Until that baby comes home, your pet has had your undivided attention.
Even if you are not always doting on your dog or cat, the amount of attention you have to spend with your furry companion is going to dwindle when baby comes home.
Some animals react negatively to their new family members as a result.
You can make this transition easier for everyone in the family with these tips.
Smells Are Essential Almost all pets, dogs and cats especially, are driven by smells.
Your house smells a certain way to them, and when someone new is brought in, they notice the new smell almost immediately.
You can ease the transition by introducing baby smells into your home before the baby comes home.
All common baby household items such as baby powder and diapers have scents which your pet may need to learn.
When your baby is born and you are recovering in the hospital, ask the hospital staff if you can take one of your baby's used receiving blankets home for your pet to smell.
If you place this near the pet's feeding dish, you will help him associate the smell of the baby with eating, one of his favorite activities.
Do not let it become part of the pet's bed, though, because you do not want your pet claiming the crib or baby carrier as sleeping space as well.
Positive First Encounter The day you bring baby home from the hospital, be sure you greet your pet as you normally would, just without too much excitement.
Perhaps you can leave the baby in the car with another parent while you say hi to your pet.
Then, bring the baby in and calmly introduce them.
Do not let the pet jump towards the baby or lick her face, something dogs particularly like to do, but do let the pet smell and look at the baby.
If your pet tends to get excited in new situations, consider having her restrained when you have this first meeting.
Watch Carefully You will need to watch carefully for the first several months for any signs of aggression towards the new baby on the part of your pet.
Many pets are indifferent to the new addition, while others are extremely concerned, looking for you the moment the baby cries.
These are fine reactions, but a pet that begins to show fear or aggression needs to be dealt with.
Your vet may have suggestions for training methods to help ease your pet's transition.
Remember, never leave your baby and your pet alone together, because your pet is an animal and can be unpredictable.
Once your new baby and pet have established a good relationship, you will have wonderful opportunities to do things like take walks as a family.
Remember to be patient with your pet since a new baby is a big change not only for you but for your pet.