6 Ways to Prepare Your Dog for a Baby's Arrival

With a little one on the way, it can be difficult to give your canine friend any warning. However, they're more receptive to this than you think!
6 Ways to Prepare Your Dog for a Baby's Arrival

Last update: 11 February, 2018

In many homes, pets are treated as if they were people. Thousands of couples consider their pets as their children. So, how can you prepare a dog for the arrival of a baby? In this article, we’ll give you some tips to help you.

Changes for everyone: A baby’s arrival

Parents know that even before the birth of a child, the whole family is turned upside down. The can change pets’ behavior, especially if they feel displaced and are no longer the center of attention.

This doesn’t have to result in the animal coming down with a disorder that would require him to be given up for adoption (like many couples do). Therefore, to prepare the dog for a baby’s arrival, pay attention to these tips:

1. Don’t alter his routine

It is true that a newborn baby at home changes the routines and schedules. However, the dog should continue to eat, walk, and sleep as usual. You can vary it a little, but it is not good to make abrupt changes to the schedule. If, for example, you take the dog to the park at 8 am, you shouldn’t change the outing to the evenings.

2. Help familiarize him with sounds and smells

Oddly enough, dogs don’t know what a baby “sounds” like. You can put a recording or a video of a baby crying, laughing, or babbling so that when the real baby arrives, the dog will not feel disoriented.

As for smells, you should know that dogs do not know a newborn’s specific smell. It would be good to let him sniff the perfume, creams, and other things that will be used with the child. 

3. Let him see and smell the baby’s things

Animals are quite curious, and want to sniff new objects the moment you bring them home. If you don’t allow your pet to sniff the crib, changer, clothes, etc that you bring home for your baby, he may think he has behaved badly, or even try to steal something as “punishment” for not letting him take part.

It is also important that if the parents are arranging a room for the baby, a dog should know he can’t enter it. Even though the child has not yet been born, the dog should understand this in advance.

4. Give him the same amount of attention

If your pet was the center of attention up to this point, you cannot withdraw this honor from one day to the next. Dogs realize when we don’t pay much attention to them. Don’t forget to pet him, play with him, and talk to him. It’s only five minutes per day. You can take advantage of a few minutes when the baby is sleeping.

5. Introduce the baby to him

When you arrive from the hospital, the first thing to do is to greet the pet as if nothing has changed. Then, introduce the baby to your pets gradually, to prevent anyone from being frightened. Bring the baby closer little by little and let him sniff the child. This will not be bad for the child (you can also consult with a pediatrician).

6. Set limits

The arrival of a “little human brother” is no excuse for a dog to do whatever he wants. If you do not want him to enter the baby’s room when you are sleeping, or bark or make noise, you will have to be very firm with your commands. Remember that if the animal has obeyed you up to this point, he should continue to do so. Try not to confuse him with threats or screams, or the poor thing will think he is being rejected from the herd (family) with the addition of a new member.

After the baby’s first three months, he can have more contact with the dog. They may even become adventurous companions and follow each other everywhere. Do not be afraid when they are together and playing– take advantage of the fact that you have a another nanny at home.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.