A Quick Guide to Introducing Your Pet and Baby to Each Other

Written by Dr. Stefanenko Irina Borisovna on Mon, 27 November 2023

Key Highlights

  • Having pets around a baby is generally safe, but precautions are necessary. Dogs and cats are the focus, being common household pets.
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pets can strengthen infants' immune systems and prevent allergies. Establishing healthy bonds between pets and babies in the early stages is crucial.
  • Introduce pets to the baby's scent.
  • Train pets for simple commands and to acclimate to infant sounds and movements.
  • Always supervise interactions between pets and infants, and use positive reinforcement for good behavior.
  • Teach toddlers to respect pets' space and belongings, guiding their interactions gently.
  • Discourage children from kissing pets and ensure they wash their hands after contact.
  • Supervise handwashing after interacting with animals, especially before breastfeeding or formula preparation.
  • Keep children away from pets while they are eating to prevent bites or injuries.
  • Consult with a vet about the frequency of deworming for pets. 

Making Your Baby And Pet Companions For Life

Did you already have a best friend before your baby arrived? Was it a tiny snuggly and furry baby? Your pet is a part of your family, and it can be worrisome to introduce them and your baby together. You may have many doubts regarding if your infant is going to be safe around the pet and how will your pet react to the new addition to the family.  

We will focus on dogs and cats as they are the most common pets these days. Most pets happily welcome new additions to the family, so let’s see a few ways you can make it a safe environment for both the baby and the pet.

Getting Your Pet Accustomed To Your Baby

Getting Your Pet Accustomed To Your Baby

Pets usually need supervision when they are around infants and toddlers. No matter how gentle your pet is, it can react adversely if an infant is poking their eye or pulling their tail. 

Here are a few ways you can get your dog or cat used to the baby:

1. Smell therapy

Dogs use their olfactory senses to familiarise themselves with their surroundings. You can introduce your dog to your new infant’s smell to reduce their surprise and shock.

2. Training

It is necessary that your dog is well-trained in simple commands like stay, sit, and down. You can also train your dog to not get surprised by loud and sudden sounds like an infant’s cry and unexpected movements. For instance, be gentle with your dog by lightly touching him in different ways like poking, tugging on his ear or grabbing his skin, then reward her with a treat afterwards.

3. Supervision

  • Do not leave your dog and baby alone together. For the initial few years of your baby's life, it is necessary to supervise if your dog and baby are in the same room. Dogs can be territorial sometimes and with a new unfamiliar human in the house, they may get a little aggressive. You can use positive training methods like treats to train your dog for good behaviour. In addition, if you can’t supervise at a given moment, ensure that the dog is in another room or in a pen.
  • Cats, similarly, require equal supervision while being in the same room as the baby. Cats usually escape if a baby is hugging them or irritating them. However, in some rare cases, they may scratch or bite the baby. Cats are attracted to the warmth of the infant’s cot. You should use a cat net to keep the cat away from the baby.

4. Teach your baby to respect the pet’s space

It's important to teach your toddler how to respect your pet’s body, safe spaces, and belongings as they grow up. Always keep an eye on their interactions and guide your toddler as they learn to communicate and properly play with your pet. Taking an active role in the relationship between your child and the dog can happen by gently guiding your baby to interact with the pet.

A gentle reminder is to not force either of them to interact with each other. It's especially important to avoid forcing your pet to interact with your toddler. Instead, allow your toddler to approach the pet by themselves. If the pet appears to be anxious or fearful, speak to them calmly and gently. Also, remember to praise them for showing courage in the situation.

A Few Tips To Keep Your Baby Healthy Around Pets

Here are a few easy steps you can follow with your baby to avoid any infection or disease:

  • It is necessary to not let children kiss animals or put their hands or objects in their mouths after touching or playing with the animals.
  • After children touch, feed, or play with animals, it is important to wash their hands thoroughly using soap and water. Adults should supervise the children when they are handwashing to ensure they are properly cleaned.  
  • Before breastfeeding or preparing formula, it is essential to wash your hands.
  • To prevent the risk of bites or other injuries, it is recommended to keep children away from animals while the pets are eating. 
  • Check with your vet how often your pet needs to be dewormed.

Don’t Fret, Your Pet And Your Baby Can Be Best Friends

Don’t Fret, Your Pet And Your Baby Can Be Best Friends

  • It is observed by the American Academy of Paediatrics that pets may make infants stronger by strengthening their immune systems and preventing allergies. So, pets are indeed a man’s best friend and will be a great companion to your child growing up.  
  • So, you must take good precautions in the earlier stages of the baby’s life to develop a healthy bond between the baby and the pets. You can use simple boundaries and hygiene to get them used to each other. So, yes in most cases you can have your pet around the baby.


With proper precautions, boundaries, and hygiene, pets can coexist safely with babies. The potential benefits of having pets around, including immune system strengthening, make it worthwhile to establish a healthy bond between pets and babies. So follow the steps outlined above, and gently begin the process of acquainting your human baby with your fur baby! 


Dr. Stefanenko Irina Borisovna

Dr. Stefanenko Irina Borisovna Is a medical doctor based out of Ukraine. Dr. Borisovna graduated from the Vinnitsa State Medical University, in 1995. In between 1995-2000, Dr. Borisovna went on to further pursue her post graduation studying scientific activity from the Vinnytsa Medical University in Ukraine.

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