When your fur family adds a human
HAVING a baby is a very exciting time for your family and many changes lie ahead for you and your fur children.
Changes to their routine, their sleeping arrangements and access to areas of the house or to you, their parents, can cause stress or anxiety for your pets.
There are several things you can do to help minimise the disruption to your pet and the first thing is tell them you are pregnant.
They may not understand the ultrasound pictures or the adorable outfits you start to purchase but by making changes to their life before the baby arrives you allow them time to adjust and they will be less likely to build any negative associations with their new friend.
Some things to consider from the moment you know you are pregnant are:
-If your new baby's routine is likely to affect your pet’s routine make these changes as soon as possible (from the time you find out you are expecting) eg feeding time, walking time, the time they are inside or outside.
- If any areas will become ''off limits” to pets once bub is here, make them restricted now. This in- cludes bedrooms, living rooms or access to couches or chairs as well as access to you at certain times.
- If your pet has not been ex-posed to crying/squealing/laughing babies or their toys, start to expose them now. These noises can be very distressing for pets and should be introduced in the correct manner. Soundtracks can be downloaded online.
Once your baby is born, having a family member or your partner bring home worn baby clothes from the hospital can help them to become familiar with the baby before they arrive home, and always make sure your baby is not left unattended with pets.
A great resource available is “Tell your dog you are pregnant” or “Tell your cat you are pregnant” by Dr Lewis Kirkham.
This book has step by step instructions as well as soundtracks to help desensitise your pet. Remember you can also talk to your local veterinarian for advice as having a baby is a big adjustment for every member of the family.