Step 1: Getting Pets Ready for A Baby – A Six Step Plan

Thanks to Graco team member, Liz, for this great story! Liz is expecting her first little one soon and has volunteered to share her adventures in getting ready for her new arrival. Check out her first post in this series here.

Our little family already consists of two dogs and two cats, all of which we love dearly without judgment, but (who are we kidding) sometimes participate in less-than-desirable activities. (I fully blame their owners). :) So to get the whole family ready for our new addition, it was time to tackle part one in our six part plan:

Vet Checkup and Supply Stock Up (or How to Quickly Empty Your Wallet in 24 Hours).

This step was a no-brainer for us in our plan. I’m not even going to pretend I will be coherent enough to remember my own name, much less take anyone to the vet, when the baby comes and I’m running on zero sleep for who knows how long. Better to get all the annual vet visits out of the way ahead of time, Before-Baby (BB). So off to the vet we went for annual checkups (and by “off to the vet,” I mean “used cheese to lure them all into getting into the car and dragged them into the vet”).

So sad: “This is NOT what I had in mind when you said let’s go for a Car Ride.”

After everyone received a (relatively) clean bill of health, I booted up the trusty ol’ interweb and filled a shopping cart full of all the awesome stuff pet ownership entails – flea/tick prevention, heartworm prevention, and “I’m-getting-old-and-creaky”-type pills and supplements that these four take on a daily basis. Getting old isn’t pretty for this group.

Then I got a great tip from a dog trainer friend of mine.

She advised us to think about what we will do when we are both too tired and/or overwhelmed to properly exercise our dogs. Simon and Daisy (bless their little hearts and pea brains) need a good bit of exercise every day, both physically and mentally, to keep themselves sane. We’ve found out the hard way that if they have too much spare energy, they apply it in less-than-awesome ways (like chewing the wall).

Exercise for them doesn’t mean letting them out in the yard and hope they run it all out. Nope, true to form, they like structured walks, every day, to their favorite destination – Piedmont Park in Atlanta. So for the days where we can’t muster the energy (or find clean pants) to walk over there and we have two sad faces sitting near their leashes, we decided to stock up on some special toys and chews for them to work on.

My friend recommended getting a puzzle feeder like this one that makes the dog complete a puzzle to get their food out, to help drain mental energy and stress. I have to admit, I have visions of Simon loving the puzzle aspect and Daisy just starving to death next to it (or just eating the whole thing), but we’re game to try anything. So long story long, I added those to my shopping cart along with some bully sticks and checked out.

I did have a near-meltdown later, when we realized the total from all this shopping, but at least we are stocked for the next 12 months and won’t have to buy anything for a while, and at the end of the day we know everyone has a clean bill of health.

Plus I quickly distracted myself with planning for Step 2 – Basic Obedience Skills Prioritization & Review. More details and progress to come soon!

How are you getting your pets ready for a little one?

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