Preparing Your Dog for Baby’s Arrival

Families coexisting peacefully with pets is something the Federation of Insured Dog Owners in Florida encourages in a number of ways, including education—for example, preparing your pet ahead of time for the impending arrival of a new baby—a time that can often signal a change in the household when your pet may no longer have your complete attention, and could react negatively.

This can be a difficult time for a dog that is accustomed to frequent physical and verbal contact from you, and suddenly finds himself competing with what seems like a noisy ball of blankets. A few months before the baby’s arrival, here are some things you can start to implement:

Note how much time you spend absent-mindedly interacting with your dog, whether it’s talking to him during dinner prep, stroking him while watching the nightly news, and so on. Gradually decrease that amount of unconscious attention, so the dog becomes more accustomed to it; replace it with engaged, interactive playtime with the dog. He’ll soon get used to fewer random belly rubs or head pats and won’t mind as much if they’re replaced with solid chunks of one-on-one quality time.

Get your dog used to what’s to come by playing recordings of baby noises at a small volume. Increase the volume gradually as the dog becomes accustomed to the noises, as long as he appears calm or just curious about the noise but doesn’t seem to be afraid.

Consider getting a baby doll—one that looks and sounds like a real baby. Hold it and treat it like a real child—put it in the crib, in the child seat or changing table, etc., and let the dog watch your behavior. Praise him for calmly checking out what’s going on without barking, jumping, or pawing you.

No matter how much you trust your dog or how old he is, never leave the dog unattended with your baby.

These simple steps can make for an easier transition to bringing up baby and Bowser alike.