How Do I Prepare My Dog for a New Baby Arrival?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Alina Shirova/Shutterstock

A new addition to the family is always exciting – especially if that newcomer is a baby! However, when you’re already a pet parent, it can sometimes be a challenge to make sure your dog(s) don’t feel stressed because of the drastic change in the routine and that they accept your newborn into the pack, so to speak. Of course, there’s no discussion about who stays or goes, so you will have to find a way to prepare your dog for your baby’s arrival, but if you know what to do and how to tackle all the steps, it can be a smooth process. Luckily for you, we’re going into all the important details, so you’ll know exactly how to prepare your pooch for that big change.

101 On Preparing a Dog for a New Baby in the Family

To ensure a smooth transition for your furry friend and your growing family, you will need to start preparing well before the baby actually arrives. Some dogs can be really spoiled when it comes to attention, and they always want the spotlight to be centered on them only. When a baby comes and naturally becomes the focus of the entire family, your dog can show his displeasure in numerous ways – and that’s when all the troubles begin. Here’s what you need to know before welcoming a child to your pet-friendly family:

  • Gradual Changes: Start making gradual changes to your dog's  routine and environment before the baby arrives. This helps your dog adjust to new situations and reduces the shock of sudden changes. 

  • Training and Obedience: Ensure that your dog is well-trained and follows basic commands. Commands like sit, stay, and leave, will be particularly helpful when managing interactions between your dog and the baby. Training should be mandatory even if there’s no baby involved, but even more so with a child in the household.

  • Socialization: If your dog isn't used to being around children, try to gradually introduce them to kids in a controlled and positive manner. Enroll your dog in an obedience training class if needed.

  • Baby Sounds and Smells: Familiarize your dog with the sights, sounds, and smells of a baby. Play recordings of baby sounds, use baby lotion or powder, and bring baby-related items into the house. You can also play videos of babies on TV – anything goes! 

  • Desensitization: Gradually expose your dog to baby-related activities such as rocking a doll, using a stroller, or playing recordings of baby cries. Reward your dog for calm behavior during these sessions.

  • Routine Adjustments: Begin adjusting your dog's routine to match what it will be like after the baby arrives. This includes changes in feeding, walks, and playtime. Try letting them know that the focus will shift from them to the baby.

  • Baby Safety: The safety of your child is paramount. Ensure your dog is comfortable with baby equipment like cribs, bassinets, and strollers. Teach your dog that these items are not to be jumped on or disturbed. If you think your dog will be snooping about the crib, for example, you can utilize a  breathable safety mesh that can prevent them from licking the baby, etc. 

Remember, every dog is unique, so tailor your approach to your dog's personality and needs. With proper preparation and care, your dog can adapt well to the new addition to your family.

However, some doggos – especially the tiny ones – are simply too stubborn and inquisitive, and will always want to be around the baby. In such cases, you can utilize  a special dog gate, which will prevent them from entering the bedroom, or the area where the baby is when you’re not around to supervise their interaction. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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