How to Prepare Your Dog for a New Baby

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Bringing a baby home from the hospital for the first time is one of the best days of your life…for you…your dog on the other hand will have a different feeling about it entirely.  Bringing a baby into the home changes everything from the smells and sounds, the routine, and the rules, to pretty much everything your dog has become to know as normal.  While the dog was once the baby of the family, getting all of the attention, love, and praise, it can be hard for dogs to adjust to such a drastic change.  Don’t worry though, there are things you can do ahead of time to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

If you have a small dog that is full of energy and is used to jumping up on your lap and the furniture, one of the best ways you can prepare for bringing baby home is to start teaching when it is okay to jump and when the dog needs to sit and stay.  It can be difficult for your dog to adjust, but if these measures are taken from the beginning of the pregnancy, it will be easier for the dog to learn.

“Little dogs can be more jealous and more snippy,” said Lynn Sullivan, community health program manager for The BirthPlace at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.  These dogs will adjust much better the earlier you start working with them.

If you have a dog that is uncomfortable when visitors are around, you’ll want to spend extra time socializing them during the pregnancy.  Take the dog to the dog park or other places where he can interact with other people (and other dogs).

Another way to prepare your dog for things to come is to start using things like baby lotion and shampoo so he starts to learn what those smells are.  If he is introduced to those smells before baby comes home, it won’t be such a confusing time.  It will also help to cut down on the jealous feelings because not EVERYTHING will be new.

Don’t wait until baby comes home to bring in things like toys, rattles, and new stuffed animals.  Introduce them and the sounds they make during the pregnancy.  Another great tip is to have a new toy waiting for your dog for the day the baby comes home.  You can also buy CDs or find online recordings of baby sounds, including rattles and cries.  Usig treats along with the new sounds will help to make the newness easier to accept.