Top Tips for Introducing Pets to Your Baby

"Cujo, meet the new baby. I'll let you two get acquainted and I'll be right back."

“Cujo, meet the new baby. I’ll let you two get acquainted and I’ll be right back.”

First let me start this post by saying that if you are pregnant and have a pet, at least one person will ask you if you are going to get rid of it once the baby comes.

Many people have decided that all dogs will eat a baby and cats will jump in a crib and suck the breath out of your child before lying on its face.

Be sure to tell these people that you have to keep the animal otherwise who will you leave the baby with when you go to the bar? Then say, “Gotta run and pick up the baby’s crib snake from Reptile World.”

For the record, people are responsible for way more infant fatalities than any animal.

All that said, you want to make sure that bringing your baby home to meet your dog or cat (or other little creature) goes smoothly.

Here are some great tips I found:

1. Set up the baby’s stuff as soon as possible so everyone gets accustomed to the new digs.

2. Establish boundaries right from the get go. Nope, you can’t sleep in the crib and you may not gnaw on the stacking rings.

3. Use double sided tape or a cheap motion detector in the crib or on the change table to discourage sneaky jump-ins while you’re not looking.

4. Get your pet accustomed to getting attention from you off your lap so they don’t feel so displaced when you’re holding the weeble.

5. Fire up all the baby crap so they get used to it. For example, the swings, vibrating chairs, noise machines, etc. (Perhaps, run around the house screaming, “I can’t take this anymore!” – it will get all of you familiar with the sounds that accompany a newborn.)

6. Get their nails trimmed. Sometimes a misplaced paw is inevitable, so trim back the talons so you aren’t adding to the mishap.

7. Let the pet smell something of the baby’s before you introduce them. If it’s a dog be sure to establish that the item is yours and hold it at a distance for them to sniff – you have to make sure you’re still all alpha dog and all that shit.

8. If you’re introducing a dog, take it for a long walk before the introduction and have the baby in the house when it gets back. Make sure that you are holding the baby when the dog comes in and let it sniff it at a distance. Gradually let the dog get closer to the baby but stay in control of the situation.

9. Try to keep the pet’s routine as normal possible. Think about how much the baby will affect the routine and dial it back before the baby comes if necessary.

10. Don’t leave the baby with your pet alone. That’s not fair to anyone and you don’t want to give those dicks that told you to get rid of your pet any “I-told-you-so” ammunition.

11. Lastly, my favourite suggestion was to invite people over that already have infants to get your pet accustomed to a baby. You know, tester bait. Seriously though, it is a great idea, I just thought the wording was funny.

My cats are terrified of children, but when I brought the boys home it didn’t take long for them to figure out that this was something really important and it would be best if they just tolerated it. It also helped that they were both really mellow cats. Of course, that didn’t stop either of them from walking in and meowing JUST as I got the baby to sleep and JUST out of sock throwing range. Little buggers.

Personally, I found their company really comforting in the first few months of my sons’ lives. They would think nothing of hopping up on the couch at 3 am, sniff a little baby foot, then curl up next to me and go to sleep. It was like they were saying, “You’ve got this, Man. Don’t sweat it so much.”

Viva la hairball!

Virnalisa sent me this awesome pic of Sir Winston reading up on the new baby ; )


Also check out my Pinterest board for all the awesome photos of kids with pets. You can pass it along to all the naysayers that don’t understand that animals are the best, damn things out there when you have a baby.

Follow Pregnant Chicken’s board Babies and Kids with Pets on Pinterest.

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  • I have two small dogs and a 6 month old daughter. Dogs have been getting along fairly well with the baby. My miniature dachshund likes her almost too much, he licks in her mouth at every opportunity. We have to tell him off for too many kisses haha.
    My chiweenie is a rescue dog, and she has some attachment issues and food issues. There has been one super growley incident that we think was because the baby "snuck up" on the dog when the dog was lurking for food by the couch.
    We don’t leave the baby alone with the dogs, and we have many baby gates so that we can lock the baby in and the dogs out. I suggest putting up baby gates early if you have dogs. We already had dog gates because the little darlings like to sneak poop and chew shoes. They got used to the gates before the baby got home, before she started crawling, so we didn’t have to deal with those things at the same time.
    The baby does really like the dogs. She thinks they’re the most entertaining things to watch. And she likes petting them in controlled situations. Teaching her not to pull their tails or their ears though, that will be interesting. Like puppies, don’t let small children do things that you don’t want them to do when they’re older.

