Help. Advice on dogs with newborn baby.

Hi all, we have a 4 year old female black labrador and we are expecting our first child in February.

We want to be certain our dog is safe with our baby but don't know where to start: she has not given us any indication that they WON'T be safe but I have read that you cannot be 100 percent certain.

Any similar stories and how you dealt with it would be much appreciated if you will share.


14 Replies

My advice would be that you dont leave the baby alone with the dog at any time, dont allow the dog to be around while baby eats and vice versa (dogs tend to snap when babies get near their food or if there is food that they want), dont allow the dog to jump onto the furniture and keep baby and dogs toys separate.

Unfortunately all dogs have the ability to snap and there is no specific test to see if this will happen. All that you can do is be vigilant.

I hope this helps and that baby and dog can live together in harmony :)

Thank you. I'm glad we seem to be going in the right direction: when we eat now the dog is in a different room. I stop her from going upstairs altogether now and gradually encouraging her off the furniture. I think we will be ok but it's just reassurance so i really appreciate your response. Thank you!

I grew up with labs. They have the best temperament and are kniwn to be outstanding family dogs, but you cant be sure. Totally agree with waht Laura said above. Really good idea to stop dog going upstairs etc.

Hi there, I have a different opinion in regards to dogs and very young kids. I am currently 28 weeks with my fourth and would never consider having a dog around. Regardless of their breed, they are and can be very unpredictable. After all the recent accidents with dogs and young kids in this country I would advice you to think twice. I know it is a difficult decision but everyone is different and do what you think is best for your baby. You cannot replace baby full stop, Best wishes.

I would say put in place now all the rules you want to enforce when baby arrives and when you bring baby home make sure you introduce baby to the dog rather than them discover this stranger, but my biggest piece of advice is to let the dog have some fuss and attention of its own when baby is here so it doesn't feel pushed out and talk calmly to the dog and reassure when baby cries as it can be quite a distressing noise for them. But as previously said no dog is 100% so never leave them alone together and watch your dogs behaviour. Look for the signs if they are getting stressed or jealous and rectify it and always make sure the dog has an escape route to a safe zone. You could be surprised by how well they take to the baby. My dogs had never been around kids but the day after we brought my eldest home someone came to visit who the dogs did not know and leaned in too close to the baby for the dogs liking and little one growled at the visitor to protect my son (never heard her growl before!!) until we told her it was ok. From day one the dogs will protect our kids with their lives. Be sensible but it can be a very rewarding and beautiful relationship of you nurture it well. Good luck :-) x

Here's an info sheet we created with the Dogs Trust to help prepare yourselves and your dog for your new arrival:

Thank you, very helpful :-)

Hi thanks for posting this. I'm also due in February and have a 9 year old yellow lab. I know my dog very well and I have seen him with babies and playing with toddlers. My main worry is not so much biting but that he can be over excitable and boisterous - much like an older stronger child I suppose. We've bought him a soft cage for the car which has calmed him down a lot on journeys and have a space under the stairs in case we need it indoors. We trained him from puppy to allow us to take food from his mouth and he is renowned for giving up his toys and food/bones to other dogs even when we've tried to teach him to look after his own stuff. I'd never leave him alone with baby as I am wary that just like an older sibbling he could get jealous (my nephew hid drawing pins under the pillow of his new sister!!) but being a labrador, I envisage that the first 6 months will be the most difficult - once we start on baby led weaning I imagine my labrador and baby boy are going to become the best of friends.....when I visit my friend who has an 18 month old, my dog already knows where to hide under the table and the toddler knows exactly where to hold out the food he doesn't like :) I've been letting him into the nursery just to get used to the smells but I'm pretty convinced he understands something is happening. He won't leave my side when we go out walking and gives me big brown eyes when I'm having a bad time with my growing bump. My dog is part of my family, so we'll adjust as needed to get through it.

Ah that's so reassuring. Not having our dog is simply not an option! She is a wonderful loving dog and like you I have seen her interact with other children (and babies) and she has never been anything but gentle. I know she's a dog and thus unpredictable in nature but I feel so strongly about the friendship that she could have with our little boy.

We have also started with some professionally advised techniques to get her used to the baby when he comes along. She already knows that I am not 'my usual self' with my lacking mobility and inability to throw her stick (!) as I can't bend down to pick it up with the speed she is used to!!!

My husband is very supportive and has taken on a lot of the care for her: all walks at the moment (which I miss) and bathing. So she is not suddenly going to be missing me.

The thing in our favour with her is she is still relatively young and not as boisterous as yours sounds!!

Thanks for your reply :-)

I lived with my mum when my baby was born and she has 2 chugs (chihuahua/pug mix). They were just under 2 years old when my son was born. They were very curious the first night but we kept telling them he was baby and his name, etc. They used to hover by his pram which he napped in in the living room waiting to see him. Basically, we never left them alone together and they always knew to stay away when he was tiny....but we showed him to them and they sniffed his blankets and then his feet and such. They got used to him very quickly and love him. They don't play with his toys and they don't touch his stuff. He's now 15 months and we no longer live there. It is much more challenging now as he wants to hug them all the time which they don't mind once in a while but aren't fans of all the time. You have to monitor every interaction. Sometimes the dogs are clearly unhappy or feel overwhelmed so I need to keep them all separate. They have told him off before so I'm very aware to keep them apart a lot even when in the same room. They just get squished by him lol. But they love seeing him for the most part and cant wait to say hello when we get there. Vigilance is the key. Even for a second, don't believe your dog is incapable of hurting the baby. It's their nature as animals to protect themselves. So we need to protect them all x

This is the company I work for and their advice sheet. All the best x

Thank you all... the advice makes sense and we are already putting into place the things to prepare her.

I love the baby blanket idea. I'll be having a c section so there will be a delay in coming home so we've prepped a raggy cloth to wrap baby in when born for hubby to take home for our dog to get used to before I return.

My parent-in-laws black labrador bit my daughter on her lip after knowing her for 15 months... We r regular visitors with me nd baby staying over at opa and oma for weeks at time... He is a well trained no harm loving dog and we would never allow two of them alone but that one second of turning around allowed them enough space to get over each other..we belive that isabella did something nd dog reacted as she was not traumatized nd still loves the dog nd vice versa etc... But things can go wrong nd right again in matter of nano seconds

So whatever u do with dog nd baby together make sure u know what to do just in case dog bites or if baby pokes the dogs eyes out

My daughter is all fine the bite mark has gone nd the moment phone rings she comes running saying "hello doggy" although the fight happend just in november

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