How should I introduce my new baby to my puppy?

Our question this week was:

How should I introduce my new baby to my puppy?

After your baby is born, but while he or she is still in the hospital, send home some items carrying his or her smells, including blankets or clothing. It's also a good idea to record your baby's noises and cries, letting someone play them for your dog to see his reaction and to acclimate him to the unfamiliar sounds. Dogs typically will show some interest but little agitation. If your dog seems particularly upset by your baby's sounds, ask your veterinarian for further information about safety issues.

Finally, when your baby comes home, be prepared with a collar and leash so that your dog can easily be controlled. A leash is preferable to continuous reprimands as your dog jumps up, excited to see his "mom" again. Another adult can hold your baby while mom and dog greet each other. After everyone has calmed down, you might allow your dog, still on a leash, to investigate little feet or hands.

Once his curiosity is satisfied, the average dog will ignore a newborn. However, for the sake of safety, even the most accepting and gentle dog should never be left alone with an infant, whether your baby is awake, sleeping, in a carrier, or on the floor.

Our question this week came from Becky R., St. Charles, MO.

Dr. Debra

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