Getting pets ready for a baby — The Bump
September 2014 Moms

Getting pets ready for a baby

I've got 2 cats and 2 dogs and I'm starting to think about how to get them ready for a baby.  I know my cats will find a crib to be the perfect napping spot, so I saw some suggestions about a tent over the crib, but I've also seen that they are a hazard.  Some people spray them with a water bottle when they get in the crib but my cats think that's a fun game.  

As far as my dogs, I won't be leaving them alone with the baby ever, and I will do my best to get them used to the smells and sounds of a baby.  I think they'll be ok if they're exercised and acclimated to the baby.  They're well trained and listen to our commands.

Another reason I'm thinking about this is that I'd like to have the possibility of watching 2-3 other kids in my home.  Do you think that the pets are a deal breaker?

I'd love suggestions in general, thanks!
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Re: Getting pets ready for a baby

  • Someone told us that cats do not like aluminium foil, so we put a sheet of that in the PnP bassinet (the only furniture they were interested in) and it seemed to keep them away. Other than that, our cats are not very social and generally prefer to stay in the basement during the day while our kids are awake lol.

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  • I've been starting to wonder about this. We have 2 cats, Kitty is very social and spunky while Mr. Bubbles is very calm and gentle. I'm mostly worried about Kitty b/c she gets overstimulated very easily and will express her claws. I think they know that something's going on...they've taken to following me around the house and now prefer to sleep on/touching my stomach.
    This is going to be a big adjustment for the both of them and I'm not sure how to go about making subtle changes over the next 6 months
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  • Our Tink is admittedly a spoiled rotten princess. We are working already on new rules like not jumping, listening to "drop it," etc. When we have the baby's room set up, she will learn that certain spots are not for her, and when the baby comes home I will send DH home first with something that smells like the baby. Then I'll have him take Tink out while I settle into the baby's room & bring her in so she recognizes that the baby belongs there.

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  • I held a baby this past weekend and my dog was not amused. He sniffed but seemed ok overall.
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  • @brittneyandadam my cats are the same way!  They are super cuddly.  We have been keeping our dogs out of the bed while TTC in preparation, and one of our cats has become obsessed with sleeping in between us.  Like if I kick him off, he jumps right back up.  And when I get home from work, he is parked up there like, "what u gonna do".  Cattitude!
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  • Yeah we have 2 cats.  The one will not be an issue, hes a senior and is pretty anti social in general haha even with us.  Our other guy though, hes a cuddler and really curious.  We plan on getting used to leaving the door closed to the baby's room at all times.

    The aluminum foil trick works really well.  We do this near our tree around christmas time, as he likes to walk on the table to get close to the tree and swat ornaments down.

    I plan on getting a audio recording of baby cries and putting it in our nursery (which unfortunatly right now is where one of the literboxs is, and we have to transition it to another room) so they get used to the sound of a baby.

    I honestly feel bad, because he is such our little baby now, its going to be hard for him at first I think.
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  • Lucky for me my cats were never interested in DS's furniture so I never had to deal with that, I like the tinfoil idea. My cats are very cuddly, but at first they would barely sniff DS then run off. Misty warmed up first and shared my lap with DS at 3 weeks. Bella, the more spazzy one that uses claws and teeth was much more standoffish until DS was closer to 8 months old. She made me nervous, but is surprisingly patient with him...both cats are. :-)

    My dogs never slept on our bed or were allowed on furniture from the beginning. I walked them next to a stroller before DS was born to get them used to it and while DS had to stay in the hospital for two days DH brought home some blankets for them to sniff. When everyone came home I had DH hold DS so I could greet the dogs as I hadn't been home in five days. Dutch wanted nothing to do with DS and would just walk away from him until very recently, but Nikolai was a sweet nanny dog from day one.
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  • What breeds are your dogs?

    I think how they will react is very breed dependent as well. Our huskies completely dislike baby, our beagle... loves him.

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  • What breeds are your dogs?

