Is it safe to have dogs around a newborn baby?

by Sara
(Cedar Rapids, IA)

I'm a few months away from having my first baby, and want to know if you think it's safe to have my two dogs in the house with the baby.

They tend to be a bit hyper around others, and I might even say that they tend to be a little jealous of me. I don't know how they will react when the baby comes home. Does anyone have experience with this?

Laurie - The MNBC Mommy's reply:
The best advice that I can give you is to start preparing your dogs now for your baby's arrival. It sounds like your dogs may have a hard time sharing you with a strange, small, furless creature.

It would be heartbreaking to have to give up your dogs, but that may be the path you are on if you don't start preparing them.

I personally was attacked and bit in the face as a toddler by a friend's "family" dog. I'm not suggesting that your dogs would necessarily do this, but if you have the slightest question as to how they will react, you need to begin training them for what is coming.

I asked a friend who is "Mom" to 6 kids and many dogs to share her thoughts about preparing a dog for the addition of a newborn baby to the family. The tips she shares in Your Dog and New Baby will help you be confident that your baby will come into a safe and welcoming environment.

Comments for Is it safe to have dogs around a newborn baby?

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Big dogs, big caution
by: Jennifer

When my son was born we had a full breed, full grown boxer. He was a beast, but sweat as pie. When we got him I was pregnant and he would sit on my lap and we would snuggle. After about 4 months he was WAY to big. We never let him on furniture or our bed and we worked really hard to make sure he didn't jump.

We read an article that said when you bring the baby home from the hospital have one parent walk in first without the baby and settle the dog down. Then have the second parent come in with the baby and gently let him sniff the car carrier. This is exactly what we did and we never had any problem.

Our dog never jumped on or played rough with our son. ON THE OTHER HAND: I NEVER allowed them to be together when I wasn't right there. If I was showering the room door was shut and the dog couldn't reach our son. If our son was on the floor I was right there between him and the dog. No matter how sweet the dog, never let down your caution. A dog can turn in a second and bigger dogs could easily kill a small infant.

Establish your leadership
by: Animal Mama

If you make sure that your dogs know that you are in charge and they must obey you, you and your newborn are safer. Dogs that are protective are exhibiting dominant behavior. You must not allow this. You don't have to be mean about it, you just need to be clear and firm in your tone and body language.

Make sure that your dogs' tails are in neutral position (straight out or relaxed and down, not up) and their ears are not pricked forward.

Be sure to enforce a good amount of space around yourself when you are holding your baby. The dogs should not be allowed into your bubble unless you invite them.

Your dogs should be respectful and keep their distance and not get protective of you or your baby.

Alarm bells went off in my head!!
by: Rhonda65

When you said they have a tendency to become jealous, alarm bells went off in my head. If you characterize your dogs that way then take heed. Follow your instincts and don't assume anything can't happen. You are smart to question now, not just be remorseful later.

If I were you, I would make sure there are areas and boundaries on hand to keep them seperate until you see hard, consistent evidence they won't injure your child. Even a playful nip can tear tender facial tissue on a child and you will never be the same person again if that happens.

So alarm bells have been translated into words and let me end with this. I praise you from head to toe for voicing your concern and being willing to receive feedback. You are already a good mother!!

Our Poodle/Baby Story
by: Anonymous

Our first child was a toy poodle named Daisy. She was our only child for 2 years before we had our first son. When we first brought him home, Daisy howled and would try to push him off of my wife's lap. Within days her behavior changed and she would get agitated and run barking to us whenever the baby would cry.

That was over 10 years ago. We now have 3 sons and Daisy is like a second mother to them. She helps with the nighttime routines by laying in their beds while we read them their bedtime stories. She even goes in their rooms to check on them while they're sleeping and sits watch at the top of the stairs.

We were a little worried because Daisy usually doesn't like new people but she has taken to our 3 sons.

Dogs and Babies
by: Summer

I have raised three sons, and was the proud mommy of my only daughter, my pooch Hannah, before I started having my boys. Hannah is a Golden Retriever I scored from the pound when she was just eleven months old. Hannah's personality really changes right from the moment I conceive, and ever since my oldest son, I call her my personal pregnancy test.

She becomes a whole lot calmer, she won't jump up on me at all, which she loves to do.

Hannah has become all of my son's very best friend. In the beginning she was very quiet and cautious around the babies, and did not really start playing with them till after they had all turned two.

Not all dogs are really great with kids, but if your dog loves you, and you treat it right, it will love your new baby. Just be sure to keep a close eye on your pet when they are around the baby, and I am almost positive you will not have any problems.

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