Don't forget your pet!

By Animal Welfare Victoria

Have you thought about how the arrival of your new baby is going to affect your pet? Their routine, lifestyle and environment will change.

If you have a pet, or plan to have your child looked after by carers who have pets, it’s essential to plan well in advance.

Our pets are creatures of habit and they thrive on routine. It’s important to make changes to their routine as early as possible in your pregnancy. That way, your pet won’t associate anything negative with the sudden changes that will occur once your new baby arrives.

1. Set up the nursery early so your pets have plenty of time to become familiar with it. Let them have a good look around so they can sniff and explore the furniture.

2. There might be areas you want to establish as a pet free zone. Consider a physical barrier to ensure that they are secure. Gates suitable for dogs are available at most baby equipment outlets and larger retail stores. Many pet cats can jump over these gates so you may want to consider adapting a fly screen door for indoor use.

3. If your pet usually sleeps in your room, but you plan to move them out of the bedroom in time for the baby, make the new area as inviting and exciting as possible. Move them into their new sleep area as early as you can so your pet doesn’t resent the newborn.

4. Before your baby arrives is also a great time to get your pet used to the new smells and noises they may experience. Apply baby creams and lotions to yourself and allow your pet to smell them. Give your pet lots of affirmations so they associate the smells with positive experiences.

5. You can also familiarise your pet with the sound of a baby crying. Search for sounds of a baby crying on YouTube and play it softly while positively affirming your pet. As your pet becomes more comfortable, slowly raise the volume. It may take a couple of weeks for your pet to be comfortable with baby sounds, but be patient and remember to reaffirm your pet through the process.

The We Are Family team are available to answer questions about these and provide many more tips for preparing your pet for your baby’s arrival. 

 For more information, visit our website: 

www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/community-and-education/responsible-pet-ownership-for-children/we-are-family-for-expectant-parents

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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