Many new parents or parents with babies or toddlers have concerns when it comes to safely bring a new pet into the home with babies or toddlers. Both puppies and kittens bring their own host of concerns, but it doesn’t mean you have to avoid giving a cute little furry friend a loving home. Or, maybe you already have a dog or cat and are concerned about bringing a new baby into your home. Either way, with a little bit of knowledge, the transition should be pretty easy.
Safely Bringing a Pet Home With Babies or Toddlers
The first and most important step to safely bringing a pet home with babies or toddlers is to make sure your new pet is healthy. This will help make sure you are not bringing any unnecessary illnesses into your home, keeping babies and toddlers healthy. If you choose to adopt or purchase a new pet, veterinarians, humane societies, or pet shops are typically reliable. Most will not let you take dogs or cats home until they have been properly vaccinated and are in good health. On the other hand, if you choose to purchase or adopt an animal from someone’s home, it is in your best interest to make sure the animal is healthy prior to bringing it into your home.
Typically it is an easier transition bringing a kitten or a puppy into a home when you already have children. It can become more difficult to introduce a baby into a home that already has a full-grown dog or cat. Be sure to teach your child to be gentle or careful with your pet. Aggressive behavior from a child can lead to your pet having the same aggressive behavior (i.e. biting, scratching, clawing, barking, etc. ). Allow your child to help fill food bowls or change litter. This allows them to learn how to properly care for an animal. Both your baby and your pet will have the opportunity to grow together and be comfortable with each other from the very beginning.
Bringing a Baby Into a Home With a Grown Dog or Cat
If you are a new parent, and already have a full-grown pet in your home, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes pets, especially dogs can be stuck in their ways receiving all of the attention. When a new baby comes into the home your dog may show signs or act out due to jealousy. Before you bring your new baby home, bring a blanket home from the hospital that has your baby’s scent on it and places it somewhere your pet frequents. This will allow your dog or cat to become familiar with your babies scent. If you notice a change in behavior it is important to begin addressing it before your new bundle of job comes home.
Basic Safety Tips For Young Children and Pets:
- Keep an eye on you children and pets when they are around each other. Young children do not always know when they may become a little to rough or excited. To them, they are just having fun. Pets may not understand this. They may think that your child is trying to hurt them, and become defensive. If you are supervising your child, you will be able to intervene if you feel your child or pet may be becoming excessive.
- Keep them apart while your pet or child is eating. Animals, more-so dogs than cats, are serious about their food. They may become agitated if your child is trying to play with them or their food while they are eating. To avoid any sudden nips, it is best to let your pet eat in peace. This goes for children too. If your dog sees your child eating, they may act out to try and get your child’s food.
- Do not let your child walk your dog alone. Small children are not strong enough to contain a dog that may become distracted. Squirrels, other animals, or people may cause your dog to react suddenly or take off running. This can be harmful to your child if the dog begins to drag them. Or, your dog can get away and cause harm to another animal or person.
Pets are great companions to have in your home. They are also great protectors, and friends to children or adults. Having a small child does not have to stop you from also having a pet. Safely bringing a pet home with babies or toddlers can be very easy. With attentiveness and patience the bond between you, your children, and your pets can be amazing!
Keep in mind, pets are not babysitters! If you are in need of childcare services for infants or toddlers, Paradigm Child Care and Enrichment can help!