Pregnant with Pets: Preparing Your Pet

Share it Forward....Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

-Dr. Katie

Dr. Katie and Dogs

Dr. Katie and her dogs are preparing for a new arrival.  Photo credit of Tiger Paw Photography.  Used with permission.

So for the last 10 years, Fido has been your only “child,” but now it’s time to make room for a new addition of the non-furry type. So what should you do?

My husband and I are now expecting our first baby (a little girl by the way), we are working on preparing our dogs for a new family member. My pets have been featured numerous times in a number of blogs, but here’s an update with my current pet population.

Gary – Gary is a 13 (almost) year old greyhound I adopted to be my companion through veterinary school. He’s very old, and gets a little nervous with new things and loud noises (if they are loud enough for him to actually hear).

Ruby – Ruby is a 25 pound mutt I found abandoned with a litter of puppies 5 years ago. She’s now spayed and used to getting almost all the attention in my house. If she’s not by the food bowl, she’s probably in my lap.

Stevie – Stevie is my blind cat. She’s very easy going, and doesn’t get into too much trouble. She’s been great with children visitors in the past.

The chinchillas – I currently have 2 chinchillas living at home. They are sweet chinchillas, but will still nip at little fingers if they mistake them for treats.
So what changes are going on in my house?
Well one thing is for sure: I’m not considering getting any more animals at the moment. 1 new addition at time is a wise decision.

The routine.
My dogs are on a very well established routine. Working together, Chase and I plan on continuing our pets’ routine. My dogs are immediately let out to potty in the backyard when they wake up, followed by breakfast, and then let out again at noon. When I get home from work, I immediately let them out and then feed dinner. On days with perfect weather and if I get home before the sun sets, I like to take them on a brief walk. My greyhound is so old now that he doesn’t enjoy anything but the shortest of walks. He also can’t tolerate heat or cold. Since most pets thrive on routine, we will work to keep up this routine once baby Darr arrives.
No Free Lunch
In the past, my dogs have received their meals and attention for free. We are working on changing this. Now when it’s time for breakfast, my dogs have to sit (or lay down) before I’ll put food in the bowl. They have to wait for me to give them permission to run for the bowls (“Ok! Breakfast/Dinner time”). Before receiving attention, they have to sit (or lay down politely). We’ve also started working on “get in your bed” as a command for the dogs to go lay in their beds. You could use a room or a crate for this command as well.
Who gets the sofa?
In the past my dogs have had free reign of the sofa no matter who was sitting there. Now if a human being (no matter how tiny) is present, we want our dogs to wait until invited. We are doing this by establishing a command like “up” when we want them on the couch with us. If they get up uninvited, we give the command “down” and gently guide the pet to the floor.

No crazy-dog episodes in the house.
Occasionally, Ruby gets a wild hair and runs through the house like a wild dog. We used to laugh and encourage her. Now, she gets moved outside for her crazy-dog runs! A crazy-dog run could knock over a toddler.

Not time to pamper the dog
We are not pampering the dog before the baby arrives. After all, I don’t want my dogs to expect more attention. I’m actually limiting the attention I give my dogs now, because I want them to be used to more attention being given to the baby. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not neglecting my pets, but I am trying to get them used to receiving less attention.

I’ll probably write a few more blogs on this subject, but for now that’s a glimpse of what we are doing to prepare for baby Darr. One of the biggest points I want to stress is…there is no substitute for training your dog. Chase and I are also licensed foster parents (for human children). Before we ever welcomed the first child into our house, we took an obedience class for our dog. Both of us attended the class. It’s important for all family members who handle a dog to take the class. Choose a class that welcomes children (if you have them) and focuses on positive reinforcement. The other point that I want to stress is NEVER LEAVE A DOG UNATTENDED WITH A CHILD!! Even the best behaved, sweetest, most patient dog has its limits.

Share it Forward....Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Pregnant with Pets – Dangers of Dogs

Share it Forward....Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Ruby the dog

A few weeks ago, I wrote about cats and the expectant owner.   So what about dogs? Are dogs dangerous to pregnant owners? The answer is similar to what I said about cats. Generally dogs are safe to have when you pregnant, but some precautions should be taken.   Here are some tips to help keep pregnant women safe with dogs:

 

Make sure your pet is healthy and up to date on shots. A healthy pet is less likely to spread infection.   Are you a little behind on vaccinations? We’ll be happy to get your pet up to date, just give us a call at 573-875-3647.

