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to be concerned about dog and new baby?

(78 Posts)
moominliz Thu 21-Jul-11 15:00:36

Hi all, I'm still quite new to this site but would value some independent opinions. I'll try to be as concise as possible!
Basically DP had a labrador with ex wife, with whom he also has 3 children, when they split they decided it would be best for dog to stay with her and the children.
Last August we offered to look after the dog while his ex went on holiday for a couple of weeks, however, 11 months later we still have the dog!
DP is obviously very attached to dog and as his ex has made seemingly every excuse under the sun why she couldn't take dog back, even getting 3 budgies so theres no way she could take the dog back.
Now comes the part where I feel torn and so guilty, on one hand I understand you need to keep stability for the step children, especially with a new addition on the way, and DP is greatly attached to the dog.
However, she is not a small dog (a 6 year old labrador) and is strong, Amongst other things I think my major concern is hygiene, i.e. she moults a lot, muddy paw prints, etc.
I do feel terrible to even be considering getting her re-homed, I've had dogs when I was growing up and understand they are a family member so I know they aren't just an expendable commodity, hence why I feel so bad.
Sorry for the ramble, hope it makes some sort of sense and I greatly appreciate some opinions!

FeelingaBitSick Thu 21-Jul-11 15:10:09

When we had DD I was concerned about our dogs and how hard it would be, but they've been wonderful! So patient, putting up with screaming baby who is now a tail pulling toddler!

Please don't send your dog away before giving the poor thing a chance to prove herself. She may be absolutely fine.

lesley33 Thu 21-Jul-11 15:10:34

It does seem rough on the step kids and DH to get rid of a dog because of hygiene concerns. Children brought up around animals have a lower rate of allergies and asthma than children brought up without animals. And that is precisely because animals stop the house being too clean for their bown good.

There are practical things you can do. Floor coverings can make a major difference to how easy it is to keep your house clean with a dog. Ban the dog from being on the sofa or put a blanket down on the sofa before teh dog gets on it.

I have a dog and have been seriously thinking of buying a robot vacumm cleaner. You get ones that are supposed to be very good for dealing with pet hairs - reading the reviews of people that have bought them they sound great. You can easily get them to hoover all your floor coverings 3 or 4 times a day cutting down massively on dirt and hairs from your dog remaining on the floor.

TheLadyEvenstar Thu 21-Jul-11 15:11:34

hmm

I wouldn't rehome her just because you are having a baby.

Be vigilant, brush her, and bathe her regularly.

lesley33 Thu 21-Jul-11 15:11:43

Also labradors are well known for being great family dogs and being very easy to train - thats why they are so often used as guide dogs.

Riveninside Thu 21-Jul-11 15:11:54

just dont leave baby and dog alone together.
As for hygeine, a bit of dirt is good for kids.

squeakytoy Thu 21-Jul-11 15:15:24

A bit of mud and dog hair rarely killed anyone.

The dog is used to having kids around, and so long as you never leave the dog with a baby or small children (which is common sense for any parent or dog owner), then you have absolutely no reason to be rehoming the dog.

I would imagine the children will also find it unforgivable if you were to get rid of their pet. hmm

TheLadyEvenstar Thu 21-Jul-11 15:16:06

I showered DS2 and my staffy puppy together yesterday grin

loiner45 Thu 21-Jul-11 15:16:48

If you try to get rid of the dog you would be creating huge problems in your relationship with DH and the step children IMO (unless it went back to exW). Re hygiene - sigh, well what you are talking about is about being house proud, not hygiene. yes, hair and muddy paws - goes with the territory of dog ownership, but hygiene is different - its about germs and illness - and children brought up around animals are more likely to develop good immune systems because of the exposure to 'germs' - BBC report here chances are the baby will adore the dog and vice versa.

squeakytoy Thu 21-Jul-11 15:18:52

As for the budgie excuse... we had a dog, cat, fish, hamsters, and budgies.. oh and a tortoise too... all at the same time. There was no carnage.

