Bringing a new pet into the family is one thing, but what do you do when you’re bringing a new baby to a home that has a pet? These tips will help you prepare clients who are getting ready to welcome a new member to their family, so the transition is as easy on the baby and the family pets as possible.
The Changes are Bigger than the Baby
While clients will tend to focus on pet/baby interactions, there’s more going on than an addition to the family. Is the household going from a working couple to having a stay-at-home parent? Will there be babysitters and relatives visiting? All these changes will put stress on their pets.
These changes start long before the baby arrives. The mother looks different and acts different. The spaces in the home change to accommodate the baby. Schedules change, which upsets routines. Adjustment strategies need to address all of these factors to make pets feel comfortable.
Preparation Starts Before the Baby Arrives
A healthy pet is better equipped to handle the changes in their life. Clients should bring their animals in for a thorough checkup as soon as possible. This gives you more time to help them resolve underlying issues before their lives get out of hand with the new baby.
Does the pet have behavioral problems? The sooner these are addressed, the easier the transition will be when the baby arrives. People considering a new pet may want to hold off until they have time to adjust to parenthood. At that point, when they bring a pet into the home, that pet only knows life with children in the household.
Most advice books recommend using a doll as a stand-in for a baby. Dogs and cats aren’t going to think the doll and the baby are the same thing. However, carrying a doll around gets the animal used to interruptions in their spaces.
Know the Pet
People get nervous around newborns, and that can cause problems with pet interactions, especially if they’re not familiar with pets. For example, if you see a cat or dog lick the baby, you know they do it because they like the baby. However, someone who doesn’t know animals may panic, thinking this may quickly lead to biting. When people visit, it’s easier to just keep pets and children separated.
Pets need time and space to adjust to the changes. Introduce the pet and child to each other slowly, giving the pet a treat if the interaction is successful.
All pets are different. Breeds like Maine Coons and Mastiffs are known for being kid friendly, but bad experiences can make the friendliest animal lash out. Create a safe space where pets can go when they don’t want to interact. Crate training works great for dogs, while keeping little ones away from a cat’s favorite hiding place can give them a chance to chill out. This space should be inaccessible to the toddler. To them, a crate seems like the perfect playhouse, and a hiding cat is just waiting to be found and played with.
We Can Help You Stay Connected with Your Clients
When you bring a baby into the family, a lot of things can get lost in the shuffle, including pet care. Positive Impressions, LLC can help your practice stay in the loop. We offer a wide range of promotional products, including reminder cards, birthday cards, magnetic business cards and more. These items can be custom printed, so you can add your clinic information to our standard designs, or create an all new design specific to your practice. Visit our website to see what we offer, or see our current specials on our Facebook page.