We know that dogs are incredibly in tune with their environments, and on top of that, they have an exceptional sense of hearing. Do you think that this means dogs can sense babies as they grow and develop in the womb?
Many pregnant women have actually reported that their dogs are the first to know that they are expecting. While it may be that your pup is able to smell the hormonal changes, your pup can also hear what is happening and changing inside the body. Dogs are able to hear in the "ultrasound range," meaning dogs can hear certain things happening inside the fetus, possibly even the baby’s heartbeat! Read on to find out more!
Signs Your Dog Can Hear a Fetus
Dogs have a very intense sense of hearing, a sense that could make it possible for them to hear a baby’s heartbeat in the womb. However, even if your furry friend cannot hear the baby, your dog has other senses it can rely on.
Dogs are able to pick up on mood changes, body chemistry, and behavioral changes - all factors that alert your pup that change is happening. Dogs also have a great sense of smell, up to a million times better than that of humans! Whether your pup can hear the baby or smell hormonal changes, you may notice changes in your dog's behavior as your dog realizes something might be off!
Even further, once the baby is moving around inside the womb, your pup is probably hearