Preparing your pet for baby’s arrival

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Bringing home a new baby is not just an adjustment for you – it’s a major lifestyle change for your dog or cat too. Ensure your furry friend feels loved and cared for once baby arrives – and minimize any misbehaving or acting out – by working with your pet throughout your pregnancy. Ease him or her into the idea of a new family member with these simple steps:

Simple commands

Before delivery day, make sure your dog responds to simple commands – sit and stay being the most important among them. Teach your pup to remain calmly at your side so that later on, when you have a newborn around, there’s only one creature vying for your attention – your baby.

Establish boundaries

Hoping to keep your pets out of baby’s nursery? Start teaching them that this room is off limits. If need be, set up a baby gate for dogs – or even a screen door to keep cats away. To discourage cats from snuggling up in baby’s crib, line the mattress with double-sided tape or aluminum foil.

Pay attention to behavioral problems

The last thing you want around a newborn is a jumping, swatting, scratching or nibbling pet. Nip these behaviors in the bud now well before your little one arrives. The animal experts at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends ignoring bad behavior such as a dog jumping to greet you. Only reward your dog with your attention when all four of his or her paws are on the floor. This way, you’re reinforcing the idea that good behavior results in petting – whereas poor behavior leads to nothing. If need be, consider signing your pet up for a training class to receive help from qualified specialists.

Alone time

No matter how much you shower your cat or dog with love and affection, the truth is this: Once your child is in your arms, you’ll have less time to devote to your furry friends. Help your pets ease into more time alone – before there’s a screaming and fussy baby adding more tension to your home.

Make introductions

Make a conscious effort to expose your pets to your friends and family members’ babies. Always use caution when introducing your dog or cat to an infant. Let your pet keep his or her distance and never leave a baby unattended.

Do you have pets at home? How are you working with them to ensure they’re prepared for your son or daughter’s arrival? Join our discussion below!

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