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Dog, baby and you—bringing your baby home

Dog , baby and youDogs make a wonderful addition to a home and a child's life. Most dogs are merely curious about a new baby and very quickly get used to sharing their space and lifestyle with the new family member.

Precautions and care must be taken to help ensure harmony and prevent aggressive behaviour by your dog towards babies and young children.

Between 1999 and 2011, there were 656 reported injuries related to dog attacks on Brisbane children aged five and under. This equates to one child every week injured by a dog bite or scratch.

Tips for preparing your dog

  • Let your dog adapt early to the change in walking habits by walking it with an empty pram.
  • Walk around with a toy baby in your arms to introduce his/her presence and to determine whether there may be any potential issues. This also allows the dog to adjust to only having one hand available to them in the future.
  • Exercise your dog daily to release its energy and reward and praise it on occasion.
  • Introduce the smell of your baby to your dog early by bringing key baby items home from the hospital for your dog to smell.
  • Do not allow your dog to sleep on your bed.
  • Talk to your midwife about the crying noise CD that may help your pet acclimatise to a new noise.
  • Pace the dog/baby introduction in a slow, calm and safe manner.

Tips for bringing home your baby

  • Do not attach your dog's lead to the pram when out walking.
  • NEVER leave any dog unattended with a baby and always supervise children around dogs.
  • Constantly monitor your dog for danger signs (such as growling, raised fur, bared teeth and staring) when children are around. Seek professional help from a behaviourist or vet if concerning behaviour persists.
  • Did you know that worms in pets may cause major human health problems, including blindness in children? Talk to your vet today to ensure your pet's medication is up-to-date.
  • Set boundaries to give everyone space by using a child gate that closes off the nursery to your dog.
  • Never have dogs and babies travelling in the car without a physical barrier between them.
  • Keep children away from the dog when it is sleeping, feeding or recovering from an illness.
  • Like dogs, cats also require adjustment time. Ensure that they stay out of the cot and keep litter trays away from a crawling baby.

Dog, Baby and You video

Brisbane City Council has prepared a video to help you prepare your dog for your new baby. Please click on the link to view the Dog, Baby and You video.

Some of the topics include:

  • preparing your dog for the baby's homecoming
  • helping your pet adjust to your baby's cry
  • pet care such as vet checks, grooming and arranging care
  • introducing the baby to the dog
  • safety in the car and with prams
  • getting ready for the active toddler years

Supplied by Brisbane City Council

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430108
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 20/1/2014
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