There are tons of articles out there about how to introduce your dog to your newborn baby. So many of them are filled with negativity about how your relationship will change with your dog. Reading that garbage pissed me off so much while I was pregnant with Catalina.
Chuy was my “furst” baby and I treat him like a child. It made me incredibly sad to see this so called “expert” advice telling me that as a new mom I’d probably forget all about my dog or at least forget to feed him.
I’m no pet expert. I’m not a vet. I’m not a trainer. I’m not a perfect pet parent. I’m just a girl that loves her Chihuahua like a child. I’m also a new mom of 5 month old little girl. Yes she has changed our lives forever but in the most awesome way possible. Life is not over just because you have a baby. Your relationship with your pets is not over just because you have a baby. It’s a new dynamic and you’ll have to spend some time making sure you prepare everyone for the changes. BUT, I’m here to tell you that my relationship with Chuy is just as strong as it was pre-baby, we still go on adventures, and I’ve never once forgotten about him or missed one of his meals.
How To Introduce Your Dog & Newborn Baby
Creating this dynamic starts with how you introduce your dog and newborn for the first time. If you want some of my real life tips about how to introduce your dog and newborn baby, keep reading.
Prepare While You’re Pregnant
While I was pregnant I wrote this post: How To Prep Your Chihuahua For a New Baby While You’re Still Pregnant. I highly recommend you go back and read this. Yes, it applies no matter what kind of dog you have! I cannot stress how important it is to prepare your dog ahead of time before the baby comes home. This made such a difference with Chuy. He was already used to all her weird gadgets like the stroller and the car seat before she came home.
Bring a Baby Blanket Home
While I was in the hospital, my husband took one of Catalina’s baby blankets home to Chuy. He let him smell it and put it on top of his bed to lay on.
While you’re still in the hospital, have your husband or a family member take one of your baby’s blankets home to your dog. Dogs experience the world with their noses. Getting them used to the smell of your new baby will take some of the anxiety away when they meet for the first time.
Bonus Tip – Make Arrangements for Your Pets in Advance!
Make arrangements for your pets before you go into labor! I had Catalina two weeks early and two weeks before she was born our home was flooded by Hurricane Matthew. It was a chaotic time. Our house was not in shape for anyone to come over and watch Chuy. Our bedroom was the only “liveable” space in our entire home. We put Chuy in a huge huge crate that fits his bed, a pee pad, and his bowls. Then we put the baby monitor on him so we could watch from the hospital. My husband would run home a few times a day to spend time with Chuy and let him stretch his legs. It wasn’t an ideal situation but it’s what we had to do and we made it work.
Coming Home – Business as Usual
When you come home with your newborn for the first time, it’s exciting and scary. We made sure to not make a big deal about our arrival back home. I hadn’t seen Chuy in two days so of course I wanted to scream and baby talk the minute I saw him. We came upstairs and let Chuy out of his crate like we would on any other day without making it a big deal.
First Meeting of Dog & Baby – Don’t Force It
Chuy was our first baby but he’s still a dog and dogs are animals which means they can be unpredictable. Do NOT force any interactions between your dog and newborn. That can be extremely dangerous.
We put Catalina’s car seat on top of our bed and invited Chuy to come up the ramp onto the bed. It was the most underwhelming interaction I’ve ever seen. He literally went up to her, smelled her, and walked away. The entire interaction was less than ten seconds.
That’s how he was for a few weeks. He couldn’t care less about the baby.
Be Patient . . . This Too Shall Pass!
We never forced Chuy to check her out. We continued over the weeks to let him be curious when he was ready. For the first few weeks he wouldn’t get near me when I was feeding or holding her. That broke my heart a little because Chuy is always by my side. That passed eventually. Now, he sits right in my lap while I’m holding her. They even take naps right next to each other and my heart melts all over the floor!
Catalina is now five months old and Chuy is still overly cautious of her. He won’t mess with her toys or any of her things. It’s like he knows that she is fragile and delicate. I’m so proud of Chuy. He is an awesome big brother!
Join the Conversation
What questions do you have? Do you have any tips to share that might help someone else? Share down in the comments below.
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