Move Over Rover
If you're used to getting unlimited cuddles and attention from your mommy,
it can be quite a shock to have to share the love with a new baby — especially
if you have four legs and a tail. "Dogs have a very well-developed jealousy
bone," says Betsy Saul, founder of the animal-adoption database
petfinder.com. But if you prepare in advance, Saul says, your pooch not only
will accept the changes a new baby brings to your family, but she can even
learn to love the baby like her own little pup.
Prepare your pooch.
If there will be a new set of house rules — no sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's
bed, no eating off the table — when the baby comes home, introduce them around
your second trimester, Saul suggests. That way, Fido won't associate the
rejection of getting kicked out of your bed with the baby's arrival.
Take the stroller for a walk.
You might feel a little silly walking your dog down the street while you
push an empty stroller, but a few practice runs will help your pup adjust to
the strange new vehicle rolling beside him. Also, set up any noisy gear, like
swings or bouncers, ahead of time so he gets used to the music and motion.
Let his nose know what's going on.
Since dogs are so sensitive to smells, Saul suggests opening up some jars of
baby lotion and powder and letting him sniff them a month or two before the
baby gets there. Then, before you return from the hospital, have a friend bring
home a hat or blanket your newborn has worn to introduce your dog to that sweet
Schedule some extra cuddling.
Find time each day — when the baby is napping or your partner is bathing him
— to snuggle with your pet like you used to. As long as he knows he is still
part of the family, he should welcome his new sibling. "After all, dogs are
pack animals," says Saul. "They understand the idea of building up the
Originally published on November 2, 2008
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