The tortoise did drown in the pond though sad and it was always suspected the dog may have rolled him in.... ((( poor Timmy )))

GingerWrath Thu 21-Jul-11 15:19:24

We had a lab and a retriever when DD was born. She was ill alot less than other babies from animal free households.

I worried about them knocking over her moses basket or something. Bought a play pen, put basket inside, problem solved.

It was a great excuse for me to get out for fresh air everyday, benefiting DD too.

As she got older, she loved to throw a ball for them. She cuddled with them all the time and my lab even let her ride him like a pony.

They were a fab lesson for her in how to be kind to other creatures.

We were all gutted when my lab got cancer and died aged 9 and again when the retriever died of old age last year.

Give the poor dog a chance. You might even be surprised to find a baby brings out her maternal instincts!

Ephiny Thu 21-Jul-11 15:41:41

You need to be sensible about not leaving dog and baby alone together, and as your child gets older teaching her how (and how not) to interact with the dog etc. But lots of families have dogs and small children together, and it's almost always fine. I wouldn't worry about a bit of mud personally, and moulting is only a real issue if someone's allergic to the hair - but deal with that if/when it happens!

I realise you didn't choose to have a dog, and she's been unceremoniously dumped on you by the ex. But I hope you'll give her a chance at least. Rescues are full and overflowing with unwanted dogs already, and it won't be easy for a 6 year old large breed dog to find a new home (most people want pups or at least younger dogs).

moominliz Thu 21-Jul-11 15:51:14

Thanks, I appreciate the unbiased opinions. I think what winds me up, such as the dog hair, will obviously not bother dc at all.

I think some of my worry may actually be a touch of resentment, that I didn't choose to get the dog and that his exW quite happily washed her hands of her without a second thought!

Once again thanks for your thoughts.

DogsBestFriend Thu 21-Jul-11 15:51:43

"I do feel terrible to even be considering getting her re-homed"

Good. So you should. Because you would be terrible. She isn't even your dog to rehome!

I speak as a dog rescuer so I'm a little biased. I come across people who dump their dog when they have a baby with alarming and heartwrenching regularity. I pick up the pieces, I find the rescue places, I comfort the dogs, I pay for or fundraise for their dogs to be neutered, vaccinated, chipped, fed and housed.

And all the while I know that there will be a pound dog who could have taken that rescue place but who has been killed in the pound because some heartless fucker had taken the rescue space for their discarded family pet.

And don't get me started on the irresponsible people who bleat that they would rehome privately or sell the dog through the free ads....

On a more positive note I also speak as one with other experience. From the moment my DC came home from the maternity hospital they have lived with at least 2 large breed dogs. We currently have 3 big dogs, including, for the past 8 years, a rescued Lab. My kids have lived with god knows how many foster dogs and all manner of strays which I've taken in.

Those kids are 14 and 16 now. They are both rescue volunteers, they are both dog-savvy and animal lovers. Neither has been bitten in their lives, neither has been in the least bit ill as a result of a bit of dog hair, slobber or mud. I have a Dyson, simple solution to dog fur!

Sensible measures - don't leave DC and dog unattended, don't let DC climb all over Rover or pull his tail, don't neglect Rover and consign him to the kitchen when DC come along... I'm sure others can suggest more. There will be the odd ones on here who suggest you get rid of your partner's dog - to them I say you're talking rubbish.

Besides all this... if this is the dog who your partner's children have been raised with, what's the stress? Dog knows what children are all about and I take it that DPs kids aren't suffering from rabies or missing limbs as a result of being raised with the dog?

grin

weimy Thu 21-Jul-11 15:57:06

Brush her quickly once a day (2 mins) use a furminator or good copy. Put those slightly more expensive mats (that pick up mud) at the front door and back door. Get a decent mop and bucket, and hoover (everyday) change bedding once a week. This is what I do as a matter of course, I have three. Get OH into this routine so he can help once baby is here.

