and Human Babies
Animals and babies can be great together, if the
proper precautions are taken. A new baby means major
life changes for everyone in the family. Help your
companion animal prepare for this blessed event
by following these guidelines:
up the nursery as soon as possible. Let your animal
explore the room during this process. Consider
placing a small battery-operated motion detector
(sold at Radio Shack) in the crib to discourage
him from claiming this cozy bed for his special
your animal to the new scents that he will be
living with once the baby is home by using some
of the powders, soaps and lotions you will be
using on the baby.
least one month before the baby's arrival, establish
any necessary changes in your animal’s routine.
For example, since cats like to cuddle, it is
not advisable to allow the cat in the newborn's
room when the baby is sleeping, so now is the
time to close the door and to teach your cat that
the baby's room is off-limits.
get your animal used to the sights and sounds
of babies, invite friends with babies to visit.
If that isn't possible, try to obtain an audio
tape of a baby crying. Baby sounds may be the
most frightening aspect of having a baby around
from the animal's point of view. Try to desensitize
him gradually to this aspect of baby's presence
in the home.
bringing the newborn home, bring home an unwashed
piece of his or her clothing for your animal to
smell. Our companion animals identify us primarily
through the sense of smell, not sight.
the baby is home, try to keep your animal's routine
as close to normal as possible. This means regular
meal times and play sessions. Don't wait until
your baby is asleep to play with your animal.
If your animal gets praise and attention when
the baby is in the room, he will associate the
new member of the family with good times, not
competition for attention.
patient. Animals need time to adapt. If your animal’s
behavior is a little erratic at first, remember
that in spite of all your careful preparations,
this still is a big change for all members of the
family. Eventually everyone will settle in and your
baby will grow up with the advantage of having the
unconditional love and devotion of a friend, confidant
and playmate. Your child may also be more empathetic,
a good life lesson.
you would like to work with a Wisconsin Humane Society
behaviorist one-on-one regarding this behavior topic,
please call 414-431-6173 to schedule a consultation.