It’s Pet’s Week over on Fit Bottomed Girls, and today I’m sharing a few lessons learned in my years of juggling two little kiddos and one dear dog.
When my husband and I brought our babies home, our dog proved her sweetness. From the beginning, she treated both kids as members of the family, and we’ve been lucky that they’ve been as smitten with her. But adding a new member to the family is an adjustment, and not just for the adults in the house! Pets can feel the shift in family dynamics too, but I’ve learned a few tricks since I’ve brought my two kiddos homes. Now, you can ease the transition with these tips for happy pets!
7 Tips for Happy Pets
1. Be patient. Bringing a new baby home is an adjustment for everyone. Be patient with the pup if he or she is very excited around the baby. Let the dog or cat smell the baby at his or her own pace. If they’re nervous or skittish, don’t force it.
2. Don’t forget to exercise! If your dog is used to a twice-daily walk, skipping those will only make excess puppy energy build up, which can lead to destructive and annoying behavior. If you can’t get out for your regular walk, throw a ball in the backyard or in the living room so the dog can get some exercise and mental stimulation. Same goes for cats; don’t skip that daily session with the ball of yarn!
3. Don’t worry about the fur too much. Pets shed, and there’s no way to keep your house 100 percent clean all the time. Do the best you can but know that it’s inevitable that your children will ingest pet fur, guaranteed.
4. Supervise, supervise, supervise. You may think Fido is harmless but a pulled tail or stepped on paw can cause even the sweetest dog to lash out.
5. Teach your kids “gentle.” They’ll have to learn how to pet nicely, so start teaching the meaning of “gentle pets” really early. My kids loved to grab fistfuls of fur, so I also implemented “open-handed pats” and the idea that petting shouldn’t make a sound (for those times when they started getting a bit too vigorous!).
6. Practice good doggie manners. If your kids love your dog, odds are they’ll love every dog they see walking in the great wide world. To avoid any unpleasant situations, teach your kids that they must first ask if the dog is friendly and if they can pet it, and then to let the dog sniff their hand first.
7. Attention and cuddles. Your dog or cat is used to being the center of attention, so be sure to give lots of attention! When the baby sleeps or kids go to bed, carve out a few minutes for one-one-one cuddles and attention.
What tips would you add to the list to ease the transition from an only-pet household to one with a kiddo or two? —Erin