You asked

How can we keep our baby safe around our pets?

Having a pet in the home can expose your baby to several hazards that you might not think about.

It’s wise to not let your baby be alone with your family pet. Animals are unpredictable and are not always good with children. Many dogs become nervous around a baby and that nervousness can lead to biting, especially when a baby tries to play with the dog. Once a baby begins to grab, they will often pull the dogs ears or legs or even taking the dogs toys.

If your family pet is not suited to be around children, you may consider obedience training. There are classes to teach dogs and cats how to live with young children.

In most cases, the pet will just need time to adjust to your child. You should supervise their time together and make the introduction gradual. At other time, try to keep the pet separated from your baby.

A danger that many parents don’t think about is the pet’s food. Once your baby learns to crawl, your pet's water dish poses a drowning hazard as a baby or toddler can drown in as little as one inch of water. Additionally, the bowl of dry pet food is a choking hazard. Make sure that your pet’s food and water dishes are out of your baby’s reach.

The pet door is another danger that tends to be overlooked. Many pet doors are the perfect size for a crawling baby to escape. Smaller pet doors, such as ones that are intended to be used by cats, are just the right size for your toddler to get their head stuck in. Make sure that your pet door is locked or that your baby is blocked from getting to it by a safety gate.

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