Four Tips to Keep Your New Baby Safe around Pets

Click here to hear Mairead chatting to Jillian Godsil about this topic on Wicklow this Week 21/02/2020

Understand Dog Language

This is a good idea for all dog lovers. The most useful thing to do is to be familiar with what an uncomfortable or fearful dog looks like and respond to that, adjusting the situation or removing the child from the danger zone when a dog displays any of these behaviours.

Be aware that a dog can go from a low level on the ladder of fear displaying subtle hard to read signs for the untrained eye that could be easily missed to a 10 which is a snap or 11 which is a bite.

Allowing Space

If your pet is used to sleeping in the bedroom or up on the bed with you, it is a good idea to set up another comfortable space for them and allow them to retire there. For cats allow them a multitude of spots and allow them to choose. For dogs that are used to a crate that can be a wonderful place for them to escape to .

Do not feel upset if your pet chooses to be on their own rather than cuddling up to you as they would normally. Also never allow children into a dogs crate. The pets need to have a safe child free zone to which they can escape to when necessary. If a child enters it, it is very dangerous, hence the phrase, “let sleeping dogs lie”


Even If your pet chooses to stay close to your young children and appears to get on well with them, they still must be supervised at all times. For instance if you got to take a shower in a pet free house you may leave the door open to listen for your baby or allow your toddler access to you. In a house with pets there is one more step to take which separate your pets from the kids to ensure the pets and toddlers are not able to interact without your direct supervision, i.e you must be in the same room rather than the next room at all times.

Babies and toddlers cannot be expected to understand pets warning signs and may do something painful or harmful to which the pet may retaliate.

Keeping Parasite Treatments Up to Date

All dogs and cats are born with worms! They are transfered from their mums via the placenta and milk when they are kittens and puppies. They need to be wormed regularly to keep the worm burden as low as possible and are never fully worm free. Worm eggs are too small to be seen by eye and can be on the coat of your pet and sometimes on their tongue and mouth due to grooming.

The best way to prevent transfer to our mouths is by regular good handwashing and regular worming to reduce the number of adult worms shedding eggs. Due to the lifecycle your pet will never be completely worm free. Not all wormers are the same! Depending on your pets lifestyle (coutnryside/city indoor, outdoor, part of the country) they may require different type and frequency of wormer. Your Local Vet is the best to advise on what worming regime is best for your particular lifestyle.

Need More Help?

Don’t forget Your Local Vets is always a good place to start where we will be happy to provide plenty of great advice, tailored to your unique situation. In the meantime check out more useful reading here:

For more on reducing anxiety in house pets see

Tips to keep dogs calm during a period of change check out

Understanding Your Cat :

To see about how you can prepare your pet in advance of a new arrival check out

Educating yourself and older children on general safety around dogs visit

For more on worms see and

Local Puppy and Dog Training and Puppy Socialisation

Qualified Local Animal Behaviourist

Written by Mairead Kilbride MVB
Mairead has been Practice Principal at Petcare Vets since its opening in July 2017

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