The world reacted with joy to the birth of Prince George Alexander Louis. But how did Lupo, William and Kate’s black Cocker Spaniel pup, react to his new two-legged brother?
Even if you’re not royalty, you need to take precautions when introducing a baby to your dog.
“There are certain tips we recommend to pet owners before the baby’s arrival, as well as when the baby is actually brought into the home, to ensure a seamless transition for both the baby and the pet,” said Dr. Ari Zabell, director of client advocate support for Banfield Pet Hospital, the world’s largest veterinary practice.
“Introducing the pet to changes associated with the baby on a gradual basis, rather than all at once, is the first step to ensuring a family lives a happy life together!”
Banfield Pet Hospital offers the following tips for a successful transition.
Prior to the Baby’s Arrival:
1. Get your dog used to the sound of a crying baby. For positive reinforcement, play a recording of an infant wailing while you play with your dog or give him treats.
2. Acclimate your dog to the odors of baby products, furniture and toys.
3. Start implementing household changes such as baby-proofing and changing your dog’s routine. For example, if your dog will no longer be allowed on your bed, let him get used to sleeping in his own bed before the baby arrives.
4. Make sure your dog has a safe zone that the baby will not be permitted to enter. This can be a room or a crate with bedding, water and his favorite toys. Allow him to get accustomed to being in his safe zone before the baby’s arrival, and give him free access to this area afterward.
7. Be sure your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations and is receiving proper veterinary care to prevent the transmission of disease to your family.
After the Baby Arrives:
1. When you bring home your new bundle of joy, have someone else hold the baby while you greet your dog.
2. If you have more than one dog, introduce them to the baby one at a time.
3. Make sure your dog is on a leash when he meets the baby so you can better control the situation. If your dog behaves unacceptably, immediately separate him from the baby and contact your trainer or veterinarian for recommendations. Don’t make a rash decision to re-home your dog.
4. If your dog isn’t interested in meeting the baby, don’t force him to do so.
5. Avoid ignoring or scolding your dog around the baby, and then giving him lots of positive attention only while the baby is sleeping.
6. If you think your dog may get upset during diaper changes, nursing or other activities with the baby, have him go to his safe zone before you do these things.
7. Make sure an adult is present whenever your dog is with your baby. Never leave a baby or child unattended with a dog.
PHOTO: Jacobim Mugatu