Dogs are indeed intelligent beings. They are trained to scent out weapons, drugs and even the most dangerous Cancer. Scientists have researched things that dogs can smell since they have a powerful nose. It is believed that dogs become clingy and protective and pick up subtle signals about their owner’s pregnancy. But why do they protect pregnant ladies for others might confuse us. Sometimes, they sense pregnancy even before the owner has any knowledge about it. If the dog is an observant one, he’ll know that his owner is pregnant.
In such cases, it seems impossible to keep the dog away from its owner. They are super observant and notice the small bump growing on their owner. It is believed that they even pick a scent coming from the expectant mothers. Pregnancy and dogs are somehow interrelated. With pregnancy, certain personality changes and undesirable behaviours can be seen in the dog.
Not necessarily every dog will turn out protective for its owner during pregnancy. This is a trait of personality that the dogs display. But there are several reasons for your dog to be aware of its owner’s pregnancy and be highly protective about it.
Can Dogs sense Pregnancy?
Medically, dogs are trained in such a manner that they can –
- Detect prostate cancer by only sniffing the urine samples.
- Detect high /low blood pressure by picking up the change in the odour of humans
- Detect narcolepsy due to a change in the sweat odour.
While a woman is pregnant, she goes through many changes in the hormones and body. There is a rise in the hormones of the body, which is quite normal. Hormones like Estrogen contribute to a healthy pregnancy, Prolactin prepares breasts for lactation and Relaxin loosens the area around the pelvic bones which help in delivery. These changes lead to a shift in your natural body scent which is easily recognised by your dog.
The dogs sensing pregnancy is not yet proved. But they have a clear sense of smell which is a plausible explanation.
Why do they become clingy?
While some dogs become snuggly, some dogs do become worried for you. They understand the owner’s discomfort and mood alterations and thus, try acting protective and signal imminent labour. They will also pick up the change in the body language and the way you walk when the pregnancy gains weight. They have a noticeable focus on the belly area and lay their heads there.
But even though your dog wants to curl up with you during pregnancy, he can react oppositely at times.
What is the root of such behaviour?
Dogs’ noses are way superior to ours. They can differentiate from thousands of scents and find out what it is looking for. When your body starts changing during pregnancy, the dogs pick it up and start acting accordingly. They can be conscious at times, and again regardless at other times.
During pregnancy, your daily routine starts changing. You can wake up late in the morning, or change your cooking and eating habits. Even organizing or remodelling the room for your baby can cause serious changes in the behaviour of your dog. Such a change in your routine can make the dog even more protective of you since he may feel apathetic.
However, some dogs can also become more attentive and affectionate towards you. In case, your dog is vulnerable to all the changes, he can take an oath to be your assistant by always being by your side and protecting you from any danger.
Things that you should do for your dog during pregnancy:
After the behaviours subside back to normal, you can train your dog to adapt to them. As a result, the addition of a small, yet louder family member will not disturb him. You can take him on walks or ask some other member of the family to do it and can give him enough attention to make sure everything is fine. Such attitudes will make him realise that no matter what, you will always be welcoming him with open arms.
You can also reinforce house training on your dog. They can start urinating inappropriately when dealing with aggressive behaviour. Try dealing with the problem before it gets out of hand. Take him out and reward him for urinating at the appropriate place. You can also restrict the dog’s limit till he becomes reliable again.
Your hospital days can be seriously disturbing for him. After the first few days, he can have behavioural issues and start acting destructively. In such cases, you may need to take him to the doctor.
How do dogs react to pregnancy?
While you are pregnant, the body goes through several changes. During this time, the strange behaviour of your dogs might skip your mind. Pregnancy brings a tad bit of overwhelming to dogs. They are animals who always want love. Therefore, like humans, pregnancy can also be stressful for dogs.
Dogs are very sensitive to changes. Those who are too close to their owners are likely to be affected more. While some have a desire for more attention, others can exhibit aggressive displays. Mostly, dogs become protective towards their owner. They may try to keep their owner away from strangers. They tend to bark, growl, or try to bite others who try to approach their owner. They can even try blocking doors with their bodies and growl when someone tries to hug or shake hands with his owner.
But, when the dog starts behaving aggressively, the behaviour should be controlled before it gets worse. You cannot expect him to become just the way he was after the baby is born. If not taken care of, the situation can go from bad to worse!
Can they read our moods?
The physical and emotional state of a woman tends to change during pregnancy. Depending on the intimacy that you and your dog have, they might be able to read your moods.
Pregnancy leads to morning sicknesses like nausea and vomiting. Your dog may not be very familiar with you throwing up every day. It can also disrupt your dog’s morning walks and with growing pregnancy, they can get lesser and slower.
But, if it finds you unfit, it might stay close to you, to keep you company.
After some point in time, a mother can hear a fetal heartbeat of her child without using a Fetal Doppler. There is no evidence, but it is certainly possible that dogs are capable of listening to your heartbeat. They have a better sense of hearing, with a wider range as compared to humans. This is a reason why they can hear a fetal heartbeat.
Things you should do before the baby arrives:
Your dog should be more accustomed to flexibility after the baby arrives. Try to change your dog’s schedule. Vary his feeding time so that he becomes more flexible. Try exercising him at odd times so that he is not upset about the disruption in his routine after the baby’s arrival.
You can also make him smell baby products. Dogs are more close to scents. The smell of the baby products will make him more accustomed to the arrival of the baby. You can also wash your pet’s bedding with the baby’s laundry detergent.
You can also start to make your dog get accustomed to baby sounds. Babies cry, usually a lot and a bit louder. Your dog might get uncomfortable with so much noise in the house. Play recordings of a baby crying so that he can get used to large noises in the house.
After the arrival of the baby, you may need to give him/her more time. This can create great discontentment for your dog. Therefore, you need to reduce your attention to him. This way he won’t feel lonely when you cannot give him the required time. But, do not keep him away from the baby. He should learn about the new addition you’ve made. Give them time to know each other. Most of the time, this experiment turns out to be the best thing. Who knows, they can even turn into best friends!
The entire process of pregnancy is not as easy as it seems. Caring for a baby for 9 months is a tough job. Make sure you are prepared to take up the responsibility, both physically and mentally. But, just like pregnancy, taking care of a dog is also hard.
While he makes it his responsibility to protect you and your baby from every harm, you also must make sure that he is not left out. Avoid such situations that can trigger your dog’s aggressive side. Don’t change their daily routine very often. Dogs hate changes. Also, try keeping your life as normal as possible because much of your dog’s behaviour depends upon your daily routine.Be patient and firm while conditioning your dog to adapt to the situation after the arrival of the baby. Give both the baby and the dog time. As time passes, both will return to their normal lives.
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