Town and County (KSDK) - Dr. Stacey Wallach Town and County Vetrinary Hospital says there are several steps you should take to get your pet ready for a new family member.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian for a routine health exam and necessary vaccinations
- Obedience training is essential so that you can safely and effectively control your dog in all situations.
- Behavioral assessment may be important if your pet exhibits any fears or anxiety.
- Make changes in your pets daily routine early and gradually. Consider any changes that you may need to make in the pet's schedule, housing, play, exercise, or attention and design a daily routine of social times and alone times that can be practically maintained after the baby arrives.
- Prepare the nursery and decide if your pet will be allowed access to this area. If so, allow your pet to investigate the new odors and setup and reward good behavior with positive reinforcement. Make sure cats get a chance rub and mark the new furniture and booby trap areas they are not allowed (ie in the crib, on the changing table etc). If the pet will not be allowed access then access must be denied before the child's arrival.
- Teaching the pet to be confined to a room or crate so they feel comfortable being confined when the new baby comes home or for unexpected visitors and other disruptions.
- Accustom your pet to baby-related noises before the baby is expected. Play video or recordings of baby sounds and crying, and use the infant swing and toys.
- Use a baby doll and perform daily activities like diaper changes, swaddling, and taking the doll for a walk in the stroller. This is also a good time to get the pet used to the new smells of baby powders, oil etc...
- Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Supervise all pet and infant interactions. A wire-meshed or basket muzzle could also be applied for additional safety.
- Apply pheromones that can elicit calm behavior.
Click on the video player to see Dr. Wallch's entire interview on NewsChannel 5 Today in St. Louis