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Mommy Musings: Thoughts and Opinions

How to Have Happy Babies and Happy Dogs

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Sawyer walking Juno at 19 months old.

If you have read my blog before you know I have three babies and three Furbabies. My dogs are Juno (5) and Jessie (7) and my cat is Ripley (5).

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Walking Juno: now he was an expert.

There are a lot of people that think you can’t have both, but I am proof that you can…there is just some work involved.  Two of my animals are rescues so it’s not like they are perfect, although I often joke that its the kids that I don’t trust! I know my dog won’t bite Sawyer, but I can’t say that he won’t bite her! Ripley, especially is a wild cat, and even though I saved he life when.she was a baby (I fostered her at 600 grams with a rectal prolapse) you’d never know.it!

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Jessie with my dad and Sansa

I think growing up with animals is great for kids because it teaches them how to be resposible and caring, and the latest studies show that kids who grow up with pets have a lesser chance of developing allergies.

So here are some of my tips on making it work (whether you are getting a pet, or already had some).

1. The pet is your responsibility. That means if you already have one you shouldn’t just get rid of him or her because baby is on the way. Or, if you are getting one, don’t expect your child to follow through on their promise to always walk and feed. At the end of the day, it’s on you.

2. Try to get your animals used to children ahead of time. If have family or neighbours with kids have them over.

3. Don’t wait until the baby is born. If you are concerned about your pet start training them while you ate pregnant. You can often find cheaper training sessions offered by your local animal shelter or humane society.

4. Practice. You may feel a little silly but walk your dogs with the empty stroller to get them used to it. Jessie loves to run away to I would tie her to my waist so I could be hands free (I always have and always will clip Juno to my purse).

5. Invest in a good vacuum that picks up pet hair. You don’t want hair everywhere when the kids are putting everything in their mouth.

6. Never leave your kids and your animals alone, unsupervised. That’s when accidents happen. Sawyer will pull the dogs hair, hit them, kick them etc. If I am not watching. Ripley has taken a couple of swipes at Sawyer so he learned pretty fast to leave her alone.

7. Make time for everyone. Dogs especially tend to act out when they feel neglected so make sure to find at least a couple of minutes to make them feel special. Walking my dogs is my favourite “escape” from the kids on Jeff’s days off, plus it helps you keep in shape 🙂

8. Toys. Try to get toys that are both baby and dog friendly. You’d be surprised how similar the two are! In fact, fisher price has their own dog toy line. It is inevitable that baby will get her hand on a dog toy or puppy will enamour himself with a baby toy. Jessie loves to eat wooden toys (puzzle pieces, blocks, trucks) so we are very careful to keep those out of her reach and not buy more.

9. Stick to dry food. Yup, my son has eaten the dog food. I joke that it gives him a glossy coat. Seriously though, eating wet pet food could make your child sick. Dry food, however, is heated to such a high degree in the production process it sterilizes it. Plus, it is good for your pet’s teeth and usually makes their poop smell less.

10. Google is a great resource. There is tons of great info out there about having dogs and kids. Just make sure your info comes from a reputable source.

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Jessie cleaning Sansa

Tip: doggy poop bags are great to have in your pocket. You can use them for getting rid of diapers when you are out and about, or a makeshift storage bag for leftover food. I think I almost gave someone a heart attack when they saw me eating a cookie out of a poop bag! LOL

These are just a few general tips for mixing dogs, cats and kids intended to show that you CAN do it. If you have a specific issue you would like advice on, feel free to comment below.

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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of three children and expecting #4. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “How to Have Happy Babies and Happy Dogs

  1. I always had a dog when I was a kid, and I think every kid should have a dog or a cat it it’s at all possible. You’re quite right when you say don’t put much credence in your children’s promise to always walk and feed your pet. My daughter (14 at the time) begged me to let her have a dog (a German Shepherd) and promised faithfully to care for him. As you can imagine, the promise lasted one day 🙂 I take my hat off to you, Shannon (?) for your courage.

