Baby in the House: Introducing Pets to Newborns

May 15, 2016 at 11:47 pm by Debapriya Bhatta  12

Having a new baby around in the house is a life-changing event for everybody – from the new parents to the grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousin and siblings as well as their pets. However, as pets like dogs and cats grow up in a very personal environment with lots of affection from their masters, it could be a hit hard for them to be accustomed to the new baby.


Experts in this field suggest that parents should begin preparing their pets 3-6 months before the baby is due to arrive, so that they become familiar with the new additions and inclusion in their immediate environment – from the home’s décor, to the changing attitudes of the people, to the new smells and sounds.

Dogs and Babies

  1. Basic manners

If your dog is used to jumping on you, licking your face and getting up on your couch and beds all the time, you might want to consider modifying these behaviors when the baby arrives. You can hire a specialist trainer, in case your dog is particularly excitable and energetic, which could be solved by perhaps leashing while the dog is indoors, and also by teaching it to get accustomed to the discipline for the times when you need to leave the baby alone in a crib unattended while you go to attend more pressing matters at hand. 

  1. Practice with a doll

To allow your dog to get used to having a the little new person around all the time, you should bring home a baby-sized doll and see how your dog reacts to you walking around with the doll in your arm, as you feed it, cajole it and caress it. If your dog is cool with it, then there would be no problems, but in case it starts displaying any alarming behaviors as a result of you caring and showering more affection on the doll, you should start working on correcting them before the baby arrives.

  1. Play audio of baby sounds

In order to familiarize the dog with a baby stranger in the household, playing an audio of baby sounds is a great way! That would get the dog accustomed to new sounds around the house in some time. Buy a specialty track and play it often enough to get your dog introduced to it. In addition to their sense of smell, the hearing sense of the dogs are very much sharp and precise. Once they are accustomed to the baby noises and sounds,they would certainly not end up howling or barking once your baby starts crying in the house.

  1. Familiarize the dog with baby’s smell

The greatest strength of a dog to familiarize itself to new surroundings and people is its sense of smell – that’s how it gets introduced to the different aspects that makes up the ecosystem around it. And thus before you bring the newborn baby home from the hospital, you should bring one of his used blankets or clothes home and let the dog sniff and smell them. This will keep him relaxed and the dog would have already familiarized itself with the newest inclusion when the baby comes home.

Cats and babies

  1. Introduce kitty to new surroundings

Have the nursery set up as soon as you can once you know that the baby’s coming, so that your cat has the time to adjust to the new furniture as well as the new decor in the house, prior to the baby’s arrival. Keep a check on the kitty’s behavior around the baby’s furniture and if you observe that it has a tendency of  climbing them up and that it likes to lounge around on baby’s crib, and also the bouncy chairs and changing tables, then you should consider adding a mesh door to the nursery to prevent the cat from getting into the nursery.

  1. Prepare kitty for new odors and smells

Cats are just as sensitive to new odors and smells just as dogs, and you can begin preparing your cat for the arrival of a new baby by introducing him to the smell of baby products, baby foods and even the baby’s own smell through his or her used clothes and blankets before she comes home from the hospital. This will help the pet to be more accustomed to the presence of the new person around the house, and it will end up being less and less hostile in its interactions.

  1. Have friends with newborns over

If you have immediate friends or people in the family who have recently had a baby, or are already the parents of an infant, have them come over for a chat along with the little one. From the way you see the cat behaving with the new baby guest now, you would be able to guess how it would react to your own baby once you bring her home. Try to have more gatherings and meetings like this – as this could be a good way to have the pet ease into the presence of a newborn in its home turf.

  1. Let kitty decide when she wants to meet the new baby

Dogs could be put on a leash and trained to behave once it meets the new baby for the first time. But in case of cats, that is not possible. Cats are by nature, whimsical creatures strongly guided by their own instincts, and thus cannot be forced into a forced situation. This could end up negatively if forced. Thus, you should patiently wait until the cat is ready to be introduced to the new member of the family, and not the other way around.

Apart from all these, you can take help of pet trainers, talk to those who already have similar experience, in fact there are quite a few books which can help you out with same. Test, try, train, when finally the time comes take a deep breath and do it.

Just like your human family counterparts, the four-legged ones are equally as important. They love and depend on you way more than you can ever hope to imagine, and once you find out that there is going to be a new inclusion to the family, it is your duty to take the measures to properly introduce them to the little baby and make it as smooth as possible. They are most probably as baffled and as excited as any human being would be, its just that their way of conveying it is different than humans. Once they have passed the initial barrier, you will find that they have fallen in love with the new baby as much as you have!

12 thoughts on “Baby in the House: Introducing Pets to Newborns”

  1. When I was pregnant I used two books called Tell Your Dog Your Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby and Tell Your Cat Your Pregnant. Both books were an invaluable help for preparing Max (my dog) and Fluffy (the cat) for our new bub.

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