Babies and pets: everything you need to know

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Catherine Le Nevez
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The arrival of a newborn in the house, as we know, revolutionizes the rhythms of the family and even the four-legged tenants are inevitably involved in the changes that will take place in the house. To better prepare yourself to face the happy event, you can try to follow some small precautions that they will help the animal to quickly get used to its new routine and put the baby in safety, in order to allow a peaceful coexistence to all.



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DOGS AND CATS, PREPARE THE ANIMAL FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEWBORN

"If there is already an animal in the house, the first thing to do is prepare it for the baby's arrival," explains Clara, Veterinarian and Associate Professor of the Veterinary Medicine Department of the University of our city. «The arrival of a baby represents the entry into the home of many new stimuli for pets. There will be new smells, noises, objects to which it is good to start preparing it before the baby arrives. One of the actions that is generally suggested to do in these cases is to bring the dog or cat into the room that has been set up for the child and let him get in touch with toys, cradle, playpen so that he can familiarize himself with these novelties. In the vicinity of these objects, which the animal will subsequently connect to the child, it is good to reward him with attention, a caress or cuddles for example, so that he can associate them with something positive ".



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PETS, KEEP HABITS WHEN A BABY ARRIVES

The attention and space of the four-legged friend will inevitably be reduced, but a good advice not to distort his daily life too much is to try to keep the old habits as much as possible: "You have to try to keep the animal's routine, perhaps trying Of respect the timetables of meals and walks. It is not certain that one person has to take care of it exclusively, it can also be several people, but it is important that his schedules and old rhythms are respected ».



DOGS, CATS AND BABIES: HOW TO ORGANIZE SPACES

Even the organization of spaces is a fundamental step when newborn and pet share the same roof, especially when they are established feelings of jealousy towards the child: «Generally this happens when the dog, for example, received exclusive affection and attention and struggles to accept the presence of someone with whom he inevitably feels in competition. In these cases, one could opt to try to keep animal and child separate, perhaps even with small gates, so that both have their own spaces without feeling an invasion of their environment. The same thing also applies to objects: toys and small accessories for the baby and the dog or cat must be kept separate, as well as for hygienic-sanitary reasons also to avoid any competitive attitudes ».



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DOGS AND CATS CAN SLEEP IN THE SAME ROOM AS THE BABY

Separate spaces, but also shared moments, for example during sleep: "Dog and cat can safely sleep in the same room as the child, indeed a great way to start coexistence all together could be to put the baby's cradle on one side of the parents' bed and the animal on the other, to make sure that the animal does not feel excluded and willingly accept the presence of the newborn ».

DO NOT LEAVE THE CHILD ALONE WITH THE PET

A good habit, which for the safety of the child it is always good to follow, is never to let the child and the animal interact alone. «There must always be an intermediary present to suggest to the child what behavior to have. Often it is not a question of the animal's aggression: it can also happen unintentionally, perhaps in a moment of play, that the child could get hurt. Therefore, adult supervision is always to be guaranteed. It is also important that the child is educated to respect the animal and on the behaviors to avoid ».

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DOGS, CATS AND INFANTS: THE RULES OF HYGIENE

Small but fundamental attentions must also be followed in terms of hygiene: "Washing your hands fluently or getting the child used to not stroking the animal on their bed can be the basis for a correct coexistence", explains Scarpa, Associate Professor of the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of our city.

WHAT TO DO IF THE ANIMAL LICKS THE BABY ON THE FACE?

In everyday life, it could also happen that the child receives the "affectionate kisses" of the four-legged friend or, escaping for a moment from the watchful gaze of the parents, puts his hands in the litter box. Don't panic, as Dr. explains: "It is enough to thoroughly clean the baby: there are hardly any risks. Every day children, especially when they crawl, come into contact with germs and bacteria, so we must not be alarmed ».

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DOGS AND CATS, BENEFITS FOR THE NEWBORN

Behaviors to follow, attention to home and pet hygiene, sharing common spaces are all practical aspects in managing a pet-friendly home. On the emotional level and the possibilities of a growth rich in stimuli, living with an animal at home has numerous advantages for the child. «Growing up with a dog or a cat is a great opportunity for children - explains the Doctor - because it is an opportunity to learn to respect and relate correctly with a species other than one's own. It means learning to respect the needs of another living being ».

NEWBORN AND PETS: FISH, CANARIES AND HAMSTERS

In addition to the advantages strictly related to relational and empathy processes, a great deal of scientific literature demonstrates that "Children who grow up together with pets are less likely to develop allergies, therefore, living with animals also improves the physical well-being of children», Explains Dr. Marzia Possenti, veterinary surgeon expert in behavior and in medicine and surgery of small exotic mammals and birds, Arca.vet Veterinary Clinic. It is therefore very important that children come into contact with the animals in the house, but always with the supervision of their parents. Not only in the case of cats and dogs: the same attentions and precautions must also be observed when it comes to fish, canaries or hamsters. «Being very small and delicate animals, it is preferable that adults are always present during child-animal interactions. Up to 3 - 4 years old, children have difficulty managing their strength and it is not uncommon for them to inadvertently harm the small animal in an attempt to grab it, for example. Unlike the common feeling, canaries and hamsters can also be very sociable and even peaceful fish in an aquarium, with which obviously one cannot interact directly, can be an interesting stimulus for the child and a way through which to discover behaviors and different life habits ».

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