How to introduce your pet to a new baby

Here’s help for getting your pet through the transition

How to introduce your pet to a new baby

Source: Best Health Magazine, May 2010

Introducing your newborn to your pet can go smoothly’if you’re prepared. While cats are not usually aggressive toward infants, they can be curious. Make the crib and playpen ‘no-cat zones’ even before the baby arrives. To make the whole room off-limits, install a temporary screen door, or try Ssscat, a motion detector that sprays a non-toxic gas when the cat goes near it.

What about dogs? Some may have dominance issues. Dr. Sarah Machell, a veterinarian in Oakville, Ont., says, ‘Make sure your dog has training. That way, he’ll understand his role in the home’s hierarchy.’ She also recommends having a crate so he has a ‘safe haven’ from a crying newborn.

Introduce baby sounds and smells: Invite friends over with their newborn, or turn on the mechanical swing. And use baby oil as a moisturizer.

Maintain your dog’s walking routine and bring the baby along to help them bond. And with cats, ‘spend 15 minutes a day grooming or playing with them,’ says Machell.

But it doesn’t always work out. If not, Best Friends Animal Society suggests petfinder.com or posting flyers in your neighbourhood and at work to find your pet a new home.

This article was originally titled "Bringing home a baby?" in the May 2010  issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.

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