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Published: Nov 10, 2011

Having a new baby is a wonderful experience. However, those who own a dog may need to help it with the transition before and after the baby arrives.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, this new stage in life can bring about anxiety, stress and curiosity for the family dog. To help ease the transition, owners will need to begin getting the pet adjusted as soon as they find out a new bundle of joy is coming.

VCA recommends that owners first think about how much exposure their dog has already had with babies or small children. If they haven't had much exposure, it might be helpful to ask relatives or friends with kids if you could bring the dog around their children to see how it reacts and to begin appropriate training for the dog if necessary.

Once owners address how well their pet does with kids, it's time to make a schedule - time for play, feeding and daily walks - that dog owners must stick to even after the baby is born. This can show the dog that it is still a priority, which can ease its anxiety during the transition.

Once the baby has arrived but before it comes home, bring a piece of clothing with the baby’s scent on it home for the dog. Let him smell and become acquainted with the item - but do not let him chew it or play with it. When you bring the baby home, keep your dog on a leash and introduce him to the baby in a quiet, controlled manner. Do not allow him to become over-excited or jump up on you or the baby. Use praise and reward your dog for his patient behavior and good manners. Continue making time for your dog every day to make him feel a part of the newly expanded family.