Dogs are tolerant of many things, such as babies. But do dogs like babies? Like their owners, dogs can like, or even love, babies, provided they have proper socialization and boundaries.
Babies and dogs have a lot in common, including the desire to play and bond. If both the dog and the baby are supervised, and things aren’t allowed to get out of hand (dogs can play rough!), dogs can be an excellent companion for a baby.
Bringing a Baby Home
All dogs and babies are unique, as are their relationships. Not every baby will enjoy being around dogs, and likewise for the dogs.
Remember, babies are loud, needy creatures that can disrupt the entire household. If your dog was your “baby” before, it may experience some feelings of sadness or jealousy at your new focus—the baby.
Your dog may also find the baby upsetting due to new sights, sounds, and smells. The routine will likely change as well, and your dog may need time to adjust.
If you know you’re expecting, take some time to teach your dog boundaries and appropriate play in advance. Teach your dog basic obedience skills and get it used to some of the new sights, smells, and sounds, such as baby toys on the floor, the loud sound of a baby rattle or toys, and the smell of baby lotion.
A new baby will probably change your routine a bit as well. If you’re structured with your dog, such as feeding at the exact same time every day, try to switch it up and feed your dog at different times. For example, if you usually feed at 6 am, feed at 5:30 am one day, then 7 am, then 6:45 am, and so on, so your dog isn’t set on that exact feeding time.
You may also want to consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker to help during the first few weeks. Your baby will require a lot of time and attention and having a helper can ensure your dog’s needs are met.
Benefits of Dogs for Babies
Dogs and babies love attention, and they can be excellent for each other. One of the biggest benefits of a dog for a baby is that dogs make babies happy. Interacting with dogs has been proven to increase dopamine and serotonin, which correlate to positive emotions.
There are also health benefits to growing up with dogs. Babies in households with dogs are exposed to pet dander and have been shown to develop a more resilient immune system.
Of course, it’s important to teach your dog to behave appropriately around the baby. Dogs inherently understand that babies are vulnerable and harmless, just like puppies, but they may need some training. Dogs can be rough by accident and may even become protective of the baby, and this is behavior that should be corrected.
No matter what, never leave your dog and your baby alone. Even with the best of training and the most easygoing personality, accidents happen, and visits between your dog and your baby should always be supervised.
Dogs are naturally protective of their pack, and that includes your new bundle of joy. Dogs generally enjoy babies and can develop strong bonds with them if they still receive plenty of love and attention themselves.