(KCBS) – KCBS’ Jeff Bell talks to Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at the San Francisco SPCA, about introducing your pet to your newborn.

There are easy steps to introducing your pet and your newborn. It’s important to think about this ahead of time, because poor planning all too often results in hasty decisions to give away or surrender a family cat or dog after a baby arrives. We all know how much a newborn changes the dynamic of a household. If that is made harder by an anxious cat or dog, it sometimes results in the cat or dog having to find a new home.

There are a few steps that new parents should take. First, start the introduction before the baby comes home from the hospital. Bring a blanket or piece of baby’s clothing home and introduce the smell to your pet. Once mom and baby are home, start with short, positive introductions. Sit next to your pet with your baby and keep rewarding with treats so that there is a positive association. Keep in mind to never force an introduction and never ever leave a large dog alone in a room with a newborn under a few weeks of age, even for a moment. It takes a while before a newborn smells like a human to a dog.

As hard as it might be, try to keep your pet’s schedule and routines the same as before: feeding times, walks, play. There can be a wonderful dynamic between children and animals in the house. With just a little bit of effort, you can all be one big happy family.

Animal Update airs on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM on Sundays at 1:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m., and 9:21 p.m.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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