The former Emmerdale star, 35, took to Instagram to post a string of photos and urge her dog-owning followers not to worry if they have a baby on the way.
She explained that a lot of the dogs she sees at the animal sanctuary she’s involved in are there because their previous owners had a baby – and made the “heartbreaking” decision to hand in their pooch.
Offering words of advice for helping dogs and babies integrate within a family unit, Gemma said she and her partner, Strictly‘s Gorka Márquez, made sure their own dogs Norman and Ollie were involved in “everything” from the moment they knew a baby was on the way.
She wrote in the post’s caption: “People ask a lot how Norman and Ollie are with Mia. It seems a massive fear of how the family dog will react when a baby is due.
I tried to involve them in everything.
“We have a lot of animals at our sanctuary that have been left because of a baby arriving. I understand people’s situations are different and to have to make that choice must be heartbreaking.
“Norman and Ollie are my everything and the only advice I have is what I did and what worked for us.
“From the minute I was pregnant, I tried to involve them in everything. Smelling Mia’s clothes, sitting in the nursery with them, laying with them and her blankets and now she’s here, we still do the same.”
Writing further, Gemma said Norman and Ollie are “never shut in another room” just because Mia’s there and are “never pushed out”.
And when she comes home, she doesn’t just go to Mia but greets all three of them.
She continued: “They are still allowed on the couch and our bed – a big no for some but for me a hell yes – and whenever Mia wakes up, they waddle over and I always let them have a smell, a look and feel part of her.
“Dogs love routine. They are a pack animal and they need to feel just that. Part of the pack. At this time of year especially a lot of dogs are brought into a family only to be sent back when people realise the responsibility. It’s not fair for those pets and it’s confusing for them.”
She concluded by pointing out that she’s “not an expert” and only explaining what worked for her family.
She added: “Don’t be fearful of a baby joining the family, see it as just another Hoooman for your furry friend to love. Just like they love you.”
Gemma and Gorka welcomed baby Mia to the world in July.
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