Helping your pet adjust to the arrival of a new baby is much like preparing a young child for a new sibling. An infant brings many changes to a household, however, you can help your pet adjust to the big changes with minimal time and effort by making gradual adjustments to your lifestyle before the baby arrives. The best time for you to prepare your pet and make many of these changes is during your pregnancy. Cats and dogs are sensitive to routines, and by making changes now, you minimize the chances of your pet resenting the baby when she arrives.
Sounds & Smells Most pet experts, animal behaviorists and veterinarians agree: it's extremely beneficial to expose your pet to baby sounds and scents before mom and baby come home from the hospital. For example, play recordings of a baby crying, turn on the mechanical infant swing, and use the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your pet by offering a treat or playtime. Sprinkle baby powder or baby oil on your skin so your pet becomes familiar with the new smells. Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Supervise all pet and infant interactions. Bonus tip . . . Get a sealed container for soiled diapers. Cats and dogs are very attracted to odors. They just love dirty diapers and will drag them around the house.
Environment If you'll be redecorating or rearranging your home, do it long before the baby arrives. With your supervision, let your pet explore any off-limits areas, then exclude him from these areas before the baby arrives. If the baby's room will be off-limits to your pet, install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate (available at pet or baby supply stores) or, for jumpers, even a screen door. Because these barriers still allow your pet to see and hear what's happening in the room, he'll feel less isolated from the family and more comfortable with the new baby noises.
Routine Consider whether your pet's walking, exercise, or feeding schedules will change, and adjust them now. Assume you will have less time for your pet after your baby is born, and decrease the number of hours you spend with your dog or cat in the weeks before you're due. Include in your adjusted schedule at least once a day, quality time for just you and your pet, with no competition for your attention. This "non-baby" time is very important for your pet and for you!
Social Order Your position in the family's social order as the top-ranking animal in your family will be especially important as your baby's arrival approaches. When your position as leader of the family is secure and it's clear that the baby belongs to you, your pet should not challenge the baby's important rank in your home. A dog socializes in linear packs, which means it considers some family members as dominant to its own position and others as submissive. Initially, a dog probably sees the new baby in a lower pack order and may display dominant behavior. Watch for signs of aggression such as growling, ears down or laid back over the head, and crouching. Cats are less social than dogs and may choose to ignore the baby altogether. They do not socialize in packs, so they have little need to show aggression. For them, the most annoying part of living with children is being bothered, although some cats form very close bonds with their owners and may feel rejection. Both cats and dogs who form deep bonds with their owners may become depressed and may stop eating. If you observe aggressive behaviors in your pets, quickly correct them, but do not punish. Serious or lingering behavior problems should always be discussed with your veterinarian.
Behavior Address any pet training and behavior problems. If cats have always had access to any surface in your home (counters, tables and so forth) you need to decide which places will be off-limits after the baby's arrival. Cats, especially, like curling up in the crib or bassinet. If your pet's behavior includes gentle nibbling, pouncing, or swatting at you and others, redirect that behavior to appropriate objects. Evaluate your dog's obedience training. If he doesn't respond to commands such as "Sit," "Stay," "Heel," and "No," can't walk obediently on a leash, has a jumping problem, or exhibits any aggressive behavior, seek professional help.
Health Get your pet used to nail trims. Spay or neuter your pet. Not only do sterilized pets typically have fewer health problems associated with their reproductive systems, but they are also calmer and less likely to bite. Take your pet to the veterinarian for a routine health exam and necessary vaccinations.
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I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.
Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.
If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!
LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.
My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.
I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.
Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.
★★★★★ 5 of 5
Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...
★★★★★ 5 of 5
I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.
The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.