(Daily Gazette) One of the most common reasons pets are surrendered at the Animal Protective Foundation (APF) is the arrival of a new baby in the home. A new baby entering the home environment can be stressful — especially for your pets. Not only is there a new little person in your household but your entire routine also changes.
Before the arrival of a new baby, it is important to plan how to make the transition as smooth as possible for all furry friends in the household. Laura Weiner, LVT, clinic manager of APF’s spay and neuter clinic, said simple changes made the transition easier with her first child.
“During my pregnancy with my daughter, my husband and I worked hard to prepare our two dogs for the change by putting up gates ahead of time, creating a solid routine for sleeping and making sure they had their own safe spaces when they needed to relax away from the baby.” she said. “Patience and understanding that a new bond is being created between your fur babies and your newborn is crucial to the success of keeping everyone happy and healthy.”
Here are some changes they made to help their two dogs prepare for this adjustment.
1. Make routine changes early.
Do your cats and dogs sleep in the same room or bed as you? Consider whether your pet will be comfortable continuing that practice with a newborn in the room that will be up and noisy every few hours. Months before our delivery, I slowly transitioned my dogs to sleep in a different room. Changes in routine can be stressful for both people and pets, so making the switch early creates a slower transition for everyone.
2. Create safe spaces for the new baby as well as your pets.
Decide early if your pets will be allowed in the nursery. If not, begin training your pets to resepect the off-limits space long before the newborn’s arrival. On the same note, what space in your home does your pet have to go where they can escape and enjoy some quiet time to settle? Purchase baby gates for space dividers and install them prior to your newborn arriving. This allows designated areas not only for the newborn but also for your pet if they want some time away from the new change.