It’s exciting to be starting a family. Often when new parents start on their family journey, they want to get a pet too. Deciding to adopt is an excellent choice to make as well. It gives you the chance to give a home to a pet that would otherwise go unloved. Children love to be around animals and having a pet can help with their development. Pets are even likely to be protective towards them.
Cats and dogs are the most popular choices for a family pet. So we’re going to talk about some of the things you need to know first. The last thing you want is to have to send your new pet away because you weren’t aware of the responsibilities.
As expecting parents, you’re probably aware that cats can be dangerous to pregnant women. What you should also know is that this doesn’t mean you need to run away from every cat you come across!
Cats are dangerous to women in pregnancy. The danger comes from cat feces that could be hiding a rare parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. If you catch this disease at any point in your pregnancy, it can have severely damaging health impacts on your baby.
This infection is most often seen when someone has been handling a cat’s litter box or cleaning up any messes in the garden.
If you worry that you might have caught something from a cat, you should see your doctor. It’s possible that you may even be immune if you’ve had the infection before.
This kind of infection is scary to hear about and can make you panic. It is unlikely you’ll experience it, so you don’t need avoid cats entirely. If you don’t have anyone else to clear up the mess you can take precautions. If you wash your hands and use gloves, it can help you to stay protected. You should be changing the litter box daily, and you might want to try to keep the cat inside. You may even consider waiting till after your pregnancy to get a cat.
Once your baby is ready to come home, you might worry about introducing them to a cat. If you’ve adopted an older cat, it may take some time for it to get used to the baby. Cats aren’t always great with change! Allow the cat to get used to new smells such as baby lotion and give it a chance to have a wander round the nursery. Over time, it’ll bond with your child.
Cats are naturally curious animals, so you want to make sure you always keep the nursery shut. Be careful when your baby is sleeping too, cats love to curl up on warm things. As good as it’s intentions may be, it could mean difficulties for your child’s breathing.
Once you know what to be aware of, adopting at a cat shouldn’t be scary. Speak to your partner and make sure you have their support to look after the kitten. If you’re not sure, you might want to wait till your baby has been home for a few months. It gives you time to get into the swing of things, so you know you have time to look after an animal too.
Many expectant parents will visit an animal shelter before the birth to look for a puppy to bring home. It’s a lovely idea to have your child grow up with a puppy that can be its lifelong friend.
Getting a puppy is almost like having a child, it can be good practice for when your little one comes along! For parents on maternity or paternity leave, it can be the perfect time to bond with a new pet.
What expectant parents need to know, is that having a dog is a lot of work. They need feeding, exercise, vet appointments and attention. If you don’t have the time to look after a dog, especially a puppy, it’s just not worth it.
If you have someone to help you take care of the dog and share the responsibilities, it’s an excellent choice for a pet. Though, you must remember once the baby comes home you can’t forget about the dog. Many parents don’t realize how much work it can be to look after both and will end up giving their dog away.
A dog will have a lot of energy, so you need to be able to keep up. Both baby and dog will need love in different ways so you must make time.
As with any pet, dogs can carry diseases. Make sure the dog you choose has a clean bill of health from your vet before introducing them to the baby. You need to start thinking about things such preventing as pet fleas too. You don’t want an itchy crying baby!
If you think you can handle getting a dog too, you should go for it! If you start to struggle, ask a family friend to look after your pet for while you’re adjusting.
You want to spend time with both dog and baby and supervise them while they bond together. Don’t leave the baby unattended with the dog. Like cats, they are curious animals and may end up hurting a child. It’s unlikely they’ll mean it, but until your newborn is a little older you want to keep a watchful eye.
Whether you decided to adopt a cat or dog, it’s an exciting time in your life. Just like your child a pet can help to create your little family. We must stress that for any pets, parents must remember what’s involved. Never rush into getting a pet because it sounds like a fun idea. A pet will be around for a while, so you need to make sure you’re going to want to keep it.
If you have any questions or concerns about getting a pet when pregnant or when you have a newborn, seek medical advice. Your doctor will be able to guide you and let you know what’s right for you.