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Tips on introducing your dog to your new baby

You’ve spent nine months getting ready for the arrival of your new baby, but don’t forget about your furry family companion.

Your dog is used to being the center of attention and can have a hard time relinquishing that spot. Making gradual changes to your dog’s routine along the way can help ease the transition and before long, your pup and your baby will be the best of friends.

To help dog owners in this exciting time, the American Kennel Club offers the following tips for introducing your dog to your new baby.

n Gradually alter your dog’s routine. Start making changes to your dog’s daily routine months before your baby is born. Will his walk be in the afternoon rather than the morning? Start getting him used to what life will be like when the baby comes home.

n The nose knows. Before you bring the baby home, introduce a blanket with the baby’s scent on it to your dog. Let him sniff and become used to it.

n The first meeting. Make sure your dog is well exercised before you introduce him to the baby. Have one parent hold the baby while the other controls the dog on leash.

n Make it a family affair. Include your dog whenever you can. Make sure to give him attention and affection while the baby is around. Take your dog along with you on walks with the baby.

n Always supervise interactions between children and dogs. You should never leave an infant or toddler alone with a dog. Even the most trusted family pet can be startled by a sudden scream or cry from your child.

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