  • We adopted a black lab one month after my son was born just to make sure they grow up together and they really do! They’re best friends now, 4 years later. We also have a (now) 7 years old cat but i can’t really say anything changed in her behaviour since the kids and the dog came into her life.

  • I have yet to be asked whether or not we are getting rid of our dogs. We are constantly asked which dog is going to be most attached to the baby. It’s rather a nice feeling to be asked that constantly.
    I’ll admit that its weird having a "guard dog" that follows me from the bedroom to the bathroom. Not to mention, he also does "perimeter checks" every few hours by looking out the windows and the doggie door before he lays back down next to me when he thinks its "safe" haha.

  • My dog was not a fan of children when I got pregnant simply because he had never been around them. He was scared of them. But when we came home with James, he instantly understood that this baby is ours and using some of your tips we heard of earlier as well as some of Ceasar’s tip, Marly (the dog) now loves baby James. We never leave her alone with James and she is not allowed in his room nor allowed to be close to the baby without us and she knows it. She’s been very good! In fact, if we left the baby at my parent’s place for the night, once we get home she looks and sniffs all around us in the entry way because she feels something’s missing on our arrival. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this post and your site in general, it is awesome! I am spending my holiday enthralled in your site! I am 6wks pregnant with my first and we have two 4-legged kids, both Shitzu- the older guy already knows and follows me around and he is super cuddly now. I, like others, am beyond annoyed at people’s constant "what are you going to do with the dogs" I like someone’s suggestion that they will cook them, would love to see the reactions!! It is so reassuring hearing that other people’s pets are so baby friendly, makes me even more excited to bring our little peanut home.

  • I have a 12 week old and followed most these tips. Suprisingly our dog has remained super uninterested in the new bundle of joy–but it's true! My dog is a constant companion for 3am feedings and is the only one in the house completely unfazed by babies screams. I would recommend a baby carrier like Moby or Ktan to help make dog walks possible. My dog gets ridiculously excited when I put the baby carrier on now, because it means he is getting a walk!

  • Since I hit 12 weeks, our 8 yo German Shepherd (retired K9) has appointed herself my personal pregnancy protection dog. I don't go anywhere in the house without an 80-lb shadow. I have no doubt that she will be as protective of the kid as she is of me at the moment.

    Before I got pregnant, a friend of ours stayed overnight at our house during a long trip. She had her four kids with her, ages 7 to 1.5. Our three dogs (four at the time) had no problem with any of them. In fact, the two males thought the four screaming, track-running rugrats were the greatest new playmates ever. Also, that family has a pair of dogs themselves, one of which is a working K9 with a super prey drive. They have absolutely no problems keeping the kids clean, herded, or out of trouble when Malva is around. Tell that to all the naysayers.

  • I'm not even pregnant with our first yet (what can I say? I'm a planner!), but I already know how I'm going to intro the baby to our menagerie. The cats won't care, they rarely care about anything. One of the dogs will probably run and hide from the kiddo until they are old enough to throw a ball, at which point they will become besties.

    My older border collie is going to be in love. I know that already. He is already super gentle with "his people" and he has helped me raise several orphan foster kittens and squirrels. I seriously think he believes he was born to be a mom. It's hilarious.

