Introducing Pet to Baby

Happy Homecoming!

Pet cat and newborn baby

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On your baby's first day in her new house, be sure to implement these tips for a stress-free meet and greet.

Welcome your pet first. Say hello to your dog or cat—without the baby present. After the pet has calmed down, have your partner present your little one. "Sometimes it's a good idea to keep the pet and child separate for several hours while the pet gets used to the baby being in the house," says Klein.

Start off small. For the initial intro, your dog should be on a leash in a sit/stay position and rewarded with petting or praise. Gradually, your dog and baby can be brought closer together. "As long as the dog is quiet, you can let it remain nearby," says Klein. The same holds true for cats: Hold your baby near your pet, and caress and talk soothingly to the animal.

Don't exclude your pet. "The most common problem we see is an animal who's acting up because it's not getting the same attention it was used to before the baby," explains Klein. "So it's important to remember to include the pet as much as possible when you're around your child." Stick with the animal's regular routine, and try your best to spend a little one-on-one time with it each day. This may even help relax you too!

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