New addition: Does your dog realise you’re pregnant?
If you’re planning to start a family or are already expecting your first child, it is important to pay some mind to how this will impact upon your dog, and of course, to introduce your new baby to your dog carefully when they do arrive in the world.
Many women with children and a dog will tell you that their dog seemed to know when they were pregnant and behave accordingly, being more affectionate and protective than normal, as well as realising that a change was in the air. But do dogs instinctively know when their owners are pregnant, and if so, how? Well, there are a range of different things that might tip your dog off, and give them some level of awareness that a baby is on the way, or that something is different. In this article, we will look at some of the ways in which dogs might be able to tell when their owner is pregnant, and what lets them know this. Read on to learn more. Hormonal changes The dog’s sense of smell is vastly more complex than our own, and dogs can detect a much wider range of scents in more detail, and with far fewer scent particles to work with than us humans. Dogs smell things that we don’t realise even exist, but that are around us all the time - and of course, being pregnant triggers a large upheaval in the body’s hormone levels, which your dog will almost certainly know about from the subtle change this will produce in your own familiar scent. Whether female dogs are more sensitive to picking this up than males is something that we don’t know for sure, but this is potentially likely to be the case. However, all dogs can pick up on hormonal changes very easily, and there is every chance that your dog might realise you are pregnant even before you do! Morning sickness Dogs also know when their handlers are feeling sick or under the weather, both because nausea and feeling a little off again changes your scent profile, and also because this is apt to lead to a change in your normal behaviours until the sickness passes. While we as humans get to witness our dogs vomiting from time to time because they’ve eaten grass or eaten something disagreeable, our dogs don’t see us getting sick with anything like the same level of frequency, and it is probably quite notable for dogs when they do! Emotional cues The hormonal changes that pregnancy causes can lead to mood swings, emotional changes and feelings that dogs are very sensitive to, as they are so tuned into the moods and tempers of their people. If your pregnancy is making you weepy or leaving you tackling mood swings and erratic feelings, your dog will probably stick close to try to help you to feel better! How you stand and walk As your pregnancy progresses, your posture, stance, and walking pace will all change somewhat to accommodate the growing baby, which can feel quite unwieldy and uncomfortable, and rather restrictive too! Many pregnant women suffer from back pain or other temporary physical problems whilst pregnant, all of which your dog will pick up on over time. Changes to your routine Dogs like to live by a fairly set routine so that they understand their lives, and know when to expect food, exercise, and when their people will be home. Preparing for the arrival of a new baby often means changes to this routine, as medical appointments, shopping for the baby, having friends and family over to help out, and getting ready for the arrival all have an impact. This in turn will alert your dog to the fact that something is going on, or that a period of upheaval is in the offing. New things in the home For something so small, babies certainly need an awful lot of stuff in order to care for them, which may mean redecorating a whole room of the house as a nursery, and child-proofing and making alterations to other areas of the home too. Setting up a crib or nursery, bringing lots of new things for the baby into the home and spending time and attention on them all help to let your dog know that a new arrival is coming. Excitement Knowing that you’ll soon be bringing a new life into the world is of course hugely exciting (as well as generally rather daunting!) and the anticipation of a new baby on the way can generate an air of excitement among the dog’s owners, and often, any visitors they have too. Dogs pick up on excitement very easily, and the atmosphere within your home as the day draws nearer will certainly have an effect on your dog and reinforce the idea that something is going on, that your dog will probably be keen to get involved in!