Although there is a belief that dogs may know before their owners that a baby is on the way - it doesn't mean they understand what is actually about to come. To help prepare them for this big change, parents-to-be need to consider what their new domestic life will look like – from a pet's point of view.
- Safety barriers - Pets and children can grow up to be best friends - this ideal should not be taken for granted. Dogs and young children should never be left alone together and it is wise to get your pets well accustomed to a new level of separation.
- Walk - If your dog tends to pull on a lead, it is worth training them in advance to walk politely on a loose lead alongside a stroller.
- Privacy - Dogs and cats need their own space – somewhere they can retreat to for some peace and quiet. Providing them with their own crate or comfy space out of reach of children is advised.
- De-sensitize - Babies can make a lot of noise. For animals new to these sounds (and with an acute sense of hearing) this can be stressful. Teaching them it's a noise they can ignore is very beneficial. Recorded clips of babies are easily found on the internet. Begin playing the sound quietly when your pets are relaxed - if they get up to investigate, you can drop some treats on the floor and leave the sound running quietly.
- Routine - Trying to keep your pets' routine can help reduce their stress levels. During the very early days, walking the dog might seem like an epic task, so it might be worth enlisting friends and family or a local dog walker to help. the conversation + totz+related article: my dog knows I'm pregnant