One of the major concerns pet-owners and soon-to-be-parents have is the co-habitation situation between their furry friend and their bundle of joy. No, you should never get rid of your pet. First of all, that would be cruel, and second of all, it’s completely unnecessary. By taking certain precautions your pet and your baby can lead peaceful and actually beneficial lives together.
According to studies, kids who grow up with pets have a higher level of self-esteem, highly developed sense of empathy, great social skills, not to mention that they develop a sense of responsibility and the importance of physical activity from an early age.
Still, when you have a newborn, there are certain safety measures to take to ensure the safety of your baby, so let’s see how you can baby-proof your pet!
While your baby is still tiny and fragile, it’s paramount to keep the baby room a pet-free zone. Pets can be curious, and they will want to see what this tiny new person is, and that can result in them unintentionally hurting the baby.
In addition to that, if you’re a dog owner you can expect a certain amount of jealousy, which is all the more reason to keep the two apart during the first month at least.
As for cats, they are generally jealousy-free, but they can be nosy, so just to err on the side of safety, keep the kitty away as well.
This restriction is also highly important because of hair. We love our pets, but they do come with a massive amount of hair, and if any of it gets near your baby, they could swallow it, and beyond that, it’s just not sanitary.
A wise investment
Once you have a child you have to be highly aware of potential allergens. That’s exactly why eggs, peanuts, strawberries and numerous other foods are implemented in a child’s diet gradually and in small amounts. You’re basically testing the waters to see whether they will be allergic to certain kinds of foods.
The same applies to pets – you can’t know for sure whether your baby will be allergic to your pet, and that’s precisely why investing in commercial air purifier is important if not absolutely necessary. The best ones have the ability to prevent pet dander from triggering allergies, not to mention they provide you with more quality air, and that’s always a bonus.
After a week or so, allow your dog to sniff the baby. This is the first step. Do it in a controlled environment: keep the dog on a leash and pet him and provide treats as he sniffs. Once the dog gets accustomed to the baby’s smell, you can allow it to be near the baby without the leash.
To avoid an unexpected reaction if the baby kicks, or screams (things a dog can interpret as an invitation to play), keep the baby elevated just in case.
Once the baby starts crawling, make sure it doesn’t tug or pull the pet (cat or dog), because even the most tolerant of pets have their limits and will ‘fight’ back if they feel abused.
The most important thing to bear in mind in these early stages is to never leave the two alone – even the most trustworthy of pets can be unpredictable.
A pet in the house = healthy baby
Once the two are comfortable with each other, the benefits of their cohabitation are enormous. According to a study published in the Independent “dogs can help strengthen immune systems of children against allergies and asthma if they are exposed to them, as well as barnyard animals, within the first three months of life.”
So, aside from all the psychological benefits mention before, there is scientific proof of health benefits of child and pet cohabitation.
As long as you take precautions during the first few weeks, you’ll reap a lifetime of health and psychological benefits for your child, so hold on to your pets and don’t forget to show them love even after the baby arrives.