You’ve recently added to your family, bringing home a newborn baby. Congratulations are certainly in order for this amazing milestone. Now you’re doing all you can to provide your infant the best care, which is why you’re a little concerned about having your Samoyed around. Can the dog play with the baby or even get near them?
The good-natured sweetness of a Samoyed means it’s generally safe for them to be around a baby and play together. You definitely want to supervise all interactions though and even use a doggy gate when necessary.
In this article, I will explain much more about managing life with a new baby and a Samoyed so you can finally enjoy some of that sweet playtime together. I’ll also tell you what I did for my own Samoyed Middle when we had our son Casper and share more tips for baby and Samoyed acclimation.
The Pros and Cons of Letting Baby Play with Dog
Before we get started, allow me to clarify one thing. I’m not talking about bringing your newborn home and letting your dog get all overexcited and do whatever they want. Samoyeds are pretty big dogs, after all, and to a baby, they’re enormous. I didn’t even let Middle around Casper until he was nearly two years old. I also use a Dwinguler rainbow playpen with playmat to keep the two separated when I need to.
Dwinguler Baby Castle Play Room / Kids Playpen
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With all that said, here are some pros and cons to letting a baby around a bigger dog like a Samoyed.
- Samoyeds, as you know from our previous post about being a great family member, have a gentle, non-violent demeanor. It’s not really in their nature to attack with physical violence. Compared to other breeds, you’re letting your baby around a very safe dog.
- Supervised playtime together allows the dog to acclimate to the new baby in the house and vice-versa.
- Having your dog and baby live together harmoniously makes life just a bit easier. When you’re a stressed-out new parent, you’ll take any relief you can get.
- Babies who grow up with dogs are at a lower chance of allergies.
- Samoyeds, like most dogs, can get rambunctious. Combine that with their size and the dog can easily knock the baby over. That’s why you must always be in the room when the two interact.
- A curious baby can scare the Samoyed with their erratic movements and loud noises. They could also grab onto the dog and potentially hurt them.
- The baby may get magnetized to your Sammy, that could lead to a biting incident.
How Should Parents Prepare During Pregnancy?
Preparing your Samoyed for the upcoming baby begins during pregnancy. In fact, some OB/GYNs will advise future mothers to keep a distance from the dog before giving birth. The concern seems to be that your dog or other pet could spread germs or diseases that could affect the baby, as well as some other unexpected accidents. There is no need to rehome your dog either, which some medical professionals do suggest.
You may want to let your spouse or partner take over most of the care duties for your Samoyed for the next couple of months. These duties include exercising the dog, which you may find difficult in your state. As your baby grows, you may also have a hard time grooming your dog, bending over to feed them, and leashing them up for a walk.
Pet Snuffle Mat for Dogs
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Toxoplasmosis caused by dog?
One thing I do want to talk about is toxoplasmosis. This parasitic infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii is not spread by dogs. It’s cats. Thus, if you’re pregnant and you have a Samoyed or any other breed of dog at home, you don’t have to worry about your canine friend passing toxoplasmosis to you.
Even if you have a cat, there’s a low risk of your kitty giving you toxoplasmosis. Don’t get too lax, though. You still want to avoid touching your cat’s feces to be on the safe side. Have your partner or spouse clean the litter box instead.
Although this has nothing to do with dogs or pets, you also want to avoid consuming undercooked or raw meat as a pregnant woman. Stay away from venison, pork, and lamb especially. If the animal had the toxoplasmosis infection and you eat the meat, you could get the infection as well. Make sure you drink filtered or boiled, clean water, since this infection can spread through the water supply.
When a baby gets toxoplasmosis through the mother, it’s known as congenital toxoplasmosis. Even if you had the toxoplasmosis infection once before, if you weren’t pregnant at the time, your baby has no risk of getting congenital toxoplasmosis. It’s only if you’re infected and pregnant at the same time that the baby can have the following symptoms:
- Spleen or liver enlargement
- Bleeding and bruising, but beneath their skin
- Abnormal head size, where it’s either too small or too big
- Swollen lymph nodes and other glands
If you’re concerned about toxoplasmosis, you might want to consult your OB/GYN and get tested for toxoplasmosis risk.
