TELL Your Dog You’re Pregnant is a guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby. Written by Australian veterinary behaviourist Dr Lewis Kirkham, expectant parents get the good oil on how to transition smoothly from a dog- owning child- free household to a household combining the patter of little feet with the patter of paws.
By way of a taster, you can freely read the fi rst three chapters online at babyandpet.com. au and then buy or download the book to receive a soundtrack of baby noises and toy sounds.
In general terms, dogs are comfortable with what is familiar to them so new baby sounds like crying, giggling, sneezing, splashing in the bath and the intriguing noises toys make can be quite an adjustment.
With the soundtracks provided, expectant parents can prepare their dog for these new sounds, acclimatising their pet well in advance of the real McCoy arriving home from hospital.
Dr Kirkham’s book helps new parents interpret their dog’s body language and recognise any early signs of avoidance which can indicate a problem in the relationship between dog and new baby.
There’s also information on introducing dog and baby for the fi rst time, measures to keep dogs ( and parents) calm and also how to recognise when the assistance of a professional might be in order.
While any major life change requires an adjustment period ( and dogs are no different), this book advocates equally for dogs and kids with the goal of protecting both.
As babies grow into toddlers and young children, it’s their turn to learn and respect the needs of pets.
From an early age, parents can begin to teach the basics of respecting animals.
Another book, Tails Are Not for Pulling by Elizabeth Verdick, has appealing illustrations to help small children learn when it might be okay to pat an animal but never to squeeze, tease or pull tails.
For more on nurturing the child and pet relationship, visit www.wearefamilysa.com.au
TELL YOUR DOG YOU’RE PREGNANT By Dr Lewis Kirkham ( Little Creatures Publishing, Melbourne, 2013)