 

Does Fido jump? Honestly, one of the biggest risks to the expectant mother from a dog is an impact to the stomach by a jumping dog. If your dog is a jumper, now is the perfect time to take him to obedience school. We have many excellent local training facilities and trainers, and you can call for a recommendation.

 

Obedience is important in general.   Does your dog have some annoying habits? There’s no better time to take him to a training class. It’s going to be even more important than ever that your dog obeys you and respects humans. Babies tend to behave unpredictably (from the dog’s perspective), make a lot of noise, and disrupt routines.   They also pull on tails and ears, and don’t necessarily respond to warnings from pets (like a growl). I’d recommend taking an obedience class with your pet. With the help of a trainer work on getting your dog used to having people handle every part of his body.   Dr. Katie occasionally has small visitors staying in her house, and she has found the commands “get in your bed” and “leave it” very helpful for keeping the children safe.

 

Wash your hands! As with any pet, we always recommend thoroughly washing hands after handling your dog. This is especially important while pregnant.   It’s also best to have someone else in your house clean up accidents or scoop poop. We all love puppy kisses, but it’s probably best to avoid letting your dog lick you when you’re expecting!

 

 

Remember, if you are expecting, it’s even more important for your pets to be healthy and up to date on vaccinations. Schedule an appointment today to get your pet checked out and up to date. Call us at 573-875-3647.

Share it Forward....Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Pregnant with Pets – Concerns about Cats

Share it Forward....Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Wear gloves and a mask!

In this photo, Dr. Katie is demonstrating proper personal protective equipment for litter box cleaning if you are pregnant. Pregnant women who clean the litter box should wear gloves and a mask, and thoroughly wash their hands when finished. Masks and disposable gloves are available at many stores and online.

Many people have had a lot of questions about being safe around animals during pregnancy.   The most commonly asked question is “Is it safe to be around cats when you’re expecting?” We hope to answer that question and maybe give a few more tips about being safe around pets when you or a loved one is expecting.

 

Is it safe to be around cats? The short answer is yes, but precautions should be taken to protect the mother. Generally when people ask this question, they have the disease toxoplasmosis in mind.   Toxoplasma is a parasite that can be very harmful to an unborn baby if the mother acquires the infection for the first time during pregnancy.   It can cause miscarriage, neurological defects (brain damage), blindness, and other symptoms. Some of these symptoms may not be apparent at birth, but they may become evident as the child grows.   Cats pick up this infection by ingesting small animals (mice, birds, etc). For this reason, we recommend keeping your cat indoors to minimize hunting of small prey.   Infected cats shed the parasite in the feces. It takes one or more days for the parasite to develop in the cat’s feces to an infective form.

 

How would a pregnant woman become infected with toxoplasma? Interestingly, most people acquire toxoplasma by eating undercooked meat or contaminated produce.   A pregnant woman can also become infected by inadvertently ingesting contaminated cat feces or inhaling litter dust while cleaning the litter box.

 

 

Here are some tips quoted directly from the Center of Disease Control on preventing toxoplasmosis (http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/infections-toxo.html):

  • Have someone who is healthy and not pregnant change the cat’s litter box daily. If this is not possible, wear gloves and clean the litter box every day, because the parasite found in cat feces needs one or more days after being passed to become infectious. Wash hands well with soap and water afterwards.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after any exposure to soil, sand, raw meat, or unwashed vegetables.
  • Cook all meat thoroughly; that is, to an internal temperature of 160° F and until it is no longer pink in the center or until the juices become colorless. Do not taste meat before it is fully cooked.
  • Freeze meat for several days before cooking to greatly reduce the chance of infection.
  • Wash all cutting boards and knives thoroughly with hot soapy water after each use.
  • Wash and/or peel all fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Wear gloves when gardening or handling sand from a sandbox. Wash hands well afterward.
  • Avoid drinking untreated water, particularly when traveling in less developed countries.

 

 

Do you have questions? Feel free to give us a call at 573-875-3647. If you have an idea or a question you’d like answered on a blog, leave a comment here or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MyZooAnimalHospital)

 

 

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

Remember, if you are expecting, it’s even more important for your pets to be healthy and up to date on vaccinations. Schedule an appointment today to get your pet checked out and up to date. Call us at 573-875-3647.

Share it Forward....Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email