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5 Tips to Take Care of Your Dog When You’re Having A Baby

Today is the first post in the series of how we’re preparing our dog for the birth of our first baby.

While we’re working on a lot of things, this first post sort of starts at the end—delivery day. Since we don’t know exactly when this day will come and how our labour will go, I want to make sure we’re set up to make sure Baxter is taken care of.

As this series progresses, you’ll be able to see all of the posts here. And, as always, if you have serious behaviour concerns or special needs when adding a baby to your family, our best advice is to work with a reputable, professional trainer.

As our baby’s due date approaches, I want to have a reliable (yet flexible) plan for delivery day to make sure Baxter is taken care of.

A few months ago I shared some tips to prepare in case you’re faced with an unexpected emergency, and a lot of those tips apply for delivery day.

However, we have a little more advanced warning when it comes to our baby’s due date. I’m trying to lay things out to make sure Baxter and our pet sitters face as little disruption as possible.

5 Tips for dog care when you’re having a baby

Care of your dog when you're having a baby

1. Have pet sitters lined up well in advance of your due date.

Who you gonna call?

While my in-laws are our go-to pet sitters, they are on vacation for a few weeks before our due date. If baby decides to make an early appearance, we need a back-up that may need to be available quickly.

This means my sister (who is currently on maternity leave).

While my sister knows Bax and is comfortable with him, she has not taken care of him before. So, she may need some extra instructions and keys to our house. If your pet is going to a boarding kennel, identify a friend or family member in advance who can handle transportation so you have one less thing to think about on your delivery day.

See That Mutt’s post: How to choose a pet sitter.

2. Prepare written dog care instructions.

I have to do what?

Having written instructions for your dog’s care will make things easier for you, your dog and whoever is taking care of him.

This is particularly important if your dog needs medication or requires any special care. We’re fortunate Baxter’s needs are pretty basic, and my husband’s parents have taken care of him many times.

However, in case my in-laws are not available or we don’t have time to do an in-person hand-off, having written instructions will be important. We’ll have a hard copy and electronic to make sure there are no questions about what Baxter needs.

3. Your place or ours?

In our case, it depends on who is going to be taking care of Baxter as to where he will be. For my sister, dropping in to take care of Bax at our house is easiest. For Matt’s parents, they will come and get him and take him to their house. Talk this over with your pet sitter and be real about what will work best for your dog and your sitters.

Care for your dog when you're having a baby

4. Plan a realistic time frame for your pet sitter.

How long’s this gonna take?

I’m hoping Baxter can be at home when baby and I come home from the hospital. However, depending on how delivery goes or your personal preferences, your dog may not be the first thing you want to see when you arrive home with a baby.

Maybe having someone else to take care of walks, feedings and bathroom breaks for the first week would make life easier. Be real about what’s best for your new family and make sure your pet sitter is on board.

5. Have a “go bag” ready for your dog.

Just like I’m preparing a bag to take with me to the hospital, I’ve prepared a bag for Baxter too. The bag has bowls, food, leash, towels, poop bags, a toy and care instructions. It has everything he’d need if we were going away for a weekend.

Tips for dog care when you're having a baby

I’ve put it in the baby’s room, and our pet sitters know where to find it (and to also grab his favourite bed).

In my ideal world, the baby arrives a few days after its due date (there’s so much I still want to do!), delivery is quick and painless (a girl can dream, right?) and we’re home within 24 hours.

However, I’m aware that baby has not signed off on my schedule. Therefore, I’m trying to be as flexible as possible in my planning for delivery day. I want to make sure we and our sitters are as prepared as we can be to make sure Baxter is taken care of no matter what happens.

For other parents out there, how did you handle your dogs when you gave birth?

Any stories, good or bad (but mostly good) to share?

Let us know in the comments!


Julia Preston is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her husband live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada. Follow Julia on Twitter here and Instagram here.

Barbara Rivers

Friday 16th of February 2018

Just like Lindsay, I've taken care of several of my clients' dogs when their families were en route to delivering their first babies! They all let me know well ahead of time of their delivery time window and I made sure not to schedule time off during that time frame. Planning ahead is everything!

Julia at Home on 129 Acres

Monday 19th of February 2018

That's such a meaningful way to help new parents. It's made me feel much better to plan ahead as much as I can. Even knowing babies don't always abide by the plans, knowing I have other people I can rely on and knowing Bax will be well taken care of is so comforting.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 15th of February 2018

As a pet sitter, I've gotten to be a part of the dog care side a couple of times. It's rewarding. I was there when one family introduced their 2-day old baby to their 1-year-old, 150-pound English mastiff. Often, people have family members take care of the dog like you are doing, but sometimes hiring a pet sitter or dog walker is helpful.

Julia at Home on 129 Acres

Thursday 15th of February 2018

Aww. That sounds like a really special moment. We feel very fortunate that our family is able to help. But depending on your situation, supplementing family with professionals or relying on professionals entirely can make a lot of sense.