourself some time apart from your 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 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 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 dog’s access to your bedroom, particularly if it is currently sleeping there at night. Take the opportunity to allow your dog to sleep in a separate area of your home, such as the kitchen. Use a crate if possible, it will provide your dog with a safe and secure place to go to when necessary, as well as a portable kennel if your dog needs to stay with others during the birthing period.
- Talk to your dog about the baby, using the baby’s name if you have selected one.
- Sprinkle baby powder or baby oil on your skin so your dog becomes familiar with the new smells.
- If your 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 dog than you did prior to pregnancy. Let your dog have some space and accept that this is common and is not your dog rejecting you in any way.
- Finally, plan ahead to make sure your dog gets proper care at the time of the birth.
Information from various sources.