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).
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!
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.
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.