My partner and I are big animal lovers, we live in a small house, and we want to start a family. When should I get a pet (a cat or a small dog), before the birth or after? Should I keep the pet completely away from my baby in the beginning and when can I start introducing them to each other? Thank you for your response!
Thank you for your question - when/whether to have a pet is a subject that lots of families consider.
You are right that there are certain safety implications when you own a dog/ cat and have children. Dogs in particular should never be left alone with a young child, no matter how trustworthy you feel the dog is. You would want to keep the dog out of reach of the baby as the dog may react in an unpredictable way to your baby.
With cats, the major issue is that they need to keep away from places where your baby will sleep (cot, crib, bed, car seat, etc) and cats do tend to seek out warm, comfortable places to sleep. You can use: locked doors, stairgates or even specific cat net products.
It is really only your family which can decide which pet is best for your family situation and the space that you have available. Of course, another option is to have a rabbit/ guinea pig that you can care for in the house but that can also go into a hutch/ run when the baby is awake.
The advantages of getting your pet before you have a baby are:
- time to get used to your pet and their character before looking after a new baby
- you can give your pet more attention before the baby comes
- establish a good setup with the pet before you are also looking after a baby
The advantages of getting a pet after you have your baby are:
- you could wait until your baby is a bit older, or at least, not newborn before you get the pet
- you will have experience with your baby so can make a sound decision on what type of pet to get
- your pet will not have to get used to having a child around; this will always have been the case
In terms of introducing your baby and pet - there are some useful books with more details on this including There's A Baby In the House.
Good luck with your decision.
Thank you very much for the response!
I agree with you if you guys have your pet before giving birth to your child so it's really good for you to get familiar with your pet and understands him.
Is it safe to clean the cat's litter box while pregnant? While breast feeding?