It’s important to know how to help your dog deal with all of these changes in a safe manner. Here, find out how to make life with your new addition and your four-legged bestie a little bit easier:
1.Start preparing your dog early on in pregnancy
The earlier you start preparing your dog the more time they’ll have to adjust and feel comfortable with things. You’ll also be able to go at your dog’s pace, which is important for their confidence, without rushing or testing them by putting them in new situations they haven’t had a chance to get used to in advance. The time you put in now will really pay off as once your baby has arrived you’ll be able to devote your time to getting to know them, confident that you’ve already taught your dog useful skills which will help them feel settled too! The transition into a slightly larger family life can be as smooth as possible for all of you!
2.Show Them The Bump
As you belly grows you might find your sweet pup has a newfound fondness to be close and nearby. I honestly don’t know how, but I swear they understand they have a new family member growing and their protective and loving side comes out. I just melt when I see dogs and bump photos like the one above!
3.Get your dog used to sights, sounds, and smells of all things, baby!
Don’t wait for your baby to start setting up their new things! Setting up equipment, such as baby gyms, high chairs, playpens, prams and buggies as well as toys and mobiles that move around and make unusual noises, gradually over the months before your baby’s birth allows your dog plenty of time to become used to these. Take care to always make sure that your dog is allowed to approach and smell these things as they wish. Let them investigate at their own pace and build a positive association by giving them tasty treats, chews or a game and a fuss – whatever they really like – whenever you introduce something new.
Don’t forget about the noises too! Play our sound therapy tracks. Start off introducing new sounds associated with babies at a very low volume while your dog is doing something they enjoy – playing or eating! – then gradually increase the volume over the weeks and months as long as they remain calm and relaxed.
Asking friends or relatives with babies for some unwashed baby clothes and blankets can be a useful way to introduce this new smell into your home. As with noises and equipment, take care not to overwhelm your dog but introduce these gradually and allow your dog to gently investigate in their own time. Again, associate them with something your dog finds enjoyable such as a fun game, meal or a fuss.
If your dog appears worried at any stage, stop what you’re doing and go back to a point at which they were calm and relaxed for a while longer before progressing again.
4.Meet and Greet
Plan ahead how you will do the first meet and greet. If your pet is particularly hyperactive it might be a good idea to take them for a long walk so they will not be so energetic when they meet their baby brother or sister for the first time. However you decide to do arrange it, don’t drag out their interaction, it will just build up more anticipation and possibly make your dog feel exiled and less enthusiastic about the new family member.
5.Don’t Forget About Them
Yes, the new baby will be all-consuming for quite a while, but make sure you don’t forget about your prior family members. Your dog still require lots of love and attention from you, too!
6.When your baby arrives, never leave your dog and baby together unsupervised
It’s important to always be actively engaged when supervising and never leave dogs and babies alone. This means always being interactive with your baby when they’re in the same space as your dog, making sure you can give them your undivided attention without being distracted. For example, you could give your dog a long-lasting tasty treat and leave them completely alone in their bed to enjoy it while you are spending time with your baby in the same room. This way your dog has something fun to do all by themselves, which means you can spend some time having fun with your baby without having to worry about them!