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How to introduce your dog to your baby

Golden retriever with a baby advice

Safely introducing a new born baby to your dog

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The pitter patter of tiny feet is imminent. The only problem is, you currently have a set of tiny feet that belong to your beloved pooch and you have no idea how to handle the introductions. Don’t panic, with a little bit of effort and a whole lot of love, your babies could be the best of friends in no time.

By Natasha James

Published on the 09/04/2020, 14:00

We’ve compiled some of the most common questions that you may have when considering how best to introduce their dog to a new baby. Read on for our handy guide.

How do dogs adjust to babies?

With a little time and effort on your part, most dogs will adjust well to having a new pack member. Always supervise the process and prepare your dog for the new arrival in advance.

If you already have a child, it is very important to teach him or her how to respect dogs.

Do dogs get jealous of babies? 

Dogs are loyal members of the family and can experience a range of emotions, including jealousy, particularly if all the attention that they previously had now seems to be directed toward someone else! But don’t worry, any negative behaviours can be overcome with the right training.

When should I introduce my dog to my baby?

If you have the time, then it’s a great idea to start the process of adjusting your pooch to the new arrival before your baby comes home. Life with a newborn can be a confusing time for dogs (especially if they’re used to being the “only child”), there are new sights, smells and experiences and they’re no longer the centre of attention. A few things to consider:

  • Consider varying your routine now. When the baby arrives, it’s unlikely that you’ll always be able to shoot up at 7am for their morning walk.
  • Put new rules in place now. If your dog currently sleeps in your bed, it might be an idea to limit this behaviour now if it will be a no-no once the baby arrives. Similarly, if you intend for the baby’s room to be off limits then put the rule in place now.
  • Prepare your pooch for new experiences. For dogs who haven’t spent much time with babies, it can all be quite overwhelming. Allow your pup to sniff new baby items such as cots and strollers and get used to having them in the house. If your dog is alarmed by noise then get a recording of a newborn cry and play the sound while rewarding your pooch for calm behaviour.

Can a newborn be around a dog?

While there aren’t reasons to keep the two completely separate, you should never leave your newborn alone with your dog, however placid your pooch. Dogs may become agitated by the sound of the newborn and some may even try to carry the newborn in their mouths (much the way a bitch would with her pups).

Do dogs know that babies are babies?

Dogs view children and adults differently. They’re pretty intuitive and tend to be more protective of babies and little ones.

Are dogs dangerous to babies?

A well supervised dog is unlikely to be dangerous to your baby but it’s worth remembering that dogs are animals and their reactions aren’t as predictable as ours. Dogs use their mouths to investigate what’s around them so you should never leave your baby alone with your dog.

How do dogs react to babies?

Each dog’s reaction is likely to be a little different. If introduced properly, most dogs will be caring and gentle towards children but in those first few weeks and months in particular, you should always monitor your dog around your baby.

Why do dogs lick newborn babies (and is it okay)?

A dog may lick a baby for many reasons, it may be trying to play with the baby, it may be showing affection or it may be asserting dominance. Regardless of the reasons, a dog’s mouth is full of bacteria that can be harmful to your baby’s growing immune system. Try to prevent your dog from licking your baby and wipe the area with a baby wipe if this happens.

Why are dogs so protective of babies?

Dogs are pack animals and once they’ve realised that the baby is part of their pack, they may develop protective instincts. A dog knows that the baby cannot protect itself and so takes over caring duties as they would in the wild.

How do dogs react to crying babies?

Researchers have discovered that dogs have something very similar to human empathy when faced with a crying member of their pack. Because dogs pick up on energy, it’s possible that the sound of an upset baby may also upset your dog. Your pooch may approach the baby or they may bark!

Why do dogs bark when babies cry?

There are a few potential reasons why your dog may bark when your baby cries. They could be alerting you to the baby’s distress or it could be a sign of anxiety meaning that your pup wants to get away from the sound.

Is dog barking bad for babies?

The main problem with dog barks is that they’re likely to wake your baby up while they’re sleeping! Some new parents get lucky and their baby will sleep through. If you have a very vocal dog, it may be worth getting some tips on how to quieten them down before the baby arrives.

Why do dogs act weird around babies?

To a dog, a baby may smell like an adult but they certainly don’t act the same! Your dog may be confused by the presence of the baby which is why it’s such a good idea to get them used to the idea in advance.

Are you wondering which dog breed is the best around kids? Check out this list of 5 dogs for kids.
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