You’ve been checking the weeks off of the calendar, reading baby books, and keeping up with your baby’s development as your pregnancy progresses. Your beloved dog is right next to you all the time: Lying with you when you are tired, licking your face during a bad bout of morning sickness, and wagging his tail every time you come home from another prenatal appointment.
Preparing for a new baby can be thrilling, exhausting, and stressful. It’s also a time when many dogs find themselves homeless, dropped off in animal shelters and rescues because families do not know what to expect from the dog when the baby arrives.
Fortunately, you can prepare your dog for your newest family member, which can be a tough transition, especially if your dog has been your baby until now.
Here are some easy ways to prepare your dog for a new baby.
Stagger meal times.
Schedules turn upside down when a new baby arrives. Mealtimes, which were once set in stone, may be different every day. Your dog’s internal clock will tell him when it’s mealtime. To prepare for those hectic first days with the baby, start changing your dog’s meal time every day so he gets used to eating at different times.
Show your dog baby supplies.
Buying baby supplies – clothes, toys, and furniture – is arguably one of the best parts of getting ready to welcome a new baby. Make it fun and exciting for your dog, too, by bringing the baby supplies home and opening them with your dog. When you bring home baby clothes, for example, let your dog look at and sniff them. Do the same for the baby carrier, swing, crib, and rattle.
Get your dog used to the sounds of an infant.
Your dog may make the most noise now but that’s all going to change when a newborn arrives. He’s going to have to get used to cries, screams, and other common sounds infants make. If you have friends with babies, invite them over so your dog can get used to infants. If all else fails, go online and find audio of baby noises, such as crying, and play them so your dog can become accustomed to them.
Introduce your dog to the baby before she comes home.
Smell is one of a dog’s most important senses. Take a blanket or a piece of fabric and rub the newborn’s scent on it. Bring it home and give it to the dog to get used to the scent.
Make your new baby coming home exciting for everyone, including your dog. Including him in family activities and preparing him for the new arrival will make the transition easier and happier for everyone involved.
Let us know how you get on…and of course we would love to see a picture of your new addition to the family