Preparing for Twins

The DO’S and DON’TS of Preparing Pets for New Babies

Chances are, if you know what a Pupaccino is. . .

Or would order an extra soft serve at the drive through window. . .

Then it is probably safe to say that you have a fur baby or two that you love and adore.

So as you prepare to welcome your new bundles of joy into the world, and shift the majority of your attention to caring for newborns, begin preparing your pets for new babies by helping them adjust to their new lifestyle.

Begin Preparing your Pets for New Babies with These DO’S and DON’TS:

DO get your pet acquainted with your babies before they arrive.

Sit on the floor and let your pet sniff your pregnant belly. Let them lay next to you or lean on your belly. Your dog will sense that something is different from having those interactions with your bump.

DON’T assume your pet will instantly accept your new arrivals.

Just like most big changes in life, with change comes an adjustment period.  Take some deliberate steps to help your pet understand that things are changing, but they will still be loved and get plenty of attention.

DO let your pet get comfortable in the babies’ new space.

While prepping for your new babies, at some point you’ll need to get the nursery ready.  To help in preparing pets for new babies, let your pets in the nursery and give them the opportunity sniff around.  Allow them sleep on the floor while you paint and hang bookshelves.  Any extra time spent nesting in your nursery is a great time for your pet to be invited into the space and just chill. 

DON’T make major adjustments to your household rules/expectations for your pet.

Bringing home babies doesn’t mean your pet needs to be suddenly banished to the backyard or kept in a crate for hours at a time. Keep life as normal as possible and be sure your pet gets to roam around as they are used to.  You can use pack ‘n plays or play yard gates to give your babies a pet-free space instead of locking your pet outside.

DO introduce your pet to the babies’ scent.

Before you come home from the hospital, have a friend or family member bring a swaddle blanket or dirty onesie home for your pet to smell and become acquainted with. You may be surprised to find them all cuddled up with it!  All the better. 

DON’T forget your training.

Just like kids, pets like routine.  Make sure that you continue to use the same commands your pet is accustomed to and expect the same behaviors from them after the babies are home.  If you expect your pet to sit on it’s bed during dinner, maintain that expectation. Don’t become lax because you have extra things on your mind. Pets like consistency. Keep their routine as normal as you can.

DO plan a meet and greet, but keep it short.

Choose a quiet and comfortable place for your pet to meet your babies.  Before you walk into the door with your new twins, come in alone and greet your dog! It’s probably been a few days since you’ve seen each other. Make sure they have gotten some attention before the introduction takes place and get something special afterwards as well. 

DON’T forget about your pet.

Your priorities will shift to your newborn babies, but be sure that your pet gets some individual attention as well. While your babies sleep, give your pet some extra love, or go for a baby-free walk while your partner spends time with the babies.

DO have a space designated for your pet.

Sometimes your pets need a break too.  Have a crate or a bed in a space where they can have some peace and quiet away from your babies.  Just like you, your pet will be exhausted and off their routine as well.  You’re not the only one awake at 2 a.m. with crying babies!

DON’T leave pets unsupervised with babies.

Your pet may tolerate the babies but don’t necessarily love them.  They too have a breaking point. Although your pet does well with babies, they are animals. They are instinctual. Know that animal behaviors can change after bringing home babies. They can be protective of the babies or could want nothing to do with them.  Play it safe and never leave your pet unsupervised with the babies!

After a while, your pet will get used to the new arrivals and the new family dynamic. Do whatever you think is best to create a safe environment for everyone, fur babies included!  If the babies are crying, hell, drive around until they fall asleep and hit up the drive through for an ice cream cone for your dog!