The moment you announce your pregnancy you will receive friendly warnings from older relatives and total strangers to get rid of your pet. There is nothing more delightful than your dog and baby being best friends. Animals are full of love and after the initial hic-cups you will have introduced two beings to a lifetime of fun and playing together.
Here are some tips from a veterinarian dad:
1. Make sure your pet’s annual vaccinations are up to date (Anti-rabies, distemper, tetanus etc).
2· De-worm your dog or cat regularly all through your pregnancy and until your child is a year old.
3· During your first trimester, de-worm him more than usual ie. every two weeks.
4· Continue de-worming once every month until your delivery.
5· After your delivery, de-worm him once every three months for several years.
6· A good de-worming tablet is Drontal Plus. Your vet will prescribe the correct dosage.
7· It is untrue that your pet will maul your baby.
8· Try and remember that until your baby arrived, your pet was the focus of your affection. However unimportant it seems, don’t neglect your pet for the baby. When your husband comes home, let him greet your pet first. Your pet will soon realise the baby is not a threat.
9· Do not change your dog’s daily routine of walks, play etc. after the baby arrives.
10· To introduce your baby to your pet, you will need to start several weeks before your delivery. Buy a soft doll and swaddle it in a shawl. Let your dog sniff it gently. Treat the doll like the new baby. Hold it, coo and cuddle it daily. Your pet may be jealous and a little freaked, but will settle down in time. Persist and set some rules for your pet now. Eg> minimum access, no chewing or playing.
11· In the hospital, keep a vest or sheet near your baby to absorb it’s scent. Let your husband dress the doll in this vest and introduce it to your dog. It will familiarize your pet with the baby’s smell.
12· When you bring the baby home, it is very important to stop outside the main door and introduce the animal to the baby before you enter the home. Let your pet sniff, smell and lick your swaddled infant. Make sure the dog enters the home first followed immediately by the baby. This is extremely important so that the dog believes the baby is his.