Safety Tips for the Samoyed and Baby Acclimation
How can you ensure you create healthy boundaries while naturally acclimating your baby to your Samoyed? Try following these tips:
- Choose an age you think is appropriate for your first play sessions between the Sammy and your child. As I said, I waited until Casper was almost two years old before he got to play with Middle. He didn’t get magnetized to dogs, either.
- Make sure your dog is trained to be their best before you let them around your baby. I had put a lot of time into training Middle, but I decided to send her to an obedience school when Casper was born anyway. She hasn’t displayed an ounce of aggression, which I’m glad about, but that’s in part due to her training.
- Let your dog get a sense for the baby’s smell. The second day I had Casper home, I gave Middle Casper’s baby blanket to sniff. That got her used to him.
- When you see your baby is mishandling the dog, such as petting too hard, smacking or hitting, or pulling your dog’s hair, stop the behavior in its tracks.
- Keep your Sammy away from your baby’s food, shooing them out of the room if you have to.
- Don’t let your baby feed your dog, either. Babies rarely have a sense of what a dog can and cannot eat, both in terms of which foods are nontoxic and food quantity.
Can Samoyeds Get Jealous of the New Baby?
Your Sammy went from being the king or queen of the castle to second place now that you have a baby. When parents bring their newborn home for the first time, one of two things can happen. For one, the dog may love the baby and even become protective of them. The other is that the dog can be jealous.
You can deal with a jealous Sammy easily enough. Letting your dog adjust to your baby’s scent, as I recommended above, is one such method. You can also make the time for just you and your Samoyed to hang out, such as during exercise or when the baby sleeps. As a last-ditch effort, some behavioral classes might be in order for your Sammy.
Although sometimes it’s hard to juggle having a dog and a baby, it’s absolutely worth it. I remember when Casper first learned to crawl. Middle would stand right outside of the playpen. She even acted as a third parent, barking and alerting me if Casper tried climbing high or engaging in other dangerous activities as babies are wont to do.
These days, now that Casper can walk, he and Middle will stroll together.
Q: What should you do if your Samoyed doesn’t adjust to the new baby?
A: Sometimes, you’re not worried about your baby being too friendly with the dog because your Samoyed hasn’t taken kindly to your bundle of joy. You have to remember, just as you’re contending with sleepless nights and a whole lot of change, a new baby is an adjustment for your dog, too.
You need to ensure they’re still getting fed often, groomed daily, and adequately exercised each day. Set up baby gates or doggy gates to keep your Sammy and baby away from each other if you’re worried about any incidents.
Q: Is Samoyed fur shedding a concern to the new baby?
A: You know how much Samoyeds shed at some times of the year. That’s not even to mention all the fur that accumulates when you brush your dog. Should you worry about this fur lingering around in the same house as your baby?
Yes. Should your baby grab a tuft of floating hair and stuff it in their mouth, it could act as a choking hazard. While people who are allergic to animals react to the skin or pet dander and not the fur, all that floating dog debris could trigger symptoms in some cases. Thus, you want to make it a point to keep grooming your Samoyed and always clean up all traces of Samoyed fur.
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Samoyeds are sweet canines that can get along well with most animals, including cats. However, it’s much better to acclimate the two animals when the dog is younger. Once your Samoyed grows to full size, you’ll have to monitor your pets so your dog doesn’t overpower your cat when playing nor chase them relentlessly.
You should not leave a Samoyed alone at home without a human for more than three or four hours, and never for eight hours or longer. The social nature of Samoyeds doesn’t lend itself well to spending significant time on their own. This breed also needs an hour or more of exercise each day.