Safety and Training Tips for New Parents with Pets
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Safety and Training Tips for New Parents with Pets

by Chantal Maddocks

You've probably been planning and prepping since the day you found out that you're pregnant. You've decorated the nursery and you couldn't be more excited. You know that your life is about to change for the better, but what about your pet? You and your beloved pet have been happily coexisting for years, but how will your pet adjust to the new baby? And what is the best way to make sure that everyone has a safe and healthy environment? With just a bit more planning, it won't be too hard.

You can start by pet proofing your home. It's important to create boundaries and distance between your new baby and your pet. In the beginning, you'll want to make sure there is physical space between pet and baby. If you have a nursery, make sure to keep your pet out of it. You might not know right away, but your baby could have pet allergies, so it's good to maintain the nursery as a pet-free environment. Cleanliness is important too. Be sure to constantly clean areas where your baby spends a lot of time to ensure it's a safe and healthy space.

Before you bring your baby home, do your best to prepare your pet for the change. For instance, if you have a dog, try running drills by getting a fake baby that cries and teaching your dog to be submissive in baby's presence. You may want to try teaching him to sit or lay down and reward your dog with a treat for good behavior. If your dog has lots of energy like my English Bulldog, do your best and train your dog to get out of the habit of jumping or playing rough around the fake baby. The important thing is to keep your pup calm. There will be a lot of excitement with a new baby, so be sure to give your pet lots of love and attention before and after baby comes home. Another tip to ease into the adjustment is to let your pet smell an article of baby's clothing before they officially meet. That way, your pet will be familiar with baby's new smell and will help ease the anxiety or excitement of a new guest.

If you think your pet is well-behaved and safe to be in baby's presence, it's still a good idea not to let your pet lick baby's face. A new baby is very sensitive to the outside world and a pet's saliva has the potential to cause an eye infection. If you notice your baby is having difficulty breathing or suffering from sneezing attacks when your pet is around, your baby may be experiencing an allergic reaction to your pet. Don't sweat it too much. Babies can grow out of pet allergies, but you should still pay close attention to the symptoms and limit contact between baby and pet. Allergies can lead to other health ailments, so if symptoms persist or worsen, I would strongly recommend taking baby to see your pediatrician and have some allergy tests conducted.

You love your pet and your baby and with proper care and attention to both, you can all live happily together. Be safe and enjoy your new bundle of joy!