By Nicole Gregory
Bringing a new baby home can be difficult for your first “baby”—that is, a cat or dog who has reigned as the most beloved one in your household until that day. To make sure your infant is safe and your pet can adjust as well as possible to your new family member, keep in mind these tips from the Humane Society of the United States:
Before the baby is born:
• Take your pet to the vet for a health exam and all necessary vaccinations.
• Spay or neuter your pet (doing so will make your pet calmer and less likely to bite).
• Address pet behavior problems with training.
• Accustom your pet to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. Use the rocking chair, turn on the infant swing and play sounds of a baby gurgling or crying.
• Talk to your pet about the baby, using the baby’s name, if you’ve selected one.
After the baby is born:
• Have your partner bring home an item of clothing with the baby’s scent on it for your pet to investigate.
• Have someone else hold the baby when you step into the house so you can greet your pet with a warm, calm welcome.
• Try to maintain regular pet routines such as feedings and walks.
• Never force interaction between your pet and the baby.
• Never leave the baby unattended with your pet.
NEXT: THE POWER OF PETS