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Baby Pet Envy – Getting Your Loved Ones to Coexist

by Cyndra Neal

“I am so confused! We don’t spend time together anymore. I loved our long walks together. We used to enjoy time on the couch watching TV. Now you won’t even let me on the couch or even worse, I’m banished to another room or outside. You used to greet me at the front door with a smile and a pet. Not anymore…now you rush past me as if I’m not even there. I’m beginning to think my new name is “Get out of Here”. I can see all your attention and love is going to that noisy bundle you often hold in your arms. What the heck is that! To be honest it kind of scares me. I have no hard feelings. Okay, maybe I did pee in your bed that one time but it got your attention! I just want to be part of the family again. Is that too much to ask?”

Your Best Friend Forever

With baby pet envy, many new parents think pets and the new baby just don’t mix. If your pet shows behavior unbecoming to “man’s best friend”, with a little preparation and insight your first “furry baby”; and you new baby can cohabitate safely.

Here are a few tips from the Humane Society:

  • Spay or neuter your pet. Not only do sterilized pets typically have fewer health problems associated with their reproductive systems, but they are also calmer and less likely to bite.
  • Consult with a veterinarian and pediatrician if the thought of your newborn interacting with the family pet makes you uncomfortable. By working with these experts before your baby is born, you can resolve problems early and put your mind at ease. 
  • Address any pet training and behavior problems. If  your pet exhibits fear and anxiety, now is the time to get help from an animal behavior specialist.
  • If your pet’s behavior includes gentle nibbling, pouncing, or swatting at you and others, redirect that behavior to appropriate objects. 
  • Get your pet used to nail trims.
  • Train your pet to remain calmly on the floor beside you until you invite him on your lap, which will soon cradle a newborn.
  • Consider enrolling in a training class with your dog, and practice training techniques. Training allows you to safely and humanely control your dog’s behavior and enhances the bond between you and your pet.
  • Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Supervise all pet and infant interactions.
  • Accustom your pet 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 pet by offering a treat or playtime.
  • To discourage your pet from jumping on the baby’s crib and changing table, apply double-stick tape to the furniture.
  • If the baby’s room will be off-limits to your pet, install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate (available at pet or baby supply stores) or, for jumpers, even a screen door. Because these barriers still allow your pet to see and hear what’s happening in the room, he’ll feel less isolated from the family and more comfortable with the new baby noises.
  • Use a baby doll to help your pet get used to the real thing. Carry around a swaddled baby doll, take the doll in the stroller when you walk your dog, and use the doll to get your pet used to routine baby activities, such as bathing and diaper changing.
  • Talk to your pet about the baby, using the baby’s name if you’ve selected one.
  • Sprinkle baby powder or baby oil on your skin so your pet becomes familiar with the new smells.

So don’t forget your “Best Friend”. Keeping all of the members in your growing family feeling secure and happy can be rewarding in so many ways!


One Response to “Baby Pet Envy – Getting Your Loved Ones to Coexist”

  • LIsa:

    hmmmm, better made pet gates were rare. it is necessary to intelligent in buying one. i hope our pets can be trained more well even if we just have little time with them.

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