Now that your delicate-looking, warm baby has arrived at the home, you may be wondering whether it is safe to have pets around the baby and what measures should you be taking.
Firstly, everything will depend upon what pets you have. Usually, dogs and cats are much safer than other pets like reptiles or even birds. These two mammals have been our best friends for centuries, and we have learned a lot about them.
Newborns and young children are at increased risk, as they are too fragile to defend themselves against the bad behavior of pets. Further, they also touch contaminated surfaces and put their hands into the mouth of pets more often than adults. Newborns and kids do not wash their hands by themselves and often put their fingers in mouth. All this exposes them to increased risks of diseases or even injury.
Thus, for your child’s safety, you must prepare your pet beforehand.
Preparing pet before child birth
- Immunize cats and dogs, clean them from fleas, ticks, and also consult a specialist for deworming.
- Train your pets and get them use to having their nails trimmed. This is especially important for cats.
- Make a new normal by giving less attention to the pets, so that they get used to the new way of life.
- Play with your pet, by using the name of the baby, if you have already chosen.
- Invite your friend who has a small child to come over and observe the behavior of your pet.
- Consider enrolling your pet in some training school or classes.
Precautions after the child is born
- When you first bring home your baby, introduce your child so that pet can get used to the scent. If possible even send the blankets and other belongings of child beforehand so that that pet can get used to the smell.
- When your child is sleeping, spend time with your pet.
- Schedule regular visits to your vet.
- Don’t force your pet to come near to your child as it only adds to the anxiety of pet.
- Keep your pet little away from the child, especially if the pet has lots of fur or your pet is shedding fur.
- Never leave a child alone with a pet, especially during the first few months.
- Moreover, of course, find the safe place to dispose of diapers, especially if your pet is a dog.
Benefits of having a pet
The good news is that there are many advantages of having a pet near a child. Scientific research shows that your baby has far fewer chances of having allergic disorders if you have a pet at home. Pets decrease the likelihood of asthma in your kids as they grow. Recently there has been a lot of research in over-sanitization, and it has been found that with pets, your child has, in fact, fewer chances of getting various infections, and this is especially true for respiratory infections which are common in childhood.
So, you need not worry too much about having pets near your child. All you need is to take certain precautions, know your pets, and love them. Moreover, remember that as your baby grows, a relationship with pets will have lots of other benefits.
About the author:
Dr. Preet Bhinder (M.D.)
Dr. Preet is a family physician, and he has been practicing medicine for last 15 years and often sees child injury in his day-to-day practice. He understands the traumatic effect of such injuries on the whole family. He is also a passionate writer.
When we brought our baby home for the first time, we had to be extra careful, but it turned out that our puppy was so happy to have a new little friend. They grew up together. Best buds now.