As you prepare for the birth of your new arrival there is so much to think about. Decorating the nursery, packing your overnight bag for hospital, not to mention how you are actually going to look after your little one! But something, or rather someone, we all tend to forget about is our furrier friends. Whether it is knowing who is going to look after them when you have to rush off to the hospital or how you are going to ensure your baby is safe around your pet, there is a lot to think about. However, by following our simple advice you can ease your pet's stress, help welcome your new baby, and ensure that both you and your pet are fully prepared for your baby.
Many pet owners are often left worried after hearing horror stories about pets and babies. However, if you are fully prepared there is no reason why you can’t safely enjoy both your baby and pet.
When introducing a dog, the most important thing is to ensure that they are obedient. The commands to "sit/stay" and "down/stay" are essential to control your dog and give direction for desirable behaviour. A curious and affectionate pet can unintentionally harm a baby. A child may be accidentally scratched or even dropped when a friendly dog jumps up on you to investigate. Also watch out for your pet urinating or defecating your baby’s blanket, cot or clothes as they maybe territorial. But if they do this do not tell your pet off for the behaviour, as this will only increase its stress during adjustment to new circumstances.
Unlike dogs, it is unlikely that you will be able to train a cat on how to behave around your baby. However, cats are unlikely to be aggressive towards your baby unless they are prompted. But in rare cases cats have be known to unintentionally smother babies by sleeping on them. Because of this it is important not to leave your cat in a room with your baby unsupervised. Cats are also more sensitive to noises so you should ensure your cat has a quiet space where they can escape from the sound of the baby.
When mixing reptiles and children it is important to remember that reptiles are “exotic pets” that require education and understanding of their specialised needs and habits. The most important thing to be conscious of with pet reptiles is the risk of salmonella. The Salmonella bacteria is carried by almost all reptiles (even if they do not display any symptoms themselves) and is easily transmitted through contact. Infection can be severe, even life-threatening, especially in those with weaker immune systems such as very young children and the elderly. Therefore good hygiene is essential, washing hands thoroughly with soap after handling any reptile and keeping very young children, even under constant supervision.
Rodents are relatively low risk pets however good hygiene is still very important making sure you keep your rodent’s enclosure clean and hands are washed thoroughly after handling. Small children should also be supervised when handing their pet rodent as they may be at risk of being bitten. If your child suffers from asthma ensure you don’t use the conventional wood chip bedding for your pet rodent as this may aggravate it.
Like rodents, birds are relatively low risk pets but again good hygiene is crucial, keeping their cage clean to avoid any risk of germs. Little ones should again been supervised when handling pet birds or when birds are not in their cage
After you’ve had your baby its only natural for your pet to feel a bit jealous as this is probably the first time they have had to share your affection. To keep jealousy to a minimum reserve positive interaction between you and your pet to times when the baby is present, minimizing attention at all other times. By doing this your pet will have positive associations with the baby. You can also ensure that your pet thinks of your baby in a good way by presenting a blanket with the baby's scent to your pet. Let the pet explore this new odour under positive circumstances. Then if your pet has a special place to sleep, place the baby's blanket there.
This might sound a bit unusual and you might feel a bit funny doing it but another great way to prepare your pet for your new arrival is to carry a doll as an imaginary baby and to pretend to do activities associated with baby care. This will help your pet get used to the changes that will be part of your lives, thus your pet will be less curious and disturbed when you do these activities for real when your baby arrives. You can also get your pet ready for the sounds of a new baby by making a tape recording of a crying baby, then playing this at a gradually increased volume while you practice obedience commands and praise your pet for desirable behavior. When your pet is undisturbed by the recording, continue training sessions with the tape recording and doll. By doing this when you introduce your baby, your pet will be more likely to behaviour when your baby cries for real.
Pet go offer pet care services for dogs, cats, horses and small pets across Hampshire. They also offer a unique pet taxi service where they will come and pick your pet up on your behalf so you don't have to worry about getting your furry friend to the vets, groomers, kennels or wherever they need to be.
www.petgo.co.uk 01730 891301
Hampshire Dog Sitters
If you're worried about putting your dog in a kennel then Hampshire Dog Sitters is a great option. Here your dog will enjoy safe secure garden, spacious comfortable accommodation as well as the comforts of home and walks to the beach and through woodland.
www.hampshiredogsitters.co.uk 01489 589948
At Allywags they offer a special doggy creche, where they'll look after your dog for as long or as short as you want, great for commuters, shoppers or those just going out for the day. They also offer a grooming service, perfect for the pampered pooch.
www.allywags.com 07775 861343
Pet Rodent Holiday Home
Pet Rodent Holiday Home offer affordable pet care for a wide range of rodents including rats, mice, hamsters, chinchillas, guinea pigs, rabbits and gerbils.They are also happy to work to offer specific care depending on your pets requirements.
Offers a full directory of your local dog training classes, whether you are looking for puppy classes, adult classes, one to one training or clicker training.
If you haven’t got a pet and you’re unsure which one is for you, here we’ve chosen our top five favourite pet choices.
These unconventional pets are perfect if you are looking for an alternative addition to the family. Despite their scary exterior they have an incredibly easygoing attitude. However they are a serious commitment and require a proper enclosure and tailored diet.
We all know dogs are man’s best friend, making a great addition to the family. However, they are a lot of work and before getting a dog you should be prepared to walk and train your dog correctly to ensure it is safe around your little one. It is also essential to get the correct dog breed for your family – see our top ten family friendly breeds below.
For the ultimate low maintenance pet you can’t get much better than a cat. They are very quiet, sometimes not seen at all and most breeds require no grooming or exercise. But despite their undemanding nature they still give their owners a great deal of affection.
These colourful birds are great fun for children. They enjoy being handled, relatively easy to care for and can even learn to talk. Parakeets also make a great choice if you are looking for pets on a budget as they are inexpensive to care for.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive pet that wont take up a lot of room in your home then a rabbit is a great option they are quiet, easy to care for, they don’t need to be walked and have wonderful personalities.
When choosing a dog there are thousands of breed to choose from and depending on your lifestyle will affect which breed is best for you. Here we’ve picked our top family friendly breeds-
• Labrador- these obedient dogs have a great child friendly nature and their short coats require little grooming. However they are also very energetic and require a lot of exercise.
• Shih-Tzu – these little dogs are very clever and make great family companions. But be prepared to look after their beautiful long haired coats.
• Border Terrier –great for active families these friendly terriers also make brilliant watchdogs. Gardners should be aware though that they enjoy digging.
• Cocker Spaniel – Made famous by Lady in the Tramp, these sensitve little dogs require some grooming and have keen hunting instincts.
• Pug – unlike many small dogs this little breed isn’t snappy and fairly low maintenance when it comes to exercise. However they are not fans of the heat due to their short faces. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – these regal pups make ideal playmates and are very adaptable to different lifestyles. Although heart disease is a problem in this breed.
• Beagle – very socialble and happy breed and very child friendly. But they aren’t easy to train as secent hound, ignoring commands when they pick up a scent.
• Staffordshire Bull Terrier – Despite their tough exterior Staffordshire Bull Terriers are very loving dogs and are completely devoted to their family. However ensure you socialise them a lot when they are young to avoid them becoming combative when they get older.