Introducing a child to a new sibling is never easy – especially when the new sibling is an entirely different species. Helping your furry first born adjust to its new furless brother or sister can be tricky, but it’s by no means a lost cause. There are several things responsible homeowners can do to foster peaceful co-residence between their toddlers and their pets.

Be mindful of your flooring
No matter how frequently you groom them, pets carry all sorts of germs that could possibly prove harmful to young children whose immune systems have yet to fully develop. It is therefore advisable to replace carpets, which can trap all kinds of dirt, with wooden floors as these are often softer than tiles and make for better crawling support for toddlers. Similarly, in rooms where both baby and puppy spend time together, loose mats should be cleaned regularly, and floors ought to be swept and mopped daily.

Pack away regularly
Chew toys and pet bowls should also be placed out of reach of your furless wandering offspring. Toddlers put absolutely everything in their mouths. No matter how vigilant you are as a parent, you cannot always get to them in time to prevent them from tasting whatever is within their reach. Keep your pet’s belongings in a room that is shut off from your toddlers or, if your pet is large enough, on shelves that are too high for your toddler to reach. Similarly, train your pets not to touch the toddler’s toys. As an additional precautionary measure, wash both the pet and the toddler’s toys regularly.

Develop good hygiene habits
As toddlers grow, you can teach them to wash their hands after playing with the pet. Put a small step under the bathroom basin and place a drying up towel at toddler-reaching level to make it easier for your little one to wash up on his/her own.

Teach your toddlers pet etiquette
You need to teach small children not to pull pets’ hair and to play gently with them. You could set up reward charts in their bedrooms for some visual encouragement of good behaviour and a corresponding designated time-out corner could be set up for when they break any of the rules for pet-appropriate behaviour.

Final Thoughts
Ultimately, the most important thing to provide for is the health and safety of both parties. If your property makes it difficult to achieve this, then you ought find a new home better suited to accommodate both your pet and your children.

Need more advice? Reach out to your nearest RE/MAX Office today.