How to Prepare Your Pet for Baby On the Way

by Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest, Rover.com community member.  Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

With a baby on the way, there’s a lot to prepare including how to get your pup ready for a new family member.  It’s easy to be distracted, and your fur baby may feel displaced.  Rover.com has a few suggestions for how to include your dog during this exciting time with your family.

Snuggle time.  Your pup will know something is happening with the changes in your body, behavior, and mood.  You may find him becoming more protective or more cuddly.  This is an important time to snuggle in close and enjoy a quiet morning with your pup in bed or take the time to relax on the couch together.  

Long walks.  Taking a walk during your pregnancy is not only good for your body, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the company of your dog.  As you get closer to your due date, walking is an important part of preparing your body, and now your dog has a vital role in helping you get ready.  After the baby has arrived and you’ve recovered, get out the stroller for a walk with the baby and take the dog along too!  

Dog Sitter.  As you make plans for the first 6-8 weeks with your newborn, include who will help take care of the dog.  If you have a dog sitter already, this is the time to discuss how often you’ll utilize them.  Plan for regular support feeding and walking the dog.  If you don’t have a dog sitter, now is the time to find one who will support the family as you adjust to your new schedule.

Early labor.  If you’re staying home in the early stages of labor or if you’re having a homebirth, your pets may want to be involved in soothing you before and after contractions.  As you’re writing out your birth plan, determine if you’ll want your pets involved in any part of the labor or if you’ll want someone to care for your pup during this time.  

Introductions.  Before you bring the baby home, plan out the first encounter with your fur family members.  First, have someone bring home the baby’s first blanket or hat so the dog can smell the baby’s scent.  The day you bring the baby home, have someone take the dog for a long walk or playtime at the park.  If you have an energetic dog, make sure she’s tired before she comes home to meet the baby.  When your dog enters the house, hold the baby up high and begin training your dog with the commands you’ll use around the baby.  Slowly bring the dog closer and allow him to smell the baby from a distance.  

Be sure to organize regular time to spend with your pup without the baby so your dog doesn’t feel disconnected from you.  Your pup may be excited or worried about the new addition.  You don’t want an unhappy dog during this big transition, so take the time learn what he needs to be included.  

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