Pets and children go hand-in-hand. There's no camera roll that doesn't have numerous pictures or videos of children and their pets interacting and enjoying each other's company!
Its so natural, the relationship between them, especially young children and young pets. They almost communicate on a different level to us adults.
Having a pet in a child's life is a wonderful thing; they learn to respect animals, how a routine works with feeding, toileting and cleaning and, most of all, they get them active and outdoors more, which today is a bonus. But for the same reasons, children are just as important to our pets; they help our pets adjust to being gentle and relaxed when around our smaller human equivalents and, above all, they help stimulate our pets with exercise and tonnes of play. It's common to see a dog or cat just mindlessly following a child around for no reason other than they are interesting to them.
This relationship, however, does not happen instantly. When introducing a pet to your new baby, there are a few little tips that will come in handy!
Having a new baby is an exciting and engaging time for the parents and sometimes during all the commotion, we do forget about our pets and how it affects them.
It's important that before the arrival of your new addition, you start to prepare your pets, if possible, by preparing the nursery a few weeks out and adding other things like bouncers, blankets and toys around the house to let them get comfortable with the new changes.
When the baby comes home, the first meet should always be controlled; let your pets use their sense of smell to start to familiarise themselves with the new baby. Always make sure you supervise any interactions just to be safe.
It is important to keep the routine of the pets as close to normal as possible, feeding times particularly, also ensuring you can squeeze in that little brush or cuddle time with the cat and the walk with the dog or even just throwing a ball a few times. They need to know that the baby arriving is part of normal life.
You may also consider earlier familiarising your dog to a day care environment as they can be great for helping exercise and stimulate them if time does get away from you. As children age, it's important to teach them to be gentle and respect their pets and that they are not a new vacuum cleaner! Then it's just time to get more SD cards for the camera, because the cute moments come thick and fast!