My family and I recently brought home a new addition to our family. She’s small, cute, and sweet. That’s right, people. I’m talking about a puppy! It’s only been two weeks since our adorable four legged pup fur baby entered our lives, but as a mother of two, I couldn’t help but notice many similarities between having a fur baby and a real baby.
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They both teethe. Just like babies, puppies teethe too and they teethe on everything, from my finger to the wooden leg of my antique chair to my daughter’s Barbie doll. Our puppy has a variety of chew toys, but she’d rather sink her teeth into my husband’s leather shoe. (Sorry babe, but I did tell you to not leave your shoes on the floor.)
You have to make your home safe for them. A toddler and a puppy pretty much require the same safety measures to be taken in your home. Safety gates and outlet covers are a must. Cords and wires must be out of reach and so must any small objects. Once my babies started crawling, I literally got down on my hands and knees and crawled around my house to see if there was anything hazardous that I had missed. I used the same technique when we brought our puppy home too. Yes, I look like a lunatic, but it works!
You worry about their poop. Is she pooping too much? Too little? Is it supposed to be this consistency? How about the color? If these questions sound familiar to you, you are probably a mom who has asked your baby’s pediatrician these very same questions. Well, surprise, surprise. I was asking my puppy’s veterinarian these same questions. (Just to be clear, I was referring to my puppy’s poop. Not my child’s. That would just be weird.)
They both need to be potty trained. Speaking of poop, kids need to be taught to use the toilet and dogs need to be taught to do their business outdoors. When a child is fully potty trained, we celebrate like we just won the lottery (and in a way, we have, because we no longer have to spend a ton of money on expensive Pull-Ups with Disney characters on them). When our dog finally “gets it” and consistently goes potty outdoors (especially doggy doodoo), we are just as thrilled and are thankful that we’ll no longer have to be down on our hands and knees scrubbing to save our beautiful carpet.
They both have schedules. I don’t know about your kid, but when my toddler missed her nap, it was a disaster and caused meltdowns galore (for my daughter and myself), so I planned our day according to her sleeping and eating schedule. Although there is more leeway with dogs, they do still have schedules. If you have a dog breed like mine that is prone to obesity from overeating, you can’t just leave out a giant bowl of dog food for the day. You actually have to feed it at certain times of the day four times a day. Puppies also have small bladders, so they need to be taken out to go potty throughout the day. However many months old a puppy is equals the number of hours it can hold its bladder, so my two month old puppy for example needs to go potty every two hours. Yikes!
You buy way too much unnecessary stuff for them. My first born child had a crib, cradle, basinet, two swings, bouncer, two playpens, and even a NapNanny. Were they really all necessary? Of course not, but at the time, I 100% believed they were. I tried to not go crazy with our puppy and I only bought the essentials, but I am finding that every time I go to Target, I end up in the pet aisle buying another toy for our puppy. I seriously don’t know what is wrong with me. I go in to get laundry detergent and I end up with a chew toy… always.
You say the same things to them. “No!” “Not in your mouth!” “What’s in your mouth?” “Stop that!”
Their food is frigin’ expensive. I had to supplement with baby formula for both of my babies and it wasn’t until then that I became a coupon cutting queen. Formula is ridiculously expensive and the better quality it is, the higher the price tag. Same goes for dog food. Puppies require special food that meets twice the nutritional requirements that an adult dog needs. Again, the better quality the food is, the more expensive it is. So when there is a sale on dog food at Petco, you know I’m all over it.
You are sleep deprived. At least in the beginning anyway. The first month your baby is home (sometimes even longer), you are constantly up at night with your baby. It could be because she is hungry, needs to be changed, doesn’t feel well, or probably one hundred other reasons, but whatever it is, the point is you are awake with her during the wee hours of the night. You wake up (if you even want to call it that) the next day feeling like a mombie. When a puppy first comes home, it could be days or even weeks for a puppy to stop whining at night. They whine, because they miss their mother and siblings and they are not used to their new home yet. Although the reason is heartbreaking and you have done all you can to make them feel safe and secure (Warm water bottle, ticking clock, etc.), you still have to deal with them crying all night long.
You bring a bag for them everywhere you go. Whenever you go out with your baby, a diaper bag is a must. It has diapers, wipes, a changing pad, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, formula, burp cloths, hand sanitizer, snacks, toys, and more! You become a pro at fitting everything so nicely in there too. Whenever I go out with my puppy, I have a bag just for her that I tote around with me as well. It has doggy waste bags, treats, a collapsible bowl, a small water bottle, and sanitation wipes. Hey, I’m a mom. I know to be prepared.
You are careful who they are around. When babies are less than two months old, they haven’t had their first set of vaccines yet, so their immune system is less developed and they are more susceptible to getting infections when exposed. Someone sneezing or coughing nearby could make your poor baby sick, so many parents are very careful about where they bring their infant and who they let around their infant. Similarly, dogs in most states can’t receive their Rabies vaccination until they are four months old, so dog owners are very careful about where they take their puppy and make sure they only interact with other animals that have had the vaccine.
Your Facebook is filled with their photos. I’m not going to lie. I am one of those moms who posts way too many photos of my kids online and probably annoys the crap out of some people because of it. I can’t help it! If I take a cute or funny picture of my kids, it’s going on my Facebook page. Same goes for my puppy. After she had been home with us for just one week, I probably already had close to 20 photos of her up on Facebook. (Sorry. Not sorry. Just look at that cute widdle face with the widdle winkles!)
You worry about them. I’ll never forget the first time I dropped off my three year old at preschool. I was a wreck and my stomach was in knots. I was so worried she would miss me too much and cry the whole time. I was also worried she wouldn’t eat her snack or play nicely with her new classmates. When I left my puppy home for the first time, I had a very similar feeling in the pit of my stomach. People tell me she is “just a dog,” but she is so much more to me.
You love then. There is nothing that compares to the love and bond between a mother and her child. We all know that. Even all the jealous dads in the world know that. We love our children with all of our heart and soul and we would do absolutely anything for them. Some people regard their pet as just that: a pet. However, most mothers I know think of their dog as a member of their family. Their dog’s birthday is celebrated, she gets her own Christmas stocking, and even goes on family vacations. Their dog is their “baby” and they love and adore them (not quite like they do with their own child, but pretty close).
This post originally appeared on My Tiny Villagers.
Cristina Margolis is a Disney-obsessed coffee lover and a mother of two little girls. She blogs about parenting and runs a pen pal program for children with ADHD at My Little Villagers, which has been voted “Best of the ADHD Blogs” by CHADD. She also writes for ADDitude Magazine, ADDitude, and PopSugar and has been featured on Scary Mommy, The Mighty, and Blunt Moms. When she’s not writing, she enjoys making YouTube videos with her kids, taking family vacations, and shopping kid-free at Target.