  • I have to say that I am very tired of people asking when we are getting rid of our Pitt Bull. I know, I know, a Pitt Bull you say…..but we have raised her since she was 8 weeks old. We have had the neighbors kids over many times, and she loves them. She is never rough, and has a "sense" about how hard she can play with them. She will run around with the 5 year olds, but just sit next to the three year old. Im actually more worried about our miniature schnauzer. She is the brat in the family. 🙂

    • I have no kids but I still get stare downs when people find out we have a pit. He is our "first child" and he has been around plenty of babies and toddlers. He actually was watching my husband use his foot to rock a swing one time and when the hubby stopped, our pit started nosing the swing to get it to move. Pit bulls are known as the nanny dog, now I’m not saying you should go rescue one and then leave it in the room with a baby alone but if you know the dog well and know its temperament then a Pitt becomes just another dog and I’d trust a Pitt over the smaller breeds

  • We just purchased a <A HREF="">puppy</A&gt; and we have been slowly interacting him with our baby to make sure that the two get along. After about a couple of weeks of doing it we have seen great results between the 2. They have been getting so close with one another!

  • We had our friend's fourteen month old daughter over for a short visit (she is adorable and the WORST birth control ever). It was fascinating to see how she interacted with our pet parakeets. We got a new word "brrrrd!" in response to them, and she loved watching them, but we realized that the birds area is 100% not baby friendly, and that the cages are fantastic for toddlers to pull on – so we'll have to work on all of that – since I don't think the birdies are going anywhere – my husband has had birds since he was 8 years old! So, not the typical kitty and puppy thing – but something we hadn't thought about much until our little visit!

  • I agree, Heather. I think bringing other kids over to see how your pet reacts is a great idea too.
    I think it was the way it was worded on one site that I found funny – it was like, "if you're unsure how your dog will react, dangle someone else's kid in front of it so you'll know for sure."

  • These are great tips – thank you! And yes, I do get asked if I'm giving up my two dogs. Um… no. But thanks. Also, I invited my friends over last night who have one-year-old twin girls for a 'test'. I can attest that it IS a good idea, even though it sounds like you are throwing fresh meat to the wolves. It gives you a sense on what the pets think about children and all the noises that come with them, and some of the things you need to work on with them.

  • Awesome post. Our cat is *old* – he was old when our first monster came along and now he's practically prehistoric. So he was like 'oh, a baby' roll over and go back to sleep.

    Incidentally, since I know your kids are alive and well, I'd highly recommend adding that important word 'first' in your next-to-last paragraph, so as not to confuse any new readers :>

  • These are some good ideas. My brother had a puppy when I had my daughter, a pitbull chihuahua mix, yea I'm not sure how they did it either. Well, the puppy was absolutely INSANE! The craziest most hyper puppy I'd ever seen. Well, when I would bring the baby by he would totally just stop and would completely calm down. I once laid my daughter on the couch while I ran to the bathroom when she was only a couple weeks old and when I walked out the puppy had jumped up there and was cuddled up right next to her resting his head on her chest with his little nose up against her chin. SO cute! I think they just have instincts like we do…they can read the vibes we let off. Just like they know their enemies too.

  • If someone asked me what I was going to do with pets once a baby came, I think I would have say something like, "Cook 'em up and eat 'em. Duh." just to see how they would react.

  • When we intruduced our 2 dogs to our newborn it went beautifully. My husband slept through crying, but our large dog would get to the cradle before me, and just sit there waiting for me. We now call her Nana. Now both dogs get up with me a night to nurse and never bug our son. They get the occasional sniff, but thats it.

  • We have two older kids and a new baby on the way and people still ask us if we plan on getting rid of our cat. My favorite is " If you leave the cat around the baby, It will bite his fingers off because of the milk smell" weve had our cat 5 years through two children and a daycare.. I think our cat will be fine.

  • Love it! I have two cats and I am 8 months prego. I've been asked so many times what I'm going to do with my kitties when my son is born.

  • Our 8 year old Siberian Husky has been wonderful with our 10 week old daughter. In the first few weeks when the baby was up every couple hours, and my husband slept peacefully through the night for 8 hours straight, the dog would get up with me EVERY time! I call her my "special assistant".

  • Great post! We are just starting to think about how our mental-midget Kitty will handle the new little guy…I don't really foresee too many problems, but she is dumber than the average feline, so it could be interesting. Thanks for the tips!!

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