GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Your fur babies might have come along before your actual baby, but that doesn't mean they'll necessarily welcome the little one with open arms. Preparing your pets for a new baby is tough to do, but The Humane Society of West Michigan is setting us up for success. Jennie Rademacher is the Media and Communications Coordinator for HSWM and she offered this advice:

Why is it sometimes hard for dogs to adjust to new babies?

  • It's harder for them to adjust because normally the behavior of the baby or toddler is unpredictable. Especially with toddlers because they can run around, or if they're starting to crawl, or roll over that kind of thing. That can be something the animals aren't used to, because with adults they can usually predict the movements.

What are some of the problems families face when introducing a new baby to their pets?

  • Typical issues can arise with toys, or a dog feeling trapped by a toddler. Diapers also can be an issue, because they can be interested in those. Diapers can be harmful if ingested.

What are a few guidelines to follow when introducing pets to a new baby?

  • If you can have someone else who's not normally in the home bring the child in, so you greet your dogs as normal. That way they won't think anything is necessarily different. Then, slowly introducing. Also, another good thing is getting things out early so if you have a bouncy seat or a stroller, walk with them without the baby being born yet. Get them used to those sounds and movements before the baby is even here.

The Humane Society of West Michigan also offers classes every three months, or so, that features tips and tricks to get ready for the introduction.

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