    Posted by Lyn | June 2, 2013, 8:16 am
    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment. I am glad people are liking the post. I just wanted people to see that you don’t have to be Cesar Milan to make it work and although there are some sacrifices, there are definitely benefits to having animals in your life, for you and your kids. 🙂

      Posted by Shannon | June 2, 2013, 4:11 pm
  2. Lovely post! I wish I had some children to practice this info on with my two cats! (We weren’t blessed with human children) This is all sound, and loving, advice! Thanks again for contributing to Sunday Showcase; hope to see you there again soon. 🙂

    Posted by Debb Stanton | June 2, 2013, 1:17 pm
    • Thanks for the comment, and you are very welcome. I have loved animals my whole life and I knew it would be tough but I would make it work. I think as long as you take it all in stride and learn to laugh about it you get the best of both 🙂

      Posted by Shannon | June 2, 2013, 4:09 pm
  3. Hello! I popped over from Atlantamomofthree’s blog. Glad to have found your blog.

    My 18 month old girl loves dogs and I think she’d give up anything for us to keep one! I’m a dog lover too but unfortunately I don’t think I am able to commit to having one now especially one my husband and I both work full time and we don’t have anyone else at home in the day. My dog would be lonely! I do expose my kid to lots of animals though. She loves them and like what you said, I do think it’s a great plus for kids to grow up with animals!

    Posted by Zee | June 2, 2013, 2:06 pm
    • Thanks for your comment. You ate right, having pets is a big responsibility and not to be taken lightly. I think its great that you expose your daughter to animals, I got my animals from my grandmother and my mother. 🙂

      Posted by Shannon | June 2, 2013, 4:07 pm
  4. Hi Shannon! I think a lot of the problems with cats/dogs and babies is the jealousy of the animals toward the new baby. They see this new baby as an intruder that is going to take time away from them. I was so worried about our cats (3) and bringing a new baby home. Living in a 1100 sq. ft condo with 3 adults, 3 cats, an entire household full of toys, baby equipment and a baby is very tight, so there wasn’t really anywhere to escape for the animals or the baby. We were told by many people in my husband’s family that the cats needed to go or be watched very carefully because they will suffocate the baby and try to kill it. I found out shortly after that most European people do not like cats. Needless to say, we kept our cats, they are our babies too. I will admit that they were neglected a bit when it came to spending time with them. Midnight, our youngest wasn’t allowed to sleep in our bed at night the first few nights because we had the baby in a bassinet off the bed. We also closed our son’s door at night so the cats were not allowed in his room. We still do not encourage or allow them in his room, just in case. As our son grew up into a toddler, he wanted to take care of the cats more. He loves chasing them, reprimanding them when they get onto things they shouldn’t be on, feeding them, and petting them. We have had a few swipes, a few hisses (from our 17 year old cat) and one bite from my mom’s cat. The bite broke the skin but wasn’t too bad. When I told my mom, she broke out into tears and asked if I wanted her to put her cat down? I looked at her in horror and said “what? why?” It didn’t even occur to me to do something like this. Things like this happen, and this cat is a play biter. It’s not like she attacked my son for no reason. My son pet her spot on her back that makes her a little psycho, lol. Anyway, I like the idea of walking an empty stroller with the dogs to get them used to it. Here’s a tip for cats, which we did end up using. When going to the hospital, take a small blanket that you don’t mind the cats having. Then put it with baby so it gets the smell of the new baby on it. When coming home from the hospital, leave the baby with a family member outside the home, and go in first alone to visit your pets. Give them lots of love and tell them where you were and that there is a new addition to the family. Then bring in the blanket so they can have time to smell and make the connection. Then bring the baby in and allow the animals to smell around. Don’t push them to come near the new baby until they are ready. Try not to make a big deal about it either. We did this method and it worked well for us. For the first few months, we only saw our cat at night because he did not want to be anywhere around when the baby was crying. Then we watched the cats become very protective over our baby and they would run up and down the halls at night crying and meowing if our baby’s arm or leg came out of the crib side. This led to us putting up bumper pads (Shock, the horror, how could you do this, suffocation hazard!). Peace of mind, that’s how! Animals are wonderful additions to the family and help teach responsibility, caring and compassion.

    Posted by Sarah | June 5, 2013, 12:59 pm

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