When your fur fam­ily adds a hu­man

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - News - with Felic­ity Miller, vet­eri­nar­ian

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.

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