We know that sometimes, it feels as if your pet was your first “baby”. Loyal and lovable, pets bring a lot of joy to a family. Here are a few tips to help create a harmonious relationship between dogs and babies, and prevent accidents along the way.
Cats, birds, dogs and babies
Achieving a good bond between dogs and babies (or any other animal really) is wonderful and quite beneficial! Experts say that young children living with pets develop an excellent immune system, believed to be due to exposure to pet dandruff and some of the microbes that they carry in from the outside.
Sometimes, pets that have been living with a family for a long time can be jealous or distrustful when a new member arrives. This can sometimes lead to aggression. So try to be alert to signs including jumping at you, demanding your attention more than usual, or barking at your little one when you are with them. To prevent this, try to include your pet in your routine, let it follow you through the house, so it gets familiar with your baby. Remember to continue cuddling your pet too!
How can I prevent aggressive reactions?
- If your pet is a dog, train them. Although you might think training is unnecessary, it will make them more stable, predictable, and less likely to hurt your child.
- If you have the chance, show your pet one of your baby’s used garments so that they can smell it. Do this before they get to know them, so they can get used to their smell.
- Pets are unpredictable and our little ones can be spontaneous too. Therefore, always be present and alert when your pet and your baby are in the same room together.
- Get your pet involved when you are with your little one, be affectionate towards them while you take care of your baby.
- If you notice any aggression against your little one, reprimand your pet immediately.
- If you have a cat, put a net over your baby’s crib to avoid unsupervised visits.
Help your child to build a good relationship with your pet
Here are some things you can teach your little one to create a positive environment between them:
- Teach your child good play manners with pets, such as not pulling ears or tails, or treating them harshly.
- Explain to your child not to disturb or try to play with pets while they are eating, sleeping, or feeling ill.
- Teach your kid to lower their voice around pets, and not to make sudden movements or rough play.
- If your pet is a rabbit, hamster, or guinea pig, teach them to lift them slowly.
- With pets, you can teach your little one about the respect for other species or living creatures.
- Introduce your little one to the concept of territory, and how, just like them, pets have their own space too.
- Help your kid develop responsible behavior by showing them how to take care of your pet and their needs.
- Include your pets in your daily routine, let them follow you and your little one while you do your chores.
- As your kid grows, teach them about the needs of your pet and how to take care of them, allowing them to help you by serving them water or food and offering treats.
Hygiene with pets, dogs, and babies
Now, you should not only worry about security as far as accidents can go, you also have to take care of hygiene to keep your baby healthy.
- Make sure your pet has been dewormed. Some parasites can be passed from pets to babies, so make sure your pet has been vaccinated and is 100% healthy.
- Keep your pet clean. Watch out for fleas and ticks, as these can come in contact with your child’s skin.
- If your pet bites your little one, only scraping their skin, you can treat the manageable wound at home. Wash the cut very well under cold water and cover it with a bandage, check it the following day to see if there are any signs of infection.
- If the wound is deep, wash it the same way but take your child to your doctor immediately or to medical emergencies.
There’s nothing to worry about, as long as you’re always monitoring your baby when your pet is present and looking after your pet’s health. If you are just about to buy or adopt a dog, it’s best to read many dog guides and choose a breed that is recommended for young children. Do the same with cats and choose one that can best live with infants and children.