    I think how they will react is very breed dependent as well. Our huskies completely dislike baby, our beagle... loves him.

    Whereas my husky is the BEST nanny dog (from day one) and my GSD is sweet now that DS is older but wanted nothing to do with him when he was younger.
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  • I don't have any advice for the cats, since we don't have any, but we do have 2 dogs. We have a yorkie/ shih-tzu and a pitbull and we didn't do anything in advance to prepare them for bringing DS home and they adjusted just fine.

    As far as watching other peoples kids, I think it would depend on the parents feelings towards animals and your pets temperament. One person might be totally ok with it, while the next person won't.
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  • I've read that bringing home something from the hospital that smells like baby is a good idea before you get home. Otherwise I think just trying to make sure they don't get left out and you give them as much attention as you can is all you can really do. My lab is my baby right now and I've started talking to him about the baby and when our neighbors baby cries I make him listen and talk to him real softly about it. He is definitely an AW so we shall see.
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  • What breeds are your dogs?

    I think how they will react is very breed dependent as well. Our huskies completely dislike baby, our beagle... loves him.

    They are both total mutts.  One is boxer-ish, the other looks like a shiba inu.  The boxer just wants to please and the other one is the princess.
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  • We didn't have any issues with the dogs when DS was a baby and we didn't do anything special to prepare them. It has actually been harder now that DS is almost 2. He loves them and wants to show them affection all the time, but he doesn't understand when to quit and my beagle especially gets really annoyed with him. She's older and has congestive heart failure, so I can understand that she doesn't want a little person all over her. We're working on it, but it's a battle.
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  • trombgirl said:

    What breeds are your dogs?

    I think how they will react is very breed dependent as well. Our huskies completely dislike baby, our beagle... loves him.

    Whereas my husky is the BEST nanny dog (from day one) and my GSD is sweet now that DS is older but wanted nothing to do with him when he was younger.

    This is what we're hoping for. LO#1 is only 5 months old so still in the baby stage. I am hoping once he starts acting like a human (walking, talking, etc.) our huskies will love on him...

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  • trombgirl said:

    What breeds are your dogs?

    I think how they will react is very breed dependent as well. Our huskies completely dislike baby, our beagle... loves him.

    Whereas my husky is the BEST nanny dog (from day one) and my GSD is sweet now that DS is older but wanted nothing to do with him when he was younger.
    I have a Shepard/Husky mix and she LOVES babies.  She is their little protector every time one of them is around.  

    We also have two pugs.  I know our youngest pug is going to love having a baby around. The oldest one, yeah, we are fairly sure he is going to be so upset he will try to pee on the baby.  There is no way we would try the baby doll thing, as our dogs would just think it's a toy to be played with. Once we start getting baby gear -- car seat, stroller, rocker, bouncy, etc -- we will bring one out at a time and keep telling them, "That's baby's".  Teaching them that baby's things are off limits. 

    Once baby is here and we are ready to come home my husband will come first with one of the baby's blankets.  He will let them smell it and get over the excitement of someone coming home.  Then I will bring the baby in.  We will just set the baby on the table at first and let them get used to a new human smell coming into the house.  The eventually we will let them smell the baby and see how they all handle it. 
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  • I don't necessarily think pets are a deal breaker for having multiple children over, however I am a Vet Tech and I'm the owner of 3 dogs and a cat.. I may be a little biased.

    I will say, my step mom is one of those "but how does anything stay clean with a pet" type of people and I'm sure I'll hear comments about the animals around the baby. So it very much depends on the parents of the children you would have over. Obviously others may be concerned with their child being around animals because they don't have them or because they're not their own animals.

    Also something to consider- your animals may take well to your child, but may not like any others and simply may be protective of their home to intruders or other "weird smelling" children/people.


  • My dogs seem to do ok around my 8 month old nephew so I'm hoping they will do the same around my own baby. Though they're both very protective of me so I'm curious to see how they'll react. I would just suggest getting them used to being around other peoples kids if possible, especially in your own home. So your new little one won't be a sudden change.

