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Planning a family with a dog in it

30 Mar 2013 | by Anu Bhambhani | Posted in: Wag Wiki

Should you or should you not? A nagging question that ardent dog lovers have to face when they want to add a dog to their family. Where’s the problem, you’d wonder. The problem arises when you are on the family way and want to bring home a pup at the same time. Different theories surround this. Some say it would do a world of good to the parents to be and to the child too if you get one but some say the prospective mother needs to be extra careful so as not to contract any disease from the dogs at home. The jury is still out on whether it is a good decision to have a dog during your pregnancy, it all boils down to how eager you are to have one, be it a miniature dog or a medium sized one or even a big dog breed. And, it just isn’t you alone, your husband might want one at this time. Sit down, talk it out, figure out if you are ready to take the responsibility of a dog while you are preparing to have a child. If you aren’t, the matter ends here. But, if it is a yes, then read on:

It’s a yes! Now what?

Finally you’ve decided and the puppy is coming home, before the baby…yayee! Good for you. Now that you have crossed your first hurdle, there’s a lot more you’ve got to do. Make your home comfortable for the little one. You are going to separate the poor pup from his mum. He is going to look up to somebody to take care of him. If you are already pregnant or even planning to conceive, you must ensure that you have someone clearing up the mess the pup makes before he gets potty trained. You don’t want to end up picking up a disease when you are having a child. The dog must have a dedicated space at home which is all his. This space too needs cleaning every day.  He would need to go out for walks in the fresh air, early in the morning or whenever he needs to go. If it is a miniature dog you want to get, remember their bladders are small so he may want to empty it quite often. If you and your husband live alone, then you need to divide duties amongst yourselves.

Deciding the breed

The most important aspect of bringing a dog home is to decide the breed you wish to have. Your dog choice can depend on various factors including whether to get a miniature dog or a medium sized one or a big one. Nevertheless, it is also important to take into account factors such as the dog shouldn’t be too heavy to carry around. If at any time of the day you have to pick up the dog for any reason, it shouldn’t weigh too much for a pregnant woman. Similarly, see that it is a low-maintenance dog and that his coat doesn’t need brushing every day. He should be fine even if you can’t take him out for his grooming sessions every now and then. Remember no matter how much you love the dog, when you are pregnant, you come first on the priority list. Most importantly, the dog breed should be a friendly one. You need to train him before the baby arrives so he must reciprocate your friendly advances.

Prepare for the baby

With the dog home and the baby about to arrive, things may get hectic for you but your dog, in a way, helps you to prepare for the time you will spend with your child. Cleaning the dog poo every now and then, bathing, brushing him, taking him out for walks, waking up in the middle of the night to see if he is doing ok-these are just some of the ways your little pet will help prepare you for the time post-delivery. Even otherwise, once you have brought home a dog, you can’t throw the dog out once the baby comes home. You should try all means to ensure the dog becomes friendly with the child too and doesn’t hold her in contempt. One good way, the experts feel, is start paying less attention to your pet when your pregnancy advances. This way, the dog will get used to the fact that he will have to settle for less time from you. So when the baby takes up all your time, the dog won’t miss you that much. Similarly, when the baby is still in the hospital, you can send home a garment worn by the baby for the dog to smell. A familiar smell will calm him towards a stranger and he won’t harm the child. And when the baby is finally home, make sure you don’t leave her with your dog alone, not even for a few minutes. You can never judge a dog from his breed. Give them time to socialize in front of you and then you can try this experiment.

Don’t ignore the dog

Bringing a baby into this world and in your home is probably the best thing to happen to you so no wonder you are going to be extremely attentive to the child. For the initial six months or so, your baby is completely dependent on you for every little need of hers. You have no choice but to dedicate yourself to the little angel. While this may be good for you and your bonding with her, your dog might start feeling neglected. The same pup you used to shower all your love on before the baby, now takes the back seat in your life. If it was a human being, you could have made him understand but it is not. It is a dog and for him you are the centre of his world. If he sees you taking away time meant for him, he will become jealous of the baby and may end up harming the child. Call it sibling rivalry if you will but you sure wouldn’t want that to happen. You need to take out time from your schedule to spend some time with the dog, despite the baby. Or you could ask your husband to take care of the baby while you pay attention to the dog or vice versa. The bottom line is that your dog should feel your love just as before. And in time, he will become best friends with the baby itself.

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