Don’t Worry About How to Introduce Pets to a New Baby; They Will Be Best friends

What are the rules to respect in order to have a baby and a pet live together harmoniously, whether it is a dog, a cat or some other friend? Is it beneficial for the child? Every child would love to have a pet as a playmate. Although dogs and cats are their favorites, other animals that appeal to children include pet rabbits, canaries and colorful fish. Experts say that children gain calmness and confidence when they are around animals. How to introduce pets to a new baby? You’re wondering if the upcoming arrival of your baby will cause problems with your little friends. If you insist on applying some precautions, that will also not be a problem. Until the age of three, a child is unable to tell the difference between a small dog and stuffed animals. To them, the animal is a curious object that they can manipulate at will. Therefore, no friendship is created. The child limits themselves to a “socialization experience.” It is by seeing it every day, and with time, that the child will learn to know and love the pet. Around the age of four, a real relationship begins to develop thus. The puppy becomes an irreplaceable companion, the child begins to treat it as a playmate and a true relationship is born: the animal becomes their best friend and confidant. Here we will discuss some major questions regarding this topic in detail in order to help you to see them more clearly. In this phase of their relationship, the connection they have will also affect your child’s mind development. Until that time you can also try having mind developing toys for 3 year olds.

5 Questions Regarding How to Introduce Pets to a New Baby

  1. Are there any risks of exposure, or even dangers, in relation to hygiene, in particular while introducing newborn to dog?

Yes and no.

Yes, because there is a significant risk of contamination between pets and newborns, which can cause many diseases. First of all, Lyme disease is caused by ticks that dogs can carry. Other parasitic diseases can also be transmitted via droppings (from dogs, cats, hamsters…). Therefore, in terms of pets and infants, make sure that the baby or the child is not in contact with the animal’s excrements, nor with its bowl. And, of course, the animal must be very clean, regularly examined and treated against fleas, ticks and other parasites that it may carry. This is the basis! So, be careful in case of cuddling sessions.

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No, because if you follow the rules above, the risk of catching a disease is extremely low. In any case, for pets and infants, it is best not to let the animal lick the child. If you take the trouble to sterilize their bottles, it is not to let your dog smear their face!

Finally, if your child is sick (cold, conjunctivitis, gastro, etc.), avoid contact with the animal to limit any risk of contagion.

  1. Can the animal trigger allergies in my baby?

Yes, if there is an underlying atopic condition. Then how to introduce pets to a new baby? In this case, it is best to avoid touching interaction between the infant and the pet. But, on the contrary, in children who do not have a particular allergic risk, recent studies (2) have shown that the presence of an animal tends to reduce the risk of allergies (3) of all kinds, such as rhinitis, asthma, eczema and certain digestive disorders. In fact, it has been proven that living with pets strengthens the immune system of allergic children. When in doubt, it is recommended to consult your doctor.

  1. Can pets and infants sleep together?

As a general rule, never leave a baby or toddler alone with an animal, especially a dog or cat, because of the risk of biting or scratching, even if it is unintentional. The pets and infants also should not sleep in the crib together because of the risk of suffocation. It is therefore important to avoid, at all costs, that they have access to the baby’s room when the baby is sleeping.

  1. How can I ensure that my dog or cat lives harmoniously with my baby?

Even if you live together, getting along is a different story and it’s better to get along well! That’s why it’s a good idea, when a baby (or a pet) arrives, to “introduce” them to each other, and to create opportunities for contact and play between them. How to introduce your dogs to a newborn within limitations? Of course, you also have to take into account the personality of the animal (and the child!): if the relationship is tense, it is better to limit interactions and give each one time to get used to the other. It is also important that each one has their own space where they can retreat to find quiet and peace: the baby’s room, the dog or cat’s basket. Finally, in introducing your dog to your newborn, teach your child as soon as possible to behave well with the animal, especially dogs: teach him not to be brusque, to avoid unexpected reactions. These are all rules of mutual respect that should ensure harmonious relationships.

