Busting Myths:
Pets and Babies

Of all the things that can impact the life-long commitment we make with our pets, having a new human baby can be a deal-breaker for some families. After baby, life is different. Sadly, this joyful event can mean the loss of a home for many animals. The most common concern PAWS staff and volunteers hear from expecting parents, "I won't have enough time for my pets." It's true - baby will need a great deal of the time and attention that used to be given to your pets. But you can still find ways to make this life change work for both two and four-legged members. We asked two families how they did it.

Make a plan

When Jenn and Josh Maruska decided to start a family, they were concerned that Lucy and Poe, their beloved 12-year-old cats who they've had since kittenhood, would have difficulty with the change. "It was a huge adjustment for everyone," explained Jen. "We didn't know how exhausted we would be with a new baby. There were times when the cats wanted to be on our laps, but we really just needed sleep."

"We made a deal that when Josh came home from work, he would take time with the cats before taking over the baby duties. It didn't happen every time, but by putting the cat's needs into our daily plan, we made sure they were still getting attention." Jenn also made a short daily to-do list that included the basics for the cats like scooping the litter box and refreshing the water dish.

Be creative with exercise

Lark and Kevin Ringled had to figure out how to keep up with the exercise needs of their dogs Chloe and Oscar after they brought home their son Bodin. "Some of the parents we knew used doggie daycare or dog walking services, which helped their dogs get enough exercise and attention," shared Lark. "With our dogs, we encouraged playtime in the backyard, and initiated games in the house, like hiding treats, to keep them stimulated. We also always allowed the dogs to be around Bodin to still get cuddle time." More than three years later Bodin is a genuine dog lover. From the kisses he gets from Oscar, it appears the feeling is mutual.

For more information on how to prepare your pets for the arrival of a new baby visit the Resource Library on paws.org, or stop by PAWS to talk to one of our adoption counselors.

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