Before most of us have kids of our own, we tend to have a pet or two. For starters, having a family pet is a great introduction to parenthood. Pets may be more independent than babies or kids, but they still need to be housebroken, trained, fed, walked, and everything in between... not to mention the price. Pets may be cheaper than kids in the long run, but unexpected accidents can cause a higher vet bill than any pet-parent is really expecting.
Nevertheless, when it is time to have a child of your own (or even bringing a pet into your home when your child is a little older) the bond between child and pet is a magical one. To keep the peace between both pets and children, we have 10 tips to make home life a little easier for everyone.
10 Introduce Baby's Scent To Your Pet First
If a mom just had a baby, the easiest thing for her and her partner to do is to introduce the baby's scent to the pet. Now, this obviously makes more sense to do if you have a dog, cat, rabbit, or some kind of pet who roams the house with you.
Since mom will be in the hospital for a few days resting, her partner can grab a blanket that was wrapped around the baby and introduce the blanket to their animal. This way, the pet can get a little more familiar with this new smell that's coming into their home. When mom walks in with her newborn, the pet will connect the two.
9 A Routine
If you're a person who loves a strict routine, this might be the way to go. If you're coming home with a new baby or a child through adoption, train your dog through a routine. If you typically take your dog on walks, try doing so with a stroller next time so they can get used to what's going on.
You may think your dog's not going to care about a stroller when walking, but they may get scared or even consumed by what the contraption actually is. After your walk with "baby" and dog, carry a baby doll around the house and pretend like you're doting on it so your dog (or even cat) can get used to you having your hands full.
8 Compare Kids And Babies To Pets
If you have a toddler or a child who's a little older, they may be all-consumed by their new pet. This can evolve into your child getting too rough with your pet or not understanding their basic cues. It's now your job as a parent to teach them how to act.
Through repetition, parents can connect a pet's reaction through human emotions. You can say, "A tail wag means they're happy" or "Growling means they're angry." Let them know what's acceptable and also why it's acceptable.
7 It's Time To Get Annoying
Life is always more fun with kids around the house. Pets, however, may not be used to the constant noise, running around, or need to grab them all the time. In order to help them get a little more prepared at what's to come, you can tickle their feet, tug their tail from time to time (in a nice, gentle way, of course!), and follow them around all the time. In NO means does this mean hurt your animal.
They should always be treated with respect and care, but kids can be a little rough before they learn their own strength and pets find that out the hard way, unfortunately.
6 Allow Your Pet To Explore Their New Home First
When a family is bringing home a new pet who isn't caged (like a hamster), it's so important that they get to roam and examine their new surroundings before being poked and followed around by kids all day. Although that may be their fate, it's too much interaction for one day.
When you do bring home your pet, let them sniff and roam each room of the house before introducing a bundle of family members on them. Let them get acclimated in the house first.
5 Screaming And Crying Is All Apart Of Childhood
Life with kids is loud, messy, and at times, unorganized. Mom and dad may be somewhat prepared for this kind of lifestyle but a pet typically has no idea what's about to go down. To prep them for this new change with a baby, you can play baby cries, coos, and screams off a YouTube channel to get your pet familiar with the sound.
Do it randomly throughout the day and night so they can be accustomed by the disruption before it actually happens. If they hiss or bark a few times out of sheer confusion, let them ride it out until they realize they're safe and that sound is just their new sibling.
4 Obedience Is Key
Everyone always says you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but it's never too late to try. From doggy classes to obedient schools, there are a ton of options parents can take advantage of when it comes to the training of their animals.
While cats are a little more independent than dogs, you can teach them to stay off the counters and to use their little box. With dogs, you'll have to train them to go outside when they need to go to the bathroom, not bark at random disruptions, and to sit when they need to sit.
Not sure if your family is ready for a pet? Well, it's time to pet-sit for a friend or family member to see if having a pet is right for you. If your neighbor has a dog, ask them if you can take care of it for the day to see how life is with a pet.
The same can be done with a cat, rabbit, bird, or rat. Take a look at how your child interacts with them and treats them. Doing so can decide whether your family is ready or not.
2 Keep Your Pet Clean To Reduce Allergens
It can be a terrifying thought that your new child may be allergic to your pet. Your pet was your child first, you can't just give them up, can you!? Well, unfortunately, this is something that families have had to deal with.
If medication isn't the answer, then the only thing they can do is get rid of their pet. However, according to The Asian Parent, it's the allergens inside the pet dander, hair, and fur that cause the allergies — not the pet hair itself. To reduce any chance of a flare-up, try to keep your pet tidy and clean.
1 Avoiding Jealousy
Whether you had your kids before your pet or your pet before your kids, as a parent you need to be as equal as you can be. It can be hard to pet a dog, cat, or bird when carrying around a baby, but if you have some extra time before bed or before your kids get up, use this time as one-on-one time with your pet.
Make it a sweet routine where you're uninterrupted.