What are you planning on doing when your LO comes home? How are you prepping for their meeting?
We have two cats, and we have been prepping them without realizing it. Some friends of ours have a baby that's less than a year old who is around cats all the time, and they sometimes come over to our apartment. With the baby around, the cats get to see it and get accustomed to it. Not sure about how to handle it when our LO makes his/her grand appearance, though.
We ADORE our dog. Where as, she thinks she IS a baby :) She gets pretty excited when DH & I hug each other (like she wants to get in the middle), so when my nephew was born 6 months ago, we both held him and snuggled him, and luckily our dog could care less. And she is not too interested in what a baby is, to the point where she just kind of ignores the baby after she greats him with a little sniff.
I read somewhere that after you give birth, you should have someone bring home a blanket or something that the baby used, so your pet can get use to their smell, so that upon the first encounter, it wont be too much of a surprise. We are going to plan on doing that before we come home.
This was truly the biggest thing I worried about when I was pregant -including labour lol. Our dog has pretty bad fear aggression and is super protective of me. She's tried to go after dogs, kids, people in general which is why I rarely take her out by myself (she's different with DH.) I always worried how she was going to be with baby since she would be upset when pretty much anyone would come near me. When I was around 34 weeks pregnant I was walking her in the middle of the day and a girl around 11 came running toward us with her dog. I told her quickly that my dog wasn't nice around other dogs but it was too late. She pulled me off my feet and I let go of the leash since at that point I could care less what she did to the kid's dog. Luckily I managed to land more on my side but I was still so scared that I went to the Dr. -baby was fine but this incident certainly didn't make me feel better about Bella. DH & I talked about it and decided that any hint of aggression out of her and we would have to give her away.
My mom was with us for Megan's birth and was at home with Bella when we got back from the hospital. She was outside with the dog so that when we got out of the car with baby we all went into the house together. We let her sniff her while we were outside and she was fine. When we got inside she went over and smelled her again and went and laid down in her "spot." I couldn't believe how she was with her! She was kind of neutral, didn't go out of her way to be with her but didn't display any sign of aggression toward her at all -even when I was holding her! Fast forward 9 months and Bella's pretty much the same -she'll come over and give her hand or foot a lick then go lie down.
Megan on the other hand LOVES Bella -I'm positive "Bella" is going to be one of her first words. So sorry for the book I just wrote lol. As for advice, I would suggest introducing them outside your house so that the dog doesn't feel like baby is "invading" his/her space but instead going in together as a family and definitely try to give a lot of attention -even though it's super hard.
We don't have any dogs but we have one cat. He's pretty shy so he'll probably hide under the bed for a while when we bring the baby home. He's very cuddly though so once he gets used to baby, I just worry about him snuggling up to the baby when we're asleep or something-- he's very soft and fluffy. We got our crib set up in our room over the weekend and he sniffed it a couple times but he hasn't showed much interest at all or tried to get in it so I'm hoping he leaves it alone once it starts being used. I'll definitely try to prepare him with smells and sounds though, that's a great idea!
Our dogs were our kids pre baby. So much so that DH wasn't sure about having kids yet because he was concerned how the dogs would take it- oy! One dog barks at everyone who is not DH or me and then gets the other dog going so we were concerned when we got home it would be a big bark fest however when we walked in the door with her they acted like they normally do when we come home. However, 15 minutes later when my mom walked in they started barking like crazy and the baby could care less. It was as if the three of them were already completely comfortable with each other.
One dog follows us around and smells her and cuddles with us when we BF the other dog could care less. We are so glad that things have gone smoothly! We both agreed that if either dog showed any aggression towards DD they'd be gone in a minute. Of course we also do not let the dogs get to close to her and definitely never left alone with her.