Can My Dog Tell If I’m Pregnant?

Picture of pregnant woman and a dog

Dogs are some of the most loyal and attentive creatures in the world. They are always there to offer you comfort when it is needed, as well as being man and woman’s best friend. Whatever breed and size they come in, each one has their own personality and a lot of love to give, especially in certain situations. Not only are dogs happy to see you when you walk through the front door, but they are fiercely loyal and offer protection when they think their humans need it.

When it comes to reading body language, dogs are the best at it, but did you know that they are able to tell when a woman is pregnant? Sometimes it is even before the woman herself knows it and there is a very scientific reason as to why.

Sniffing it out

The bond between humans and dogs can be extremely strong, especially as they are around each other most of the time. One of the first ways that they can recognize that something is different with their female owner is by using their incredible sense of smell. Jeff Werber is the president and chief veterinarian of the Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles, and he explained how they can do this. “We have 5 million receptors in our noses, dogs have 200 million. Dogs can detect when a seizure is coming on, when a person is hypogylcemic, and they can detect cancer and fear, so there’s certainly scents they can pick up on.”

While dogs may not be able to know exactly if a woman is carrying a child, they can sense that there is something different due to smelling the hormonal changes in a woman’s body. This can often cause them to be careful and more curious when they notice the change in scent. Peter L. Borchelt is a New York-based certified animal behaviorist and said that because dogs are sensitive to people’s moods, they can sense when women are more emotional and anxious, which can happen during pregnancy.

Changes in your behavior

If you can notice a change in the way you are moving and behaving, then the likelihood is that your dog can notice those changes as well. An example of this could be when you are struggling to stand up from your position on the couch, making a groan due to the size of your belly. Dogs often spend their time following their humans around the house which means they are likely to notice how you might be waddling instead of rushing around like you normally are.

A symptom of pregnancy is often morning sickness and needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of night. If the light is being switched on more than normal, or you seem to be spending longer behind the closed door, your dog is going to possibly be confused and curious about what you are getting up to. Borchelt went on to explain, “If they were people, they would say, ‘Gee what’s going on, something’s different here but I’m not sure what nor why,’” which is exactly what a human friend would say.

They can see you getting bigger

Dogs have incredible observation skills, which they have retained since the days long ago when dogs were wild and depending on if the breed is used as a guard dog, they will be very aware of their surroundings. While another person might not notice a bit of weight gain due to pregnancy, these intelligent creatures will because they know you so well. When your stomach starts to get bigger they will note the changes of how you sit and walk, especially if they are normally glued to your side.

If they like to lie in your lap, they will be able to see the growing bump up close and personal. Borchelt said that it is possible the dog will be able to hear the infant’s heartbeat, although he says it is very hard to prove scientifically. If it is in fact true, then it would explain why they become more territorial and protective of not just one, but two humans.

Dynamics start to shift in the “pack”

Over the century’s humans have turned dogs into domestic animals and it can be easy to forget that they still like to operate in packs. After all, the reason for them not listening to commands sometimes is that they think they are the alpha dog in their family. Something that can sometimes happen when dogs notice more attention being put on the woman is that they sense a shift in the hierarchy, which causes them to want more attention. Of course, the way they react is all down to the personality of the dog itself, with some becoming bossy and protective if they are bold or gentle if they are calm. This gives them a chance to become the alpha and assert some dominance.

However, on the other hand they may notice the husband or partner being more protective of the pregnant woman and this can cause some dogs to act out. While they may not attack people outright, they could start urinating around the house to mark their territory or chew any new items for the baby, such as toys or clothing. This is often brought on by the sudden change in family dynamics, but they will eventually calm down and return to normal.

In times like these it is important to remember that the dog is a member of the family as well and giving them some more love and attention will give them the reassurance they need. Then you can all welcome the new addition into the family with open arms and paws.

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Georgina Donnelly

Georgina Donnelly

Working as a writer for three years, Georgina Donnelly enjoys creating fun and informative articles about a wide range of topics. Growing up around two Dobermans taught her to respect animals, as well as watching their unique habits such as one falling asleep suckling his blanket. Now she spends her time around an excitable Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Willow.

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