With a new baby, sometimes your pet may not feel like the star of the household.
While you’ll always love your (furry) first-born, when it comes to bringing home a baby, the transition can sometimes be tricky.
amNewYork asked Chewy.com resident pet expert Caitlin Ultimo for some tips to help make it a bit easier:
1. Brush up on the training basics: Ultimo said it’s important to do a refresher course on things like sit, stay and down. “I can understand that some pet parents who have had their dog or cat for a while … might be a little overwhelmed at the thought of now introducing training,” she said. “Just keep it simple and try to master just the basics.”
2. Having a professional trainer come to your house is ideal, but any guidance can be helpful. “Old dogs can learn new tricks,” Ultimo said. “Anything is better than nothing.” And when it comes to training: treats, treats, treats, she added.
3. Involve your pet in setting up the nursery: Being in a new space before the baby is will help familiarize your dog or cat with the new sights and smells. “Playing a quick game of fetch with him in that space, petting him, giving him a treat. ... That positive reinforcement will further bring home the idea that this is a good, safe space,” she said.
4. Gradually adjust their routine: Abrupt changes to a dog’s walking or eating schedule will not sit well with him, Ultimo said.
5. Expose your pet to kids beforehand: Ultimo said that any time spent with kids before you bring your own home can only help. “The more acclimated your dog is with the news the more comfortable the transition will be,” she said.
6. Make the actual introduction a slow one: Ultimo said it’s best to have someone occupy your pet while you come in with the baby. “Keep the boundaries if you need to … but keep it loose, keep your grip loose so the dog feels free to say ‘hi’ and see what this new bundle of joy is about,” she said. “Consider having an interactive pet toy or treat that you can give the dog when you’re first doing those interactions.”
7. Spoil your pet a bit: Ultimo said it’s important to keep all interactions with your new baby and your furry baby positive.
“If you’re giving the baby a toy, have something to give the dog,” she said. “Kind of spoil him a bit, especially if you’re in a situation where everyone is a djusting.”