Do Dogs Know When You’re Expecting?

January 25th, 2008 by megan

I am at that point in my life when it seems the majority of my friends are either having babies or seem to be continuously pregnant. Some have noticed their animals acting differently around their big bellies. Do dogs really know when you have a little bun in the oven?

It is well known that dogs have a kind of intuition about certain things. Some dogs are sensitive to changes in weather, others can alert a patient before an epileptic seizure. When you are pregnant, changes in your body that may be minor to you may be picked up easily by your dog. They may notice body temperature fluctuations, hormone changes, or even slight mood alterations that cause them to react a bit differently. And of course they have an amazing sense of smell, so perhaps they are just adjusting to changing pregnancy pheromones.

Reactions can vary according to your specific pet. Some can become more protective, as was the case with one of my dog-walking clients. The dog, a Great Dane named Layla, had never given me any problems or shown any signs of aggression until the instant her owner became pregnant. Then, when I would come to walk Layla and her owner was home, Layla would run up to her and essentially block my way, while giving a little growl – becoming very protective. But when her owner gave the “ok”, Layla would have no problem trotting outside with me for her walk.

Some dogs may even have the opposite reaction. Instead of becoming clingy and protective, they may become aloof or nervous, or exhibit some anxiety. In any case, if the situation becomes more than you can handle, contact your vet or a canine behavioral specialist. In most cases it seems the protectiveness or aggression abates after the baby is born, and they should adjust quite well to having a new member in the family.
Pregnant woman walking dog

photo by Reid Harris Cooper

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