Before the child arrives, the pet is used to being the “baby” of the family. Hence, when all the attention suddenly changes course and heads towards a new member, it is usually very difficult for the pet to deal with it.
It may feel that it has been replaced by the infant, and this may lead to pretty hard feelings towards the newborn which is not at all welcome if they are supposed to co-exist. But this doesn’t mean that the pet has to be kept far away from the newborn as this will result in less and less bonding among them.
In case the pet was not prepared for the newborn, there are certain ways to deal with it when the newborn is brought home. The pet needn’t be kept tied up for that purpose.
Certain steps can ensure a peaceful co-existence of the newborn and the pet.
- The pampering and attention the pet is used to should not be drastically curtailed. Though the newborn definitely needs more attention now, at least someone should be there for the pet at regular intervals.
- The pet can also be enrolled in specialized training classes where they will be trained on how to react with newborns around.
- Before the baby is brought home, a trip to the veterinarian is mandatory for the pet. Make sure the pet has been given all the vaccinations needed so that the newborn is not at the risk of catching germs whenever the pet is around.
- The pet should not be allowed to enter the infant’s nursery at least for a few months since the child is born. This is done mainly to maintain the peace and cleanliness around the baby.
- It is not advisable to let the pet lick the child when the child is still a few months old as at this stage the immune system of the child is not that strong and they are extremely susceptible to germs. The bacterial remnants in the pet’s saliva will not be good for the infant.
- It is also not advisable to leave the child alone with a pet until the child is strong enough and the pet has got used to the new member; otherwise, chances of unforeseen accidents will be high.
- The parent can also at times sit with the baby on their lap and the pet by their side on the floor. If the pet finds that equal attention is being bestowed on both, it will be easier for them to accept the new member of the family.
- You should be careful if the pet has been showing signs of aggressiveness. It is better to keep the baby away from it and contact the vet or a trainer.
Hence, there is no reason to keep the pet away from the newborn. But one has to be careful regarding the extent to which the pet can be allowed near the child, at least in the initial months.