Expecting a baby is a super exciting time for the whole family – and I repeat the whole family.
Since you have clicked on this post, you have probably noticed a few changes in your dog’s behavior since you have become pregnant.
Your dog might be more clingy than usual and prefers to stay at your side at all times.
Dogs are incredibly observant and affectionate pets that are very sensitive to changes around them.
As highly social and domesticated animals, dogs are amazing at picking up the smallest disturbances in their familiar environment.
And what greater change could happen to you than growing a whole human inside your belly?
Keep on reading to find out whether or not dogs can pick up on pregnancy and how it influences their behavior.
In short, dogs can become more clingy when you are pregnant, however, each dog is different and there is no guarantee that your dog will react in any way.
Signs Your Dog Knows You Are Pregnant
Pregnancy usually comes with a lot of changes to your body and your daily routine.
Every dog reacts differently to those changes and while many won’t change their behavior drastically, others might experience one or several of the following signs.
An increase in affectionate behavior is commonly seen in dogs that live with a pregnant owner.
They can become very clingy and may even refuse to leave your side.
Even following you to the bathroom could become a new habit (if it isn’t one already).
Some dogs start grooming their owner and attempt to comfort them, especially during rough patches.
While this is totally normal and understandable behavior, it can also turn into protectiveness which I will talk more about below.
Sometimes, pregnant women simply perceive their dogs to be more clingy since they spend more time resting on the couch themselves.
If you get yourself into a comfortable position more often, your dog might take advantage of that.
An increase in protectiveness is totally normal and it’s sweet to see that your dog has your back when you become more vulnerable.
Your dog might start barking more often and his overall alertness may increase.
However, some dogs take their job very seriously which could lead to problems.
Blocking family members from approaching you or interacting with you can be difficult to deal with.
Territorial behavior can involve aggression which would definitely be a sign that your dog is not handling the changes well.
Although this sounds very scary, most dogs just need some help to adjust to the changes.
Dogs can definitely react negatively to changes in their daily routine and environment.
As I have mentioned before, clinginess is only one sign that your dog can display when you are pregnant.
Pregnancy comes with a lot of discomfort and when you are feeling unwell, it’s not unlikely that this might influence your dog’s behavior and well-being.
A 2019 study has shown that dogs can mirror the stress levels of their owners.
Our results show that long-term stress hormone levels were synchronized between dogs and humans, two different species sharing everyday life. This could not be explained by either physical activity or by the amount of training.Long-term stress levels are synchronized in dogs and their owners
Depression and anxiety of the owner can have similar effects on dogs which could lead to nervousness, fearfulness, or other behaviors.
Fear can also come with aggression that can be directed toward the owner and/or other people.
It’s not unheard of that dogs turn to destructive behaviors in times of uncertainty.
So if your dog suddenly starts chewing up furniture or shredding toilet paper, this might be a sign that your dog senses the pregnancy.
Your dog might also have accidents inside the home although he has been potty trained as a puppy.
Once the new routine with a baby has been established, these symptoms should subside for the most part.
Do Dogs Know When You Are Pregnant?
Anecdotally, many women would confirm that dogs know when you are pregnant and scientifically they could be able to sniff out the hormonal changes happening inside your body.
During your pregnancy, your body goes through a rollercoaster of hormones.
Besides estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, oxytocin, and relaxin, your body also produces human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) which is completely unique to pregnancy.
Dogs have a far better sense of smell than we do and they can smell the slightest changes in our bodies.
For example, dogs have been found to be able to detect high stress levels in humans.
Results indicate that the physiological processes associated with an acute psychological stress response produce changes in the volatile organic compounds emanating from breath and/or sweat that are detectable to dogs.Dogs can discriminate between human baseline and psychological stress condition odours
Body odor usually changes when you are pregnant and can become stronger so there is no reason not to believe that dogs can sense when you are pregnant.
However just because your dog can pick up on the changes doesn’t mean that he understands that you are actually pregnant.
There is no way for us to tell if your dog is aware that this pregnancy will lead to a baby that will live with him after 9 months.
Besides the odor, there are other changes that might happen in your body or your life that your dog might be aware of.
During pregnancy, you might experience a lot of discomfort that could lead to you and your dog acting differently.
When you are unwell, your dog might want to spend more time with you to provide some comfort.
This could also mean that your daily routine changes and the length and/or frequency of walks might differ from day to day.
Dogs are very sensitive to changes in routine and while some are not really bothered by it, others might not get used to their new life as easily.
Can Dogs Sense Labor
There is no scientific evidence that suggests that dogs can sense labor, however, they might notice the hormonal changes in your body right before delivery and may become more clingy and protective.
Many women have reported that their dogs behave differently even a few days before delivery.
This is most likely due to changes in your hormones which influence your scent.
Service dogs are used as seizures, insulin, and even cancer detectors so believing that dogs can sense labor isn’t farfetched.
When you get closer to labor, the contractions can leave you walking in an unusual way or force you into more comfortable positions that your dog is not used to.
You may also start groaning or becoming more agitated which all adds to the whole picture.
Any changes can trigger concern in your dog and he can definitely tell that something is happening.Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.