6 Tips to Prepare Your Dog for Your Baby's Arrival

When you're expecting a baby and you already have a dog at home, you may have doubts about how your pet will accept the new family member. Here's how to prepare your dog for your baby's arrival.
6 Tips to Prepare Your Dog for Your Baby's Arrival
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

If you’re a dog owner and you’re about to be a mom or dad, you’ve no doubt wondered how to prepare your dog for your baby’s arrival. There are studies that indicate there are many benefits for children when it comes to growing up with dogs: emotional benefits, fun times and adventures together, even benefits for their health.

When you already have a dog at home and a baby’s about to arrive, you might worry about how the dog will take the arrival of the new member of the family. Will he accept the new baby? So, in this article, we’re going to look at some tips to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new addition. Let’s go!

Preparing your dog for the arrival of the baby during pregnancy

When a new baby arrives in our lives, our routines and habits change completely. And these changes will also be noticed by your dog. That’s why it’s important that, during pregnancy, you introduce small changes so that your dog doesn’t notice a sudden change when the baby arrives.

First of all, you must take into account what your dog’s like, that’s to say, what his personality and behavior are. Is he a calm dog or a dog that finds it difficult to obey? Depending on your dog’s personality, you may need the help of a dog trainer before the baby arrives.

If, in addition, you want your dog to change some behaviors for when the baby’s born, don’t wait until the last minute. Rather, from the beginning, during your pregnancy, start modifying that behavior. For example, if you want your dog to stop sleeping in your bed or in your room, don’t wait until your baby comes home to correct this behavior.

Tips to prepare your dog for the baby’s arrival

A newborn baby sleeping with a large dog.

You must get your dog used to having its own space

If your dog doesn’t have its own bed, it’s time to prepare him one. Your dog will want a place that’s quiet and away from noises that may be bothersome. It’s important that, when your child starts to crawl, they respect this space. You shouldn’t wait to make these changes when the baby’s already in your house. If you do, the dog will associate the arrival of the child with something negative and it’ll bother him.

Adapt their schedules and routines

Although before the birth of your child, you won’t know exactly how your routines will change, you’ll be able to get an idea of what you’ll be able to continue doing with your pet and what not. Especially during the first few days and weeks when you’ll be busy taking care of your completely dependent newborn.

If your dog is used to walks and needs that activity and you can’t do it when the baby arrives, ask a family member or friend to take it for a walk. Or, if you don’t have that option, you can hire a dog walker. This way, you won’t put your dog’s health and wellbeing at risk due to low physical activity.

Adapt to the new smells to prepare your dog for the baby’s arrival

From the moment you start setting up the baby’s room, let your dog be with you and let him sniff and become familiar with the new room and its smells.

Your dog will have more visual stimuli

Surely you have many toys, stuffed animals, and rattles ready to entertain your child, but this will also be stimulating for your dog, especially if he’s very playful.

In this case, the best thing you can do is, from pregnancy, show him the toys, but don’t let him take them. And, if he does, immediately exchange it for one of his own toys. This way, he’ll understand which ones he can pick up and which ones he can’t.

The baby is born and it’s time for the introduction: what to do?

If you’ve followed all of the above tips, when it’s time to introduce your dog to your new baby, you’ll be most of the way there.

A pitbull snuggling with a newborn.

Show them the clothes worn by the child

Before you allow your dog to meet your child, show him the clothes that the baby’s already worn. Let him smell them and get used to the smell that’ll be part of his life from this moment on.

What to do when you get home with the baby?

  • Pet your dog and give him all your affection. He’ll be looking forward to seeing you, as you will him. Then, once’s your dog’s calmed down, you can proceed with the introductions.
  • This first contact shouldn’t be direct or forced. Introduce your baby by having you or the daddy with the little one. Let the dog sniff the baby while you pet him and talk to him affectionately.
  • If you see that the dog feels comfortable, you can start off with a very short encounter and then gradually lengthen these moments. But it’s important that you never leave your baby and your dog alone in the room.
  • If you observe a behavior or response that’s not normal for your dog, ask a professional for advice.

On how to prepare your dog for the baby’s arrival

These tips will help you prepare your dog for the arrival of the baby and will make it easier for him to adapt to the new situation. It’s important that, in case of any aggressive behavior, you consult a professional to solve this situation. But for sure, your dog and your child will become inseparable friends and will enjoy many adventures together.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.