Ask A Vet: How Do You Introduce Your Dog to Your Newborn?
Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on 7x7.com. They've enlisted their Co-President, Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, to answer your questions every week. Got a question for Dr. Scarlett? Ask away in the comments!
Q: What is the best way to introduce our newborn to our miniature pincher and poodle at home?
A: While Mom and baby are in the hospital, bring home some newborn items (such as blanket, or clothing) to introduce to the dog to the baby’s scent. This will lessen the “newness” when the introduction is made.
Make all introductions to your newborn short and positive. After the initial greeting, you can bring your pet with you to sit next to the baby; reward your pet with treats for appropriate behavior. Rewards are very important during this time. You want to build a positive association with the newborn and all the new, exciting changes in your family. Remember, you want your pet to associate the baby with a positive experience. To prevent anxiety or injury, never force your pet to get near the baby, and always supervise any interaction.
Although it will be hard, try to keep your dog’s routine the same as it was before the baby arrived. Try to keep his exercise times and meal times consistent and continue to make belly rub time, as you have always done. If your dog seems anxious, you might want to add one more exercise session to his daily routine. If you can, consider enlisting the help of a friend/family member to help keep your dog stimulated – or hire a dog walker.
While we can’t answer all of the questions here, please feel free to ask us during our Friday Twitter Ask the Vet Chat. If your animal’s problem is of an immediate nature, please call your vet or you can reach the SF SPCA at 415-554-3030 to make an appointment.