Can babies and pets co-exist? Read this mum’s answers to frequently asked questions about babies and pets living in the same home.
Fur Mum Is Pregnant
When my husband and I adopted a female Siamese cat in the first trimester of my pregnancy, we received so much flak from other people for bringing home a potential baby hazard.
There were warnings of how the cat fur would give my child asthma, breathing problems, rashes, allergies, and a whole slew of other health problems. And until today, the queries have not stopped.
If you’re curious whether your pet and baby can co-exist harmoniously, this article should address your concerns.
Will My Pet Hurt My Baby?
Unless your pet is the aggressive sort and exhibits signs of violence, or is fiercely protective about his territory, there is nothing to worry about! Most dogs are good with children while most cats are very docile by nature, so there is no reason why your pet would attack your baby.
Even in the event that your unknowing toddler agitates your pet by handling it roughly, it is not common that your pet would attack in response. Most of them would simply walk away from the offending tiny person.
Will the Animal Hair Give My Baby Allergies?
Theoretically, animal hair is not much of an allergen – it is the stuff that gets trapped in the fur that causes allergic reactions. So keeping your pet clean will reduce the chances of allergic reactions.
However, it is essential to note that parents with any form of allergy would have higher chances of genetically passing on the tendency of having allergies that may or may not be similar to the parent.
There has also been scientific proof that early exposure to pets in a baby’s life may reduce the chances of the child developing allergy-related symptoms like asthma.
It seems as though it may possible for newborns to get accustomed to fur (and the allergen particles that may be found in tit) and avoid forming any allergies in the first place.
Will my pet be jealous of the new baby?
Unless your pet is usually the type who doesn’t care much about how many hugs she gets a day, most pets will come to feel neglected after the baby arrives. They may be moody, have reduced appetite, and may even go through stages of withdrawal from human contact.
Thus, even if we might be overwhelmed by the demands of a new baby, it would be important to dedicate some one-on-one time to our pet daily. In other words, our pets should be given the same treatment that we would give to any existing older children in the house.
How Do I Prepare My Pet for the Baby?
If you’re one of those pet owners who believe that your dog or cat can understand human language, share the news of your pregnancy with them as you would to an older child.
Pets often play the role of an older sibling – playing with and watching over the newborn when mum’s not watching – and preparing them for a new member in the family is crucial.
It would be advisable to set up the baby’s room earlier so that your pet can get used to the changes in the house. If you would prefer your pet to stay off the baby’s crib or even out of the baby’s room, this would be a suitable time to start training your pet about the new boundaries.
Although it may sound far-fetched for some, it would be a good idea to expose your pet to babies before you’re actually due. Animals have a much sharper sense of hearing than us, and the piercing cries of a newborn may prove too much for their sensitive ears.
Ultimately, getting them used to the sights and sounds of a newborn will prepare them better for what’s to come.
Pets and Babies Living in Harmony
I know many success stories of parents who raise their offspring in the presence of pets and none have any horror stories to tell. In fact, most pets take well to the introduction of a new family member and even go on to form meaningful human-animal relationships.
It’s most likely that your pet will eventually become your child’s best playmate, and the relationship will cultivate your child’s love for animals.
My baby (who is no longer truly a baby anymore) loves to play with our pet cat and even invites her into bed to nap with him. He has not suffered any pet-related ailments and now at 20 months, I believe he probably will not start having problems with animal fur.
So if you were to come up to me and ask me if babies and pets can co-exist, my answer would definitely be ‘yes’!
Making Sure Your Baby Is Safe Around Pets
Baby’s safety is our top priority, especially when pets are around. We all know how unpredictable animals are, and how our baby’s movements affect the animals.
We need to never lose our eyes when babies and pets are playing together. Always make sure that you will supervise all of their interactions, and know the behaviour of your pets so you can avoid any possible harm to the pets and babies.
There are a lot of risks when owning a pet, however, we cannot deny the fact that pets promote a healthy lifestyle and can improve one’s or your child’s social and emotional development. But, how can we reduce any risks and ensure the safety of babies and pets from each other?
Here are the things that you need to know for babies and pets safety.
Baby Safety Measures Around Dogs
- Dogs are very aggressive, so NEVER let your baby or child alone with dogs no matter how well you know the dog.
- Check your child’s every action to prevent scratches or movements that can harm your dogs, because they might lead to dog bites.
- Even if dogs are well-trained, they can still attack you for no reason, so ensure that they know how to gently interact with your babies.
- Check your animal’s mood, so you’ll know when they will not snap at your baby or injure your child.
- Make sure that you will not let your baby or child play with dogs if they are eating, sleeping, or just woken up from sleep.
- Babies do not understand dangers and dogs are likely to be confused. If your dog is signalling any stress, move your baby away from the dog.
- Not only you will prioritise your baby’s safety, but you also need to check and bring your dogs to the vet, so you’ll know if your dog carries any diseases or viruses. In that way, it will not only help your dog’s health but also your child’s and you of course.
- Even if there’s a baby around, check as well if there are any changes on your dog’s skin or if there’s any skin irritation.
- Keep clean around dogs and make sure that the feeding equipment of your dogs is clean. Your dogs should be well-groomed and be up to date with their vaccinations.
Babies and Cats
Unlike dogs, cats are very gentle and easy to take care of and play with. You can approach cats easily if they sense that you will not do harm.
However, the cat is still an animal. They are unpredictable too, and you can provoke them to scratch and bite for no reason. So here are the things you can avoid to ensure the safety of your cats and babies to each other.
- Do not approach or let your baby near your cat, if cats are eating, sleeping, or peeing.
- Cats are scared of sudden movements and shouting. So if your baby or child tends to do a lot of motions, move them away from your cat to avoid sudden reactions from your cat too.
- Read your child’s and cat’s body language.
- If you want your baby to play with the cat, make sure that your baby is a bit far from your cat’s tail, so you can avoid scratches from cats. This scares them and may lose patience.
- Keep your cat clean and well-groomed, so it cannot contact any diseases that might compromise its health and your baby’s.
- Bring your cat to the vet for advice, to know more about its safety and health around children.
- Keep your cats away from environments that can lead them to have diseases and carry viruses.
Here are the things that a parent and a pet owner need to remember when petting a dog or cat and having a baby around, so it will not be harder for you, to prioritize their safety and can create an amazing relationship for the cats, dogs, and babies.
Again, if you’re asking if dogs and cats are a danger to babies, always remember that pets are pets, and are very unpredictable.
There are a lot of risks your child can get if you will be owning a pet, specifically, dogs and cats. Most problems that parents are worried about are the diseases, allergies, and viruses it might carry that can be passed on to your child, and affect its still-developing immune system.
Fret not, parents! Because as long as you are avoiding the risk of infections by cleaning up, removing uneaten foods, keeping away your pet from your child’s toys and nursery, and can manage to be a responsible pet owner, it will not cause any problems.
This article was republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore.
Here at theAsianparent Malaysia, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Malaysia is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.
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