  1. Are there any animals to avoid when you have a baby?
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Generally speaking, NACs (new pets) such as ferrets, snakes, small rodents, amphibians, etc., are not suitable for very young children because they must be handled with care. This does not prevent you from owning them, but they should be kept in a cage or away from the baby.

A Protocol Between Pets and Newborns to Ensure Respect

At first, the balances of your furry companions can be disturbed. They may consider your baby as an intruder. That is normal, they were there before the baby!

  • How to introduce pets to a new baby? They must accept the newcomer. Give them time to get used to the baby by letting them approach and sniff, while always remaining vigilant and present.
  • The watchword: increased vigilance! You should never leave a baby alone in the presence of an animal, no matter how peaceful and adorable they are! And this applies even when your baby is growing up. They could pull on the tail, ears, hair and risk triggering an angry reaction in your pet.

Hygiene Measures

  • Your pets carry certain germs in their saliva, urine, fecal matter and hair that are not good for your little one. Drastic cleaning measures are necessary.
  • Before picking up your baby, and especially if you have touched your favorite pet, always wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Even though the risk of allergies is low in the first few months, repeated contact with hair follicles can cause hives, conjunctivitis, rhinitis and very rarely asthma attacks. To limit contact with hair: ventilate well and vacuum your home daily.
  • Don’t forget to give your pets anti-worm medicine under the control of your veterinarian and have them vaccinated regularly.
  • Wear gloves when changing the litter box.

How to React If Your Pet Bites Your Baby?

  • The claws and saliva of animals contain many germs. In the case of a bite, you should always clean the lesion with clear water and soap, at least 3 times; disinfect and monitor, in case of superficial wounds, to limit the risks of superinfection.
  • If the wound is especially ugly and worrying, clean it and go to the emergency room.
  • For the best hygiene protection, it’s important to watch your baby during their oral phase. Since the babies are teething intensely, they want to taste everything around them, including our pet friends. 🙂 Here’s the answer if you wonder how long teething lasts and what the symptoms are…
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Special Recommendations for Nacs

NAC, the new pets (ferrets, rodents, parrots, iguanas, reptiles…) are very popular. Unfortunately, many of them are introduced to the country illegally and do not undergo the required veterinary surveillance. They are often carriers of certain germs which they can transmit by contact or bite and which are likely to cause bacterial infections such as salmonellosis. It can be responsible for more or less severe pathologies, from gastroenteritis (dangerous for the newborn) to septicemia (generalized blood infection). Salmonellosis transmitted by bite is responsible for a few deaths each year. If you have a NAC, keep it out of your baby’s reach and, above all, ask a veterinarian who will be able to inform you about the constraints and risks inherent to these animals.

Children And Animals: The Benefits of a Friendship with an Animal

  • The child feels at ease with the animal and can confide everything to it. For instance, the new coming of a little brother or sister is one of the most problematic moments for children. The child is jealous but is unable to show their emotional state to the parents. With introducing newborn to dog, a four-legged friend, however, everything seems easier. The child can explain that they are afraid of being abandoned because they know that the pet will not let them down and will always be there.
  • Pets help satisfy the child’s desire for independence and are great supporters of toddlers. Alternatively, the infant learns to offer help and protection to the pet. They will need to learn not to disturb the pet when it is eating or sleeping, to clean the litter box or cage, or its food bowl, and to treat it gently. This will help them grow a notion of responsibility.
  • On the other hand, physical contact, petting and cuddling will help develop the sense of touch which promotes self-confidence in relationships with others. The presence of the animal in the special friendship between pets and newborns also contributes to emotional stability. For example, possible feelings of jealousy towards a younger sibling will be much easier to overcome in the future.
  • Finally, bonding with an animal that barks and growls, but does not speak, is a way to learn the rules of non-verbal communication and develop the ability to intuit.