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Are you expecting a baby and have pets? Many expectant parents are worried about how their pets will do with a new member of the family in the house, and may even ask if pets and babies combine at all. Depending on the kind of animal you have, and the character of your furry friend, pets and babies can be an excellent combination, or a very dangerous one.

Cats and dogs are the most common pets that expectant parents are worried about. Of course, birds, fish, and reptiles do not usually pose any kind of threat to a baby... although the baby may pose a threat to them, when he or she gets a little older and may be too rough. Let's take a look at dogs and cats and how they combine with babies.

Dogs and your baby

Dogs are pack animals, and some feel their place in the hierarchy is threatened when a baby comes along. You know your dog best, and are in a good position to assess whether your dog could act aggressively toward the baby. You can prepare your dog for the baby by practicing listening skills.

Tell your dog to sit and stay in one place in the house, and check whether it will comply. Make sure to give your dog plenty of attention once your baby is born too, and don't keep them separated at all times so that your dog won't feel jealous of your baby and will start seeing the baby as a part of its pack, too. Dogs can be excellent protectors for kids, and may guard your baby with their life. But leaving a dog and a small child alone together, even briefly, is never a good idea. This is even more true once your baby starts being mobile, and may grab the dog or touch its food.

Cats and babies

Cat owners have less to be worried about than those with dogs. It is a good idea to introduce your cat or cats to your baby as soon as possible. In the early days, there are two main concerns. One is the possibility that your cat will want to sit on your small baby (which is nice and warm!) and maybe even on its face.

Beware of smothering. Also be careful that your cat does not playfully claw the baby. Little hands and feet that are moving can be very exciting to cats. As your baby grows older, you will need to be careful that she doesn't crawl into the cat's litter tray. On a related note, you may like to read about how to prevent older kids from being jealous after the new baby arrives.

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