Dealing with a new dog can be challenging enough on its own, but when you combine that with a new baby you’ve got a perfect storm. If you can avoid this mix of circumstances then it should be advised, but unfortunately, sometimes life offers you a mixed bag and you’ve got to take it! With that in mind, here are some top tips to help you navigate this bizarre new set of circumstances!
Never let your dog play with your baby unsupervised
This should really go without saying, but some people do need to be reminded. You may think that your new dog is the cutest, most harmless creature in the world but you must remember that it is still an animal with a very limited understanding of the world. Unfortunately, it could turn and indulge its base animal instincts at any time, and if your baby is at the receiving end of this then the results could be horrible. Always be around when your baby and new dog are in the same area. Allow them to become familiar with each other, and bonding sessions are to be encouraged, but you should always supervise the interaction closely. If your dog gets used to playing with the baby then it might become too rough and cause the baby injury inadvertently, even if it just thinks it is playing.
There are downsides to the dog as well. A baby or toddler can easily wear out a puppy, especially if it too is just getting used to the new surroundings. Crate training also helps for your dog to learn to stay in their space (see Cozy Crates for more).
New babies and new dogs need rest
This is vital and is often overlooked. Your baby may need up to 20 hours of rest a day, and your new dog is also likely to need a lot of peaceful rest time. Make sure you keep them separate for this time and make sure that neither disturbs the other during this precious time of peace.
Keep your baby away from the dog food
Babies love to experiment and try new things. One of their favorite means of experimentation is by putting new things in their mouth. This is one of the main reasons why you need to keep your dog’s food (and water) far away from your baby. This will not be healthy for your baby and could lead to an upset stomach or worse. As well as that, anything your dog puts in their mouth, including any chew toys, is likely to be full of germs that could be harmful to your baby. Make sure you disinfect any item or space shared between your dog and baby.
Obviously, your dog could eat the baby’s food either, but this is not usually such a serious issue!
Do some bonding activities together
Your new baby and dog neet to get acquainted with each other in a safe and controlled manner. You should do shared activities together, such as going for a walk. This will help build a strong bond between baby and puppy, and in many cases, the dog will grow up to be very caring and protective of their young charge.