So you’re having a baby. Congratulations!
Now it’s time to prepare for, well, your family’s world to be turned upside down -- that includes your dog’s world too. For many couples, a dog is their first “baby,” but now, in a mere matter of months, a squirmy, noisy, and smelly new tiny human will be coming into your pet's home.
Soon your fur baby will no longer be the center of your world and will have to share your adoration with a demanding newborn. Meals will be interrupted by loud noises, sleep will be disrupted nightly, and playtime might be cut short now and then.
These changes can be disorienting, stressful, and -- in the words of our furry friends -- RUFF for your pet. Luckily there are some things you can do to make the transition a smooth one.
Change Up Your Routine BEFORE Baby Arrives
Obviously, when the baby arrives, your daily routine will get a little hectic. To ease your fur baby into their new life as big brother or sister, change your routine so it’s more random.
Delay walks, move mealtimes around, put your pup in their kennel or another room randomly throughout the day. You’ll also need to prepare your once attention-showered and spoiled pup for less affection to minimize the shock once the baby arrives. Establish special spots on the bed, floor, or other furniture they can go when your once open lap is all of a sudden filled with someone else.
Getting your dog used to the chaos well in advance will lessen the chance that they will associate any negative changes with the baby's arrival.
Get Your Dog Used to the Gear
Babies come with a lot of stuff, all of which can overwhelm your pup. From the bassinet to bouncers, playmats, swings, high chairs, and strollers – there are so many new things coming into your pet’s space. So when you’re getting the baby’s room together, let your dog investigate the new furniture and wander around the space with you.
Practice walking your dog with the baby’s stroller. You might get some strange looks from the neighbors, but you’ll be happy you did when you're not having to worry about wrangling a squirrel-chaser and a newborn. (Bonus points if you put the dog IN the stroller, but she might not be very happy with you.)
Many baby toys come with movement, flashing lights, and music – all things that might be frightening or exciting to your dog. Before bringing your baby home, get the toys out. Let your dog sniff them and get comfortable, then turn on the sounds and movement. Do it slowly and watch how they react. It’s natural for your dog to think the new toys belong to them; after all, he’s been an only child, and all-new toys have been all his until now. If your pup tries to chew or take the baby’s toy, say no and trade him for a different toy of his own. You don’t want your dog to feel jealous or left out.
Desensitize Sounds, Smells, & Sights
Newborns are noisy! Get your dog used to the array of new sounds that will soon fill his house by playing recordings of babies crying, screaming, and laughing.
Start at a low volume while giving your dog lots of small, yummy treats. Then, you can gradually increase the volume according to your dog’s comfort level.
Next, familiarize your dog with the smell of baby lotion, baby powder, and other products you plan to use. You can also encourage your friends who have babies to come over and let your dog sniff their blankets and see you holding a baby.
Ace the Intro
While you’re still in the hospital, slowly introduce your dog to his new tiny human’s smell. Send home a blanket or onesie that not only carries the baby’s scent but yours too. Then when you get home, let your dog greet you first before meeting the new little one.
To avoid jealously right off the bat, have someone else hold the baby (like Grandma or an aunt or uncle), and you cuddle your pup during their first introduction. This shows your pup that you can love her AND the new baby at the same time, and will help to stave off jealousy!
Don’t Forget about Fido!
If you’re reading this, you’re probably pretty crazy about your dog and don’t need to be reminded to spend more time with them. That being said, babies take up a lot of time and energy. Even the best pet mamas and papas can find it hard to share their love, but a quick check-in and snuggle with your pup can go a long way. Plus, a half day of daycare or a nice long walk away from the (loud, smelly) baby can do a lot to get your dog's energy out and get her ready for a good long snooze at home.
We hope these tips and tricks help you get ready for your new bundle of joy to meet your current one! At Frenchie Bulldog, we love seeing your family and fur family grow together. So share your puppy and baby pictures on social media, and don’t forget to tag us @frenchie_bulldog on Instagram.