Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tips for Pregnant Pet Owners

Stephanie Shain lives with her husband, Adam, two daughters, two dogs and five cats.

Everyone needs attention. So when she was pregnant with her youngest, Mia, she knew she had to get her animals used to the idea of having a new baby in the house. Because of her work with the Humane Society, she knew animals handle change slowly.

Two or three months out start making those changes, so it's not a lot of changes all at once.

That means setting up the baby's room in front of the pet, and if the pet isn't allowed in the room keep the door shut.

And know your pet. If your cat or dog is protective, try to wean yourself away but let them know they are still loved.

If you're primarily the one who walks the dog, have someone else walk the dog; if you're spending a lot of time playing with your cat every day, make sure that someone else starts playing with your cats.

And if you're pregnant and have a cat, experts say be aware of Toxoplasmosis, a disease, caused by a parasite found in cat feces. It can cause birth defects. Doctors say the disease can be avoided by practicing good hygiene.

Usually the recommendation is to get somebody else to change the litter box.

Shain says taking precautions has paid off. Five-year-old Mia loves her fuzzy house mates and they seem happy to share the house with her.