Baby on the way? This is how you can prepare your pet for that

Before you know it, it’s a big butt between those two.

Watch your pet’s behavior

Suppose you are a few months pregnant: then you still have some time to work on your pet’s behavior. You may find it very cozy now that your dog sleeps on the couch or on the bed, but once you have a baby, not anymore. A good time to unlearn that, then. Also check your dog’s behavior while walking. For example, pulling on the leash can be annoying if you are behind a pram. You can even enlist professional help to train your dog. How a cat reacts to a baby is partly genetic, but also depends on its personality and previous experiences during the cat’s socialization period (between two and seven weeks after birth). While you can prepare a cat for the arrival of a baby, your furry friend may not accept the new family member. Some people then choose – no matter how painful – to find a new home for their cat. It is always good to discuss such a decision with a veterinarian.

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Let your pet get used to the baby stuff

A baby room, pram, playpen in the living room: you need a lot of stuff for a baby. And those things can cause unrest in your pet. Pregnancy is a good time to get your dog or cat used to all that baby stuff. Will there be a box in the living room? Then put it down a few weeks or months before the birth, so that your four-legged friend can get used to it. This also applies to other large and impressive items, such as the pram. Walk around the house or garden with it to see how your pet reacts to it. Is your dog or cat used to walking all over the house, but don’t you like it when it sniffs around in the baby’s room? Then it is good to already mark that room as off-limits. Just make sure you create another nice spot for it instead. For example, cats like to “hide” in a safe place, such as on a cupboard or in a box. Good to know: For an indoor cat, a change, such as a new family member, can be even more intense than for an outdoor cat. It can be useful for a dog to purchase a crate, so that he has a safe place if you can’t pay attention for a while. Let him get used to it during the pregnancy.

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Let your pet get used to baby sounds

The sound of a baby crying takes some getting used to to say the least. Also for your pet, whose hearing is sometimes even better developed. And because he will regularly hear howling and screaming in the near future, it is good to let him get used to it. Therefore, regularly play a sound fragment of a crying baby, so that your dog or cat will be less shocked by the sound. Important: Always reward your pet for good behavior.

Adjust the rhythm

The arrival of a baby completely turns your old rhythm upside down. And therefore indirectly also that of your pet. There is a good chance that your dog is now being walked at a different time, for example because your baby is just sleeping. By gradually adjusting the rhythm during pregnancy, your dog will not suddenly be faced with surprises after birth. You want to prevent your dog from associating the baby with something negative, i.e. dropping out or postponing fun things, such as a walk. Even a cat has to get used to the fact that he is no longer the center of attention. Where before you might have had plenty of time to cuddle and entertain him, you are now busy with that little bumblebee on your arm. Is your cat used to getting attention every moment of the day? Then it is wise to gradually reduce that attention in the months before the birth. That sounds unkind, but that’s how you get a cat used to a different rhythm, and they love that.

Source: Kenaupark Veterinary Clinic, LICG

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