How to Introduce a Dog to Your Baby | 5 Tips for New Parents

Thinking about the first time our dog and baby will meet can be overwhelming. Getting ready for a baby means crossing off all the to-dos on the parent checklist. You’ve set up the nursery, got clothes and food ready, and, of course, picked out the perfect car seat and stroller. Now the last thing to do is introduce your baby and dog. Here’s how you do it.

How To Introduce A Dog To A Baby

Taking things slow is the name of the game when the baby comes through the door for the first time. Before the initial meeting, ensure the dog has physical activity to relieve energy. The first meeting home from the hospital should be expected that your dog is full of excitement and curiosity. It’s important to keep them on a leash and keep distance from the baby. Also, be mindful that our tone is equally crucial as a dog will mirror our calm behavior. Gradually allow your dog to get closer every day.  A routine will eventually get established and our dogs will learn appropriate behavior around babies.

Related post: How to prepare your dog for your new baby

Is It Safe For Dogs To Be Around Babies? 

Young father outdoors in sunny summer park on a walk with cute little son, baby daughter in stroller and black dog.

It’s safe for dogs to be around babies, but that can only happen with proper supervision and training.  Even with a gentle dog, it’s best not to leave one in a room unattended with a baby. Some dogs can get frustrated or anxious about the sound or movement of a baby. Here are some other good habits to practice, which will ensure your baby is as safe as possible.

  • Don’t allow close face to face contact
  • Babies shouldn’t be on the floor when a dog is nearby
  • Use training techniques daily and reinforce acceptable behavior often
  • Allow your dog to spend time in a safe spot, such as a crate or separate room

Related post: How to childproof your dog door

Will My Dog Hurt My Baby? 

There can be a special bond that a baby and a dog have together, but it’s something that needs to be developed and nourished. They both seek attention and want someone to play with (and nothing can be cuter than that). Over the years, it is highly likely that your dog will become highly protective of its “brother or sister”. However, even the friendliest of dogs need proper guidance and training to ensure they don’t accidentally harm the baby.

Dogs need to be taught how to be gentle with a baby- and it needs to happen from the initial meeting. A dog will notice how we interact with our babies, picking up on our verbal and physical cues. Parents who have a calm demeanor, (even in the middle of a three o’clock in the morning fussy rant) will have a dog that follows suit. Early training is the best training- and it will take effort and patience to have a dog that is fully trusted around our baby. The reward is well worth it. 

Related post: Tips to stop your dog from reacting to a crying baby

Is Dog Saliva Harmful To Babies?

Dogs have strong instincts, and they realize our babies are vulnerable creatures. They sniff and lick…. and sniff and lick… everything, and sometimes the baby can be one such example. A dog licks a baby’s face because they are checking on them and showing affection. Dogs are licked from birth by mothers, so you can see why they might do this behavior.

It’s natural to feel uneasy about bacteria spreading from your dog to our baby, but a few licks here and there should be okay. Germs from dogs tend to stay within their species, so there’s no need to fret over a friendly lick on occasions. Just don’t make it an all-day  habit.

Of course, as your little one gets older, they’ll be tempted to play with the dog food and water. Learn how to child-proof dog food and water here!

How Will My Dog Impact My Baby Growing Up?

It’s an undeniable fact that dogs can make babies happy. There are positive chemical messengers in the body, serotonin and dopamine, that naturally get raised from being around our dogs [Source]. Not only will we be able to get some adorable pictures for our memory books, but we’ll know deep in our hearts that our babies are truly delighted. The evidence is clear with the smile plastered on their faces.

Wrap Up- How to Introduce a Dog to Your Baby

5 tips on introducing your dog to a new baby pin

To wrap things up, here are the five simple tips we learned to introduce your two family members

  1. Always supervise your dog and baby when they are together
  2. Don’t allow close face to face contact
  3. Babies shouldn’t be on the floor when a dog is nearby
  4. Use training techniques daily and reinforce acceptable behavior
  5. Allow your dog to spend time in a safe spot, such as a crate or separate room

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