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Matthew Sisk: How to prepare your dog for a baby
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This week’s column isn’t about examining Lemmy or treating him directly.

Instead, it is to address his health needs in an encompassing manner. No, it is not alternative medicine or “natural” health care.

This week, as his human mother gestates, Lemmy’s parents are working on two main fronts.

First, they are preparing for the arrival of their baby. This involves education, preparation and shopping.

Since I’m not a doctor for humans, I make no recommendations on the baby’s care. However, I am an expert on another important family member. That means I offer advice with regards to Lemmy.

Of course, we’ve discussed Lemmy being protected via vaccination and parasite prevention. But let’s focus on the baby.

The newest addition shouldn’t have access to Lemmy’s food or water bowls. Levels of bacteria can be acceptable to the dog, but dangerous for a little human. The same is true for Lemmy’s bathroom sites, of course. Even once cleaned up, minute amounts of remaining waste have significant health concerns.

Lemmy’s toys are also off limits for the baby. Not just because of the germ theory, but it’s a possible jealousy risk. No need to make Lemmy resent the baby unnecessarily.

The second front is to prepare and protect Lemmy from the baby. It is the other side of the coin and just as important.

Most people know to baby-proof their home, but not as many know to baby-proof their pets.

Baby toys are a risk for foreign body ingestion. With Lemmy’s history, that’s a significant concern. Batteries for toys are dangerous. Even if not ingested, they can be chewed, resulting in exposure to caustic chemicals.

Some baby products also are highly toxic if a pet eats them. Butt creams and ointments with zinc are high on the list, too.

I gave Lemmy’s owners these recommendations the day they told me they were expecting. They are working diligently to prepare themselves and Lemmy.

The next time I speak to the owners, Lemmy will be a big brother. He’ll have quite the reaction.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at