Our pups can be very perceptive, and their senses are stronger than ours. Expecting mothers with dogs may have noticed that their pets seem to suspect something. So when big changes like pregnancy happen, our dogs are bound to notice.
But what exactly do our dogs know? Do they understand that we're pregnant? And why do they seem to know when their human is pregnant before they know themselves? We dug into canine senses to understand what they know when their humans are expecting.
Dogs have powerful noses, so they can sense changes in our body.
As we all know, dogs have an incredible sense of smell. Because of this, they can sniff out changes in our body, which we might not even detect. Dogs have been known to sniff out cancer and diabetes, and yes, they can sniff out pregnancy as well.
During pregnancy, our bodies experience a major hormonal shift. These hormones are released in different amounts and patterns. While we may not actually perceive these changes, our dogs can smell them. They know that something has changed in your body, sometimes even before you do.
Yes, because our body chemicals change early in pregnancy, your dog may know that you're pregnant before you do.
While your dog can definitely sense the changes in your body, they probably won't connect the changes to pregnancy. Our dogs may be smart, but they aren't doctors. They don't know that the changes they detect signal a baby on the way.
Even if your dog doesn't understand the reason, they still often react to the changes.
You're a part of your dog's pack, so they usually won't take big changes lying down. Many dogs have an obvious reaction when their human becomes pregnant. Some dogs become more protective. You may notice that your usually loving dog has now become your constant companion, following you everywhere.
Other dogs might shy away from these changes. You might notice that your dog seems to hang out more regularly in its favorite hiding spot. Or you may notice that your dog has become more affectionate than it was before. A dog that isn't usually into snuggling may suddenly become a snuggle bug.
Of course, some dogs may notice the changes, but have no reaction at all.
It's not just biological changes that your dog senses, but also environmental ones.
When you're pregnant, naturally your life starts to change. It can start with small things, like waking up more frequently at night. Or going to more doctor's appointments. Eventually, you'll start preparing your new nursery, and your belly will be showing. Almost all of these changes will be noticed by your dog.
"Dogs are students of our routine. Any change, such as different work hours, exercise or bedtime, is very prominent to a dog," Jennie K. Willis, an applied animal behaviorist , explained to Animal Planet. Because dogs are creatures of routine, they will definitely notice when you change yours. So that your dog doesn't become to anxious, try to make time for playtime or snuggle time, even during this busy time.
As your baby develops, your dog can probably hear it.
Along with sensing other changes, as your baby develops more and more, it becomes perceptible to your dog's sharp ears. You may notice that your dog has started paying more attention to your belly.
While your dog still may not understand what is in your belly, it can probably hear something. In fact, it can probably hear your baby crying in the womb.
As you prepare for your growing family, you'll probably want to prepare your pup as well.
Make sure to introduce some of the new baby supplies slowly, so your dog gets used to it. And make sure to give your dog plenty of special time — playtime, snuggles, etc. — so that it knows it still has a place in your growing family. That way, when your bundle of joy arrives, your pup will be prepared, as best as any of you can be.
Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Scroll through this article about what it means when your pet doesn't remember you. Also, like us on Facebook and join our newsletter to learn more about your pet's behavior.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.