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Dogs and pregnancy- preparing your fur baby for a human one

I am the mother of one, soon to be two children and also to a very indulged and needy dog! Here are some of my tips to other prospective parents for preparing your pooch for a baby’s arrival.

It is important that your dog continues to get adequate exercise. If you feel that it will be a struggle you could consider a dog walking service for a while if your dog is of suitable temperament- start this well before the baby comes home so they can get used to it.

If your dog needs it pregnancy is a great time to brush up on obedience. You want to be able to easily walk your dog in a heeling position with a pram, ask him to sit and wait if you are attending to the baby etc. I practised walking with a pram, while giving treats, in the months leading up to the birth of my first child. If your dog is unruly consider formal obedience training.

Work out what the sleeping arrangements for the dog and baby will be and have them in place in plenty of time before the baby gets home.

Once the baby is born have a family member bring home from the hospital a blanket the baby has been wrapped in and let your dog sniff it and/or sleep with it in their bed.

When you arrive home from hospital it is best if you go inside and greet your dog, who will be very excited to see you, first without the baby. I allowed my dog to have a bit of an excited play with me then once she had calmed down asked her to sit while my partner brought the baby inside. I held the dog gently (by harness) and let her sniff the baby’s feet/legs as a first introduction.

Even if your dog is extremely gentle with the baby never leave them alone together, even for a moment!

I found having a dog at home with a newborn was great company and a good incentive to get out and exercise. Dogs will generally be able to accept the new addition best it they are made to feel included in the family and given a routine.

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