Are Newborns Safe Around Dogs?by Lisa McQuerrey
Supervise all baby-dog interaction.
Bringing home a newborn baby means a lot of changes for your pup. In addition to not being the center of your attention, there will be new smells, sounds and sights to be seen. You can make the adjustment easier on everyone and ensure the safety of your newborn by planning a smooth transition before the baby arrives.
Take your dog to the vet for a checkup and make sure he’s current on all immunizations. Also get his nails clipped, and plan to keep them trimmed in the future. If you want to keep your baby’s room off-limits to your dog, install a pet gate or door before the baby’s arrival so your dog will get used to it being in place. Start wearing baby lotion or baby powder to get your dog used to the smell, and play a recording of a baby crying to get him used to the sound.
It's in everyone's best interest that your dog be well-trained and accustomed to obeying commands prior to your newborn’s arrival. Being able to maintain control of your dog under all circumstances will help ensure your newborn’s safety. If your dog needs a “refresher” obedience training course, spend extra time working with him or attend an obedience training program. As a safety precaution, your dog should be on a leash the first few times he interacts with the baby.
Avoid Jealousy Issues
Your pup may see your new arrival as competition for your affection. Give your dog plenty of one-on-one love and attention so he doesn’t feel displaced. Since you will have your hands full with a baby, consider employing the help of a dog walker, friend, neighbor or other household member to help you on this front. Also make sure your dog gets extra exercise to expend energy, which will likely make him calmer around the newborn.
Even the most loving, gentle and well-trained dog can accidentally hurt a newborn, either out of jealousy or overenthusiastic curiosity. Interaction should be closely supervised as your baby and pup get used to one another. For best results, never leave your newborn baby unattended around your pup, and don’t allow your dog to lick the baby’s face or hands, which can spread germs. Reprimand your dog if he displays any unwanted behaviors.
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