Put gates up now so she gets used to where she will be allowed when baby is here and get the little hand sanitisers for several rooms so that you can get into the habit of using it after you have had contact with her.

I definately would not get rid of mine if we were to have a baby unless there were behavioural issues.

SkelleyBones Thu 21-Jul-11 15:57:24

I know what you mean about dog hair my son was at the vets today, taking the cat in not for himself, rolling on the floor he got covered in hair which makes me feel queasy, i guess that's my biggest concern too which compared to the love the children will have for their 4 legged friend pales.

honeymom Thu 21-Jul-11 15:58:57

Maybe you need to go on holiday and leave her with the dog for a few days. Don't forget to pick up a goldfish on the way home to stop you taking the dog back.

weimy Thu 21-Jul-11 15:59:39

and they would have to be very serious ones that I had had a bloody good go at solving.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 21-Jul-11 16:00:42

YAB completely, totally and utterly U.

DogsBestFriend Thu 21-Jul-11 16:02:29

Hand sanitiser, weimy?

HAND SANITISER! shock hmm

Bloody hell, the times I fed or stroked the dogs and then went straight on to feed or handle my babies! Hand sanitiser wasn't even heard of outside of hospitals then! grin

moominliz Thu 21-Jul-11 16:05:28

I appreciate that everyone has differing opinions but do not appreciate being called a 'heartless f*cker'.

I have not said I was about to go and abandon the dog tomorrow and merely wanted to know how other people have managed, to allay my worries and to vent my frustration of taking in, feeding, paying for, walking, caring for, etc. a dog that was discarded so easily by his exW without a second thought of the consequences.

Cheria Thu 21-Jul-11 16:05:42

Don't rehome her - she has done nothing to deserve it. My very boisterous 2 year old golden retriever is as soft as anything with my 4month baby - in fact he tries to lick her hand and she explodes with laughter every time she sees him.

The hair is a nuisance but regular brushing will help with that, and as for the hygiene, well, most babies are tough little things. Being raised round animals isn't unhygienic as long as you do your best to make sure the dog doesn't slobber all over your baby (I have wipes to hand all the time - as I said, my dog likes to lick baby's hands, so I need to wipe them off immediately)

Other than the obvious don't leave her alone with the baby I really wouldn't worry, and it looks liek she is good with children anyway.

Please feel guilty for even considering it.

pjmama Thu 21-Jul-11 16:05:52

Sounds like this is more about the dog being forced on you than an actual problem with the dog herself - can't really blame you for being annoyed about that, but you really can't blame the dog either.

As everyone else has said, labs are generally brilliant with kids and she's done it all before so providing you're sensible about introducting dog and baby, they'll probably end up being best friends. You just need a cleaning routine, which your OH ought to be heavily involved in since it's his dog and presumably he wants to keep her.

You also need to forget that the ExW dumped her on you and try and see her as part of your family. Providing your OH is prepared to do his fair share, I'm sure you won't regret keeping her. I think it's great for a kid to grow up with a dog. I have two and the bigger one is my DS's best friend in the world.

Cheria Thu 21-Jul-11 16:08:44

Sorry, that was a bit harsh. Re-read your OP and saw you are already feeling guilty.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 21-Jul-11 16:12:50

Okay, I had a puppy and newborn dd1 and I was a single mum.

I managed fine. I'm not saying it was easy, but it was do-able. I trained my pup to walk along side the pram. You can do this with an older dog. Borrow a pram and get out walking to practise.

Presumably the dog is fairly well trained anyway? If not you need to look at that before the baby comes along. Book her into a good, positive training class.

Routine helps. Work out a routine that you feel would be managable with a newborn and start sticking to it now, so the dog ahs time to adjust. think about time etc. Obviously hiking for 5 miles with a pram isn't going to work, but a nice late morning stroll in the park should be acheievable and DH will ahve to do the main walk on an evening.

Get a decent brush and groom her daily, this will cut down on moulting.

If you were my partner and you got rid of my dog for no good reason, I'd leave you.

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