Preparing your pet for a new baby
Brisbane City Council has created a short film, Dog, Baby and You designed to help you prepare your dog for your baby's arrival.
Dog, Baby and You video
Some of the topics include:
- preparing your dog for the baby's homecoming
- helping your pet adjust to your baby's cry
- pet care such as vet checks, grooming and arranging care
- introducing the baby to the dog
- safety in the car and with prams
- getting ready for the active toddler years
Download the Dog, Baby and You factsheet:
- Dog, Baby and You: bringing baby home (PDF - 115kb)
- Dog, Baby and You: bringing baby home (Word - 125kb)
Dog, Baby and You video
Watch the Dog, Baby and You video to learn tips on how to prepare your dog for your new arrival.
View a collection of videos on YouTube.
Note: you can search online for crying baby soundtracks.
Read the Dog, Baby and You video transcript.
Shot of a baby bump pulling away to reveal a dog looking upset, and the title showing Dog, Baby and You: bringing baby home.
Lauren: Life will never be the same again, isn't that what we're all told? But what does a newborn mean for your furry family member? Your dog or cat?
Shot of dog looking puzzled.
Lauren: Life for your dog doesn't have to change much at all, providing you take the time now, before your baby arrives, to prepare. Waiting until you bring your baby home may be leaving things a little too late.
Text: In Queensland, 2,500 people a year are treated for dog bites and 20 per cent of these are children under five years of age. In Brisbane, since January 1999, there have been 656 reported injuries related to dog attacks on children aged five and under.
Lauren: You don't want your baby or your family pet to become a statistic so consider life from your dog's point of view and include his or her preparation for the arrival on your to-do- list.
Shot of dog thinking he should be at the top of the to-do list.
Lauren: Of course there will be changes in the home but the idea is for your dog not to associate any changes to its routine with your newborn. You can do this by making changes early. A few simple actions will help your dog accept that life might not be the same, but it will still be happy.
Text: Set boundaries to give everyone peace.
Lauren: Set up a barrier to the baby's room and make sure your dog has its own space to retreat to if needed. And it also needs to know where it can or can't go.
Shot of dog looking at baby bath and thinking "That's one, big water bowl."
Lauren: Walk around with a baby bundle and pop on a DC of a baby crying. When the real baby arrives, your beloved pet shouldn't notice the difference.
Shot of father having a coffee and holding a baby doll while the dog is at his feet. They hear the baby crying CD and the father leans over and reassures and pats the dog.
Lauren: You'll probably be sleep deprived but your dog will still need exercise to stay relaxed and happy in your home, so think about ways to keep them active, even if you can't. A tired dog is a good dog.
Shot of dog with lead in its mouth wanting to go out. Next shot is of a teenager or neighbour walking the dog.
Text: Take your dog for walks with the pram.
Lauren: Practice walking your dog with the pram. Be sure to hold the lead, or tie it around your waist. Never tie your dog to the pram. You might feel weird but you can have some fun with it.
Shot of the mother getting ready with a pram and the dog on a lead. The baby doll is tucked into the pram.
Text: Introduce the smell of your baby early.
Lauren: Start sharing baby scents such as talcum powder, a used nappy or worn clothes brought home from the hospital.
Shot of father unpacking a bag and extending a nappy bag to the dog's twitching nose.
Text: The big intro is often a non-event.
Lauren: So you've practiced with the pram, and your dog has smelt your baby, heard your baby and seen what he thinks is the baby, so what happens now he gets to meet the baby?
When it comes to introducing your newborn to your dog, it's as simple as a sniff.
Shot of mother, baby and dog meeting.
Lauren: Choose your time. Wait until both dog and baby are settled. No whining or crying from either of them. When everyone is relaxed, let your dog approach the baby and sniff its feet. By this stage, your dog will be so used to the baby, it should be a non-event. But it's still nice to give a reward.
Shot of dog thinking "Too right, bring it on people."
Lauren: I guess the most important tip of all is to never leave your baby alone with your dog. Accidents happen, even in the car, and both your child and pet are too precious to put at risk.
Text: In Brisbane alone, every week, approximately one child aged five or under is injured from a dog bite or scratch.
Shot of mother, father, baby and dog hanging out together at home.
Lauren: And finally, it's also important to remember to do this all again with your next baby. Plus, there are lots of things you should look out for when your baby becomes a toddler. But that's a whole new film.
Shot of pregnant mother with toddler at her feet playing with toys. Mother awkwardly gets up out of a chair and calls out "Honey, get the bag..."
Shot of dog thinking "Here we go again..."
Text: And don't forget a dog sitter when the big day arrives.
Lauren: Visit the Brisbane City Council website for more tips and advice on how to keep your dog happy with a new arrival.