Pets can be possessive sometimes, other times they could care less if there are other animals or humans in the immediate area. But bringing home a new bundle of joy to a household with an existing four-legged friend can be tricky sometimes. They’re used to being the center of attention, and suddenly, there’s a crying, laughing, strange little ball wrapped in a blanket that will probably smell peculiar to them.
Think of how anxious some animals get when they’re separated from you for long periods of time and how overjoyed they are to see you when you return. And if you’ve spent time with another animal, they’ll smell you up and down wondering where you’ve been and who you’ve been playing with besides them. Now you’re getting the picture of how sensitive they can be sometimes.
Speaking of being sensitive, dogs and cats both have extraordinary hearing powers and loud noises can alarm them (think of thunderstorms and sirens). A screaming infant can catch them completely off guard and make them extremely uncomfortable. Did you know an infant’s cry can be as loud as a jackhammer? Before the baby arrives, begin slowly introducing your pet to these new noises by playing videos or sound bites of babies laughing and crying.
Any new mother can attest to the wonderful smell of a newborn infant, and the not-so-pleasant odor come changing time. Just like their hearing, pets have a very sensitive sense of smell and there’s ways around this when it comes to new babies. If there’s time, consider bringing home a blanket from the hospital before the infant comes home that already has their scent attached for your pet to explore before their arrival.
While most expectant parents will have the nursery set up long before the arrival of the big day, think about putting out all the accessories slowly, but sooner rather than later. This way your pet will become accustomed to the new objects all around your home instead of them popping up all over the place once the infant arrives home.
Another way to soften the blow when it comes to a new arrival is to pretend that it has already happened. In other words, consider carrying around a doll in a blanket and with a little bit of “make believe”, they’ll become more familiar with this new practice.
We’ve been talking about the similarities when it comes to cats and dogs, but there are some unique differences to consider when it comes to felines. For example, an agile cat can often easily jump into a crib, bassinet or onto a changing table or station. For this reason, it’s probably a good idea to keep critters out of the nursery for the first year or two.
Another way cats are vastly different from dogs is their use of a litter box. If this feline bathroom device will be in an area that your infant (and soon to be toddler) can access, it should be moved. But slow and steady is important to this pace – only move the box a few feet at a time over several days or weeks.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can ensure your pets will embrace your new, little bundle of joy. Soon they’ll grow into lifelong best friends.
Travel junkie, Amber Kingsley, is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica, CA. Her art history background helps her hone in on topics that are of interest to readers. She is a dog enthusiast and loves spending time with her Pomeranian, Agatha. Don’t forget to connect with her on Google+.