Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust launches nationwide ‘Be Dog Smart Week’ focusing on antenatal preparation

Over the last year, we have received almost 100 requests from expectant parents looking to surrender their dog before their new arrival.

We were delighted to welcome TV presenter and Model, Glenda Gilson, back to our rehoming centre in Finglas with her dog Yazz today, to help launch our nationwide ‘Be Dog Smart Week’ from 27th – 31st of August.

Glenda helped to launch the Be Dog Smart campaign last year, which focuses on educating children and adults on how to be safe around dogs both indoors and when out and about in the community. With many different FREE workshops available as part of the campaign, we would like to bring a particular focus this year on antenatal preparation, educating expectant and new parents with tips on how to help your dog and baby cohabit safely and harmoniously.

Sadly, over the last 12 months, we have received 98 requests from expectant parents and 39 requests from parents who had just had a new baby, wishing to surrender their dogs. We want to highlight, through their ‘Be Dog Smart Week’, that having a baby doesn’t have to mean giving up your dog and that preparation is key to introducing your family dog to your new arrival.

The Education and Community Team at Dogs Trust offer FREE workshops in public venues, such as; antenatal classes, shops, community centres, coffee mornings or libraries. They also offer workshops in our Rehoming Centre in Finglas.

The arrival of a new baby can be an over-whelming time, especially for first time parents who may be anxious about the responsibility. We want to highlight that with enough preparation, introducing your family dog safely shouldn’t be stressful. It is hoped that the practical tips and advice offered will help parents introduce their dog and new baby in a safe manner, making it less stressful for the whole family.

Here are some simple tips to prepare for the new arrival:

  • Familiarise your dog with baby products. Allow them to sniff and inspect buggies, car-seats, blankets, baby clothing, changing bag, wipes etc.
  • Set ground rules and ‘out of bounds’ zones – e.g. put baby gates up BEFORE baby arrives to avoid any negative association with the baby. The earlier you begin this training the better.
  • Bring your dog for a health check up. It is good practice and peace of mind to make sure your dog has a clean bill of health and is up-to-date with vaccines, worm and flea treatments.
  • Allow your dog to become familiar with the sound of a crying baby - Introduce a lifelike doll into the family or play baby sounds.
  • Train your dog in basic commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “leave it”.
  • Bring home a blanket from hospital with the baby’s smell to your dog before baby arrives home.

Fiona Gregan, Education and Community Manager at Dogs Trust explains;

“Bringing a new baby into your home should be a pleasurable experience for both you and your dog, so the sooner you start to prepare your dog for the new arrival, the better. We hope by offering free workshops as part of our Be Dog Smart Campaign, we can help put expectant parents’ minds more at ease about the introduction of dog and baby. Supervision is, of course, key and we advise that children and dogs are never left together unattended.”

Speaking at the launch of “Be Dog Smart Week”, Glenda Gilson said: “After launching the Be Dog Smart campaign for Dogs Trust last year, I’m thrilled to visit again, this time as an expectant mother myself, to help launch their Be Dog Smart Week, which will be focusing on antenatal preparation. It’s so important to educate people on how to introduce a new baby to their family dog so that they don’t feel like they have to say goodbye to their beloved pet when their little one comes along. I’d be absolutely devastated if I had to give up Yazz so it’s fantastic that there is this support from Dogs Trust to help new parents with the transition.”

Please see to book a FREE workshop or download the FREE Be Dog Smart Guide and other free resources to learn more safety and responsible dog ownership tips. Also learn some of the 21+ warning signs to be aware of so you can identify when a dog is feeling uncomfortable.

Find us on Facebook or follow the conversation on Twitter @DogsTrust_IE using the hashtag #BeDogSmartWeek