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Furbabies and Your Newborn: Is it Safe?

Posted May 25th, 2018 by admin

Nearly every parent has heard the stories of children being attacked or injured by animals. This is not to say that every animal is dangerous and should be kept away from children, but it is enough to give one pause about the safety of introducing your child- especially an infant- to your furbaby. Thankfully, in the large majority of cases, having your infant around your animals is not anything to be overly concerned about – but it might mean you have to make some lifestyle changes.

Can Your Furbaby and Your Babies Safely Co-exist?

The simple answer is, yes. However, it is often necessary to make changes in order to promote the wellbeing of everyone. Here are some things to keep in mind.

• While your baby is small, it is best to keep them apart. Keep the pets out of the room your baby sleeps in and never let your furbaby sleep with your infant.
• Dogs are curious but consider holding them back-or on a leash- as you introduce them. Cats, don’t usually get jealous but are often attracted to an infant’s warmth and have been known to try to sleep with/on them.
• Be sure to talk to your vet and be up to date on pet shots, so that all risks of diseases is minimized! Always, be sure that flea and tick collars are used so you can keep your baby from being at risk.
• Keep your furbabies’ nails clipped back, so as to minimize risk of germ transfer should they accidently scratch your baby!
• Many families find that using a safety gate to separate their pets from their babies – especially once the baby starts crawling/walking – is a safe way to protect the baby from unwanted pet attention.
• During, if not before, pregnancy begin training your pets on places where the baby will be, or perhaps start introducing barriers to spaces where the pet will not be permitted. Consider setting up the furniture for the nursery sooner rather than later and teach your pets “etiquette” for the future.
• Be sure to continue giving your pet plenty of attention after the baby arrives, so that it has no cause to feel jealous and become aggressive. You might even consider getting a few new toys or treats for your pet or even consider bringing in a pet sitter for a few hours a day to help provide extra attention for your pet.
• Never force your pet and your baby to be “best friends”. Remember even the most docile pet can become aggressive when provoked; babies and toddlers don’t understand that they can instigated the issue.
• Don’t allow your cat or dog to “kiss” your baby or toddler. Dogs and cats often sniff or lick other animals, debris or other unsavory places and allowing them to kiss your baby exposes your infant to additional germs.
• NEVER leave your infant or small child in a room with just your pet as a “protector”. There are too many things that can go wrong!

So, what should you do when it comes to your children and your animals? It really comes down to the type of animals you have, their temperament and, most importantly, your child. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to talk to both your pediatrician and your vet. That way you can make an informed decision that benefits all those involved.

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