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Baby Bonding: Introducing Dog to Baby

When Jennifer Moser of Wilmington, NC, was pregnant, she began to worry about how her new baby would get along with two other family members: Star and Bug, her dog and cat.

Are you concerned, too? Here's how to help your pet and your baby bond (and keep the baby safe), from Heidi Flammang, founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow, a nationwide dog-daycare business:

Introduce them gradually. Give your pet one of your baby's blankets so he can get used to the smell before they meet. While you're safely holding your baby, let your dog or cat come a little closer (but don't leave them alone together).

Create a no-pet zone. Until your child is out of the crib, don't let pets into the nursery. Put up a baby gate for the first few weeks (especially if you have a cat, or a dog who doesn't listen to "no!").

Don't share toys. Animals can be territorial, so keep your baby's stuff away from your pet's bed or play space. And as your child gets older, don't let him hold or play with the family pet's toys -- that could lead to a confrontation with a jealous dog or cat.

Give your dog a break. Whether it's for a long walk or a morning at a pet daycare, he'll use up his energy and be more relaxed, making it easier for him to handle the new family member.

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