Having a baby is a major event for each parent though some of the parents may already have a ‘child’ that is a dog. Bringing a new member of the family will create a new situation that one’s pet needs to be prepared for and if this has been done properly the pet will learn to love the newborn baby very quickly. For those parents who might be concerned how their baby will react health-wise to the environment with a dog, new researches have proved that this fact is only beneficial to the newborn child.
What are the most important actions a parent should take in order to ‘introduce’ the baby to the dog?
• Make sure to teach the dog ‘who’ the boss is and prepare the terrain in the 9 months preceding baby’s arrival;
• Introduce the dog to the new baby’s scent by bringing a piece of cloth with baby’s burp for example;
• Teach the dog how far around the nursery is ‘allowed’ to approach and respect this rule;
• Control how the baby treats the dog when the walking stage starts;
• Allow the dog to ‘meet’ the baby upon arrival at the safe distance naturally and control the scene;
• At all times ‘look’ after the dog and don’t forget to give enough attention to it.
There are situations when the dog can take it all ‘too seriously’ and even ‘not like’ the fact that there is a little one who gets all the attention, though it is important not to neglect the dog after the baby is born too. If this is the case parents can enroll the dog to a ‘training course’ or seek some professional advice from the Vet. Since they have vast experience in the psychological state the dog can fall into their view can be really helpful.
As some parents get concerned whether raising a child in the household with the pet is safe and healthy a short examination will be useful. In Finland the new research has been establishing certain facts that might put the above mentioned parents at ease. Not only is the household with the dog safe it is actually proven that the presence of a dog will ‘free’ the baby from different diseases that occur in the toddler period.
Statistical data proves that a newborn baby is 31% less likely to catch an illness if it lives in a house with a dog, and that is in the 1st year of its life. It is not quite clear why this is happening but the idea scientists have is that the microbes pets introduce into the household ‘prepare’ the baby’s immune system to fight all the bad microbes. It is also evident that toddlers use a lot less of antibiotics which again leads to a healthier childhood. The only concern is to discover early whether the child is allergic to dogs in which case exposure to them should be avoided.
To sum it all up, both dogs and babies need to be prepared into meeting and living together. Patience is always a virtue and once the encounter is planned and successfully followed the start of a lifelong friendship is at hand.