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  • edited February 2014

    Our dogs love kids. (We have a Beagle and a Bassett). They have always been very "reverent" if you can use that word for this, around children. When I hold one of the children, however, they do get jealous - especially our Beagle. She doesn't get agressive with the child, but she will drop her ears, cry and paw at my arm or leg and then try to climb up. So we definitely need to work on THAT. Other than that, I don't have any doubts that our dogs will welcome our new little one with pretty open paws.

    As far as in-home care, I have thought of doing the same thing, but declined because of the dogs. It wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me taking my child to a daycare with dogs, but it might for some people who obsess over cleanliness and pet hair, not to mention children with allergies, PLUS the big fat liability that something could happen one day where your dogs (God forbid) bite a child - for whatever reason. If we didn't have our furbabies, I would do it, but I just don't want to put them or myself in that very unlikely, but possible, situation.

     

     

     

  • I think ( hope) our 2 dogs will adjust fine to the babies, but I think I am most worried about pet hair, as trivial as that may sound. We have a pretty heavy shedding lab/snauzer mix and I already struggle with the pet hair. It drives me crazy!!! I can only imagine how it'll be with twin newborns!
  • reverey said:

    Littler box is in a completely different room and will have to be dealt with once baby starts crawling etc as I don't want it to be mistaken as a damn sandbox. lol  Of course, once whiff of that box and i'm sure my LO will NOT want to go near it again!


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  • We have two cats who have never been around kids prior to my daughter and the transition was a non issue for us. We didn't do anything to prepare them and they were fine. One of them liked to sleep in her bouncer before she arrived, but never bothered with her once she was here. It was much less stressful than I was expecting. I assume it is different for dog owners.
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  • We tried as much as possible to prep our 2 cats and 2 dogs for baby. But that the time, we lived in a small condo, and our animals weren't very used to children. It was a nightmare!
    My oldest cat freaked out. Not at first, but within a couple weeks, she was a complete psycho. She went after my husband, and our other cat. She became very aggressive and angry. We took her to the vet and she had to go on antidepressants. And our oldest dog just peed on the couch any chance he got, to be a little jerk.

    But! Now all is fine. We live in a much bigger house, so I'm hoping we won't have any problems with baby #2
  • We had 3 dogs and a cat when DS was born. We did absolutely nothing to prepare before he came home. However, once he was home we made sure to keep the dogs at a distance and when they got close we sort of held them to make sure they didn't react in a negative way. They never did, all was fine.

    As for the cat, I had a fear of him trying to sleep in bed with DS so we just made sure the door to wherever he was sleeping was always shut.

    As for watching kids in your home, I don't think the pets are a deal breaker for everyone. For some, yes. I have to lock up my dog when a friend comes over because they absolutely don't allow their son around any dog. So it will depend on the people. I would consider have them separated from the kids during the day to help increase your chances of finding kids to watch.
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  • Laceyrm06Laceyrm06
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    edited February 2014
    @Daisy1232 In regards to keeping the cats out of the crib, I would look into getting some boundary spray that is specific to cats. Maybe spray it around the floor outside of the crib. PetSmart has a couple of different options - you may have to find a brand that works for your cats.

    Lambert Kay brand

    Nature's Miracle brand

    I haven't used these personally (I don't have cats), but I have used various Nature's Miracle dog products and they work very well. Hope that helps!

    When it comes to dogs, they are creatures of habit. Slowly work in any routine/schedule changes before baby arrives. Set up furniture ahead of time so that it won't be an interesting novelty.

    @lindsayhilleary For an anxious dog, maybe look into non-medical anxiety relief (as well as playing baby sounds like you mentioned). There are Thundershirts which work wonderfully. Also, there are "calming collars" (they use pheromones) which are lavendar scented and can help dogs with mild anxiety.

    Let me know if you have any other questions/concerns. I'll do my best to help - I'm a former dog trainer, so I'll be more help with dog issues than cats.
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