Babies and pets can be the best of friends (and make excellent teams for home movies), but it’s important to take precautions when introducing Baby to your pet to keep her as safe as possible – no cats of prey! So before you introduce them, you should ask yourself:
- Is my pet neutered or spayed? Dogs and cats that lack an endgame in their humping are much less likely to be hyperactive and jumpy, both of which are risky pet personalities to have around Baby.
- Has my pet been checked out by a vet? It’s always good to get your pet evaluated at the vet’s office before Baby arrives, just to make sure that your best animal buddy doesn’t have a disease or condition that could put Baby at risk.
- Is my pet ready for Baby? Setting up Baby’s crib, and playing crying sounds before she is even born is a great way to get your pet used to the new environment that he or she must pet it up in, as the last thing you’d want is your cat or dog to freak out when Baby arrives.
- Are my pets nails too sharp? If your dog or cat is a jumper with sharp nails, Baby might be on the receiving end of a nasty scratch. Even pets need manicures sometimes!
The bottom line
Everybody is close to their pets, but Baby’s needs definitely supersede your dog or cat’s. So while it’s unlikely that any drastic changes need to be made, these questions can help ensure a great first meeting and keep your child safe. So make sure your pet’s veterinary needs are up to date, their nails are freshly filed, and that you’ve already started to acclimate them to all things baby – minus Baby, of course – before the big meeting. And then take, well, baby steps as you make the introduction. Your little loves should be getting along in no time. But remember, even the best-behaved pets shouldn’t be left alone with babies, and your furry friend shouldn’t snuggle up for sleep with your little one, no matter how cute they look all cuddled up together!