Babies and pets: Can they co-exist?

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Do babies and pets get along? If you’re curious as to whether your pet and baby can co-exist harmoniously, read on.

 

Many of us have pets before babies. But when you get pregnant, you may be anxious about introducing your new baby to your pet. When this happen, many couples end up giving away their pet. How can you ensure this does not happen? Can babies and pets co-exist? We believe so, as long as you do some ground work and preparation. 

Babies and pets: FAQs

Will my pet hurt my baby?

Unless your pet is the aggressive sort and exhibits signs of violence, or is fiercely protective about his territory, there is nothing to worry about! Most dogs are good with children while most cats are very docile by nature, so there is no reason why your pet would attack your baby.

Even in the event where your unknowing toddler agitates your pet with rough handling, it is not common that your pet would attack in response. Most of them would simply walk away from the offending tiny person.

Will the animal hair give my baby allergies?

Theoretically, animal hair is not much of an allergen, it is the stuff that gets trapped in the fur that causes allergic reactions. So keeping your pet clean will reduce chances of allergic reactions.

However, it is important to note that parents with any form of allergy would have higher chances of genetically passing on the tendency of having allergies that may or may not be similar to the parent.

There has also been scientific proof that early exposure of pets in a baby’s life reduces chances of the child developing allergy-related symptoms like asthma. Somehow it seems as though it may possible for newborns to get accustomed to fur (and the allergen particles that may be found in the hair) and avoid forming any allergies in the first place.

babies and pets

Will my pet be jealous of the new baby?

Unless your pet is usually the type who doesn’t care much about how many hugs she gets a day, most pets will come to feel neglected after the baby arrives. They may be moody, have reduced appetite, and may even go through stages of withdrawal from human contact.

While we may be overwhelmed by the demands of a new baby, it would be important to dedicate some one-on-one time with our pet daily. In gist, our pets should be given the same treatment that we would give to any existing older children in the house.

How do I prepare my pet for the baby?

If you’re one of those pet owners who believe that your dog or cat is capable of understanding human language, share the news of your pregnancy with them like you would to an existing older child. Pets often play the role of an older sibling – playing with and watching over the newborn when Mom is not watching – and preparing them for a new member in the family is crucial.

It would be advisable to set up the baby’s room earlier so that your pet can get used to the changes in the house. If you would prefer your pet to stay off the baby’s crib or even out of the baby room, this would be a suitable time to start training your pet about the new boundaries.

Although it may sound far-fetched for some, it would be a good idea to expose your pet to babies before you’re actually due. Animals have much sharper sense of hearing than us, and the piercing cries of a newborn may prove too much for their sensitive ears. Getting them used to the sights and sounds of a newborn will prepare them better for what’s to come.

Pets and babies living in harmony

I know many success stories of parents who raise their offspring in the presence of pets and none have any horror stories to tell. In fact, most pets take well to the introduction of a new family member and even go on to form meaningful human-animal relationships. Your pet will eventually become your child’s best playmate, and the relationship will cultivate your child’s love for animals.

My baby (who is no longer truly a baby anymore) loves to play with our pet cat, and even invites her into bed to nap with him. He has not suffered any pet-related ailments and now at 20 months, I believe he probably will not start having problems with animal fur.

You might also be interested in reading:

Dealing with the death of a pet

Can babies an pets coexist?

How to prepare your pet for your baby's arrival

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Written by

Shelly Sim

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