Pets and Your Baby: Is an Apartment Big Enough for Both?

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When it comes time to consider whether you are ready to have a baby, you may also consider whether your apartment and living spaces are ready as well. One consideration many parents-to-be have is how a pet will deal with a baby and how to protect their baby’s safety.

Dogs, Cats and Babies

How your pet will react to the baby depends a lot on the personality of your companion animal. If you have a dog, see how he reacts to babies from a distance. Consider how he treats other animals. Is he gentle by nature? If he’s not, he may not be the best company for a baby.

Possibly due to what seems like a relative disinterest or lack of affection towards humans, cats get a bad reputation; there’s even an old rumor that cats will try to take your breath away when you’re sleeping. In reality, both cats and dogs live in harmony with babies in one-bedroom apartments (and ones smaller and larger) across the world.

However, your situation is unique to the companion animal that you’ve adopted and the baby that you have. Always err on the side of caution, and never leave a baby alone with a pet, even if you determine your apartment is big enough for both of them.

Space Considerations

When it comes to your apartment and preparing it to welcome a baby, most couples are quick to create a nursery. If not an actual nursery, parents enjoy at least dedicating a space in their bedroom to be a makeshift nursery, depending on budget and space constraints. If a pet used to sleep in a bedroom that a baby will now sleep in, he needs to get used to giving up the space long before baby comes.

It’s never okay to leave a baby sleeping in an open space where an animal is, even if you trust the animal completely. You never can predict what can triggers reactions, and you must be vigilant to always keep the baby in a locked space away from your pet. That’s the only true way that an apartment will be big enough for both of them.

Exotic Pets

Keep in mind that, if you have reptiles that sometimes roam your apartment, you will likely want to give them a new home. As some reptiles, such as turtles, snakes and lizards, can carry salmonella, they’re often a no-go when it comes to pets that should dwell in the same apartment as a new baby.

Considerations of Pet vs. Baby

Animals are not disposable; don’t underestimate the bond you’ll build with a pet, and the trauma you’d both experience if you had to give it away. It’s best to consider the time frame in which you want to have a baby before you ever adopt and welcome the animal into your apartment home. Once the animal is a part of your family, for many people, the only option then is how to adjust their apartment to fit both baby and animal. With a typical one-bedroom apartment, there are still enough rooms that you can use a baby-proof wall in the hall to keep the dog away from your baby.

What If the Baby and Pet Aren’t Compatible

No matter how good your intentions and no matter how much you love both your pet and new baby, there will sometimes be an impossible clash between the two. You don’t want to be nervous all the time that an angry pet may scare or harm the baby, and you don’t want to think that a rambunctious baby may be bad for a fragile pet. If you simply cannot make the situation work, think of all possible scenarios before considering giving up your pet. It may be that you need a relative or close friend to foster the pet for a while, until your baby is a little older and can better adapt to the animal, and vice versa.

Consider asking close friends and relatives if anyone is willing to foster, even offer to take care of food and medical expenses of the animal if you can. Making sure your companion animal goes to a safe haven where you can visit can help adjusting to baby sans beloved companion animal easier for both you and your pet.

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