The shocking and tragic story of a new born baby dying after being attacked by the family pet and sustaining a head injury is a rare one. However, it does highlight the importance of keeping a baby safe with pets in the house.
There are legitimate fears that some pets will look upon a new baby as prey or as an intruder.
Even dogs and other house pets that are usually well behaved and gentle could behave unpredictably due to the presence of a new little person who seems to get all the attention and love from their owners. Here is what you can do to ensure your little one’s safety with a house pet:
Make sure your pet is well trained
An obedient, well-behaved and adequately trained dog is a huge plus in a home where you’re expecting a little baby. Consider sending your dog to obedience school or try training the dog at home.
The dog should follow and obey simple commands such as ‘Down’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘leave it’, ‘no’ and so on.
Change your pet’s routine as little as possible
Don’t give the pet any reason to become resentful of the new baby. Make sure that your pet is fed on time, walked on time and gets to do all the things that he or she enjoys. Give your pet as much attention and affection as you would otherwise.
If you feel that things are going to change considerably after the arrival or the baby, prepare your pet for it in advance, before the baby arrives. This way the pet doesn’t associate the change with the baby.
Be very careful when you introduce the two
Get down to the dog’s level and introduce the baby to the dog. Let the dog sniff but not lick. Make sure the dog is on a leash or that you have a muzzle handy just in case the dog has some unexpected reaction. Cats may be trickier and you may have to be even more careful.
Don’t force the pet to play with the baby
If the pet doesn’t want to interact with the baby don’t force it to do so. If the pet chooses to ignore baby, let it.
Do not leave your baby alone with your pet
This is perhaps the most important thing, in light of the recent tragedy which occurred when the dog and baby were left alone unsupervised. An adult should always be present in the room when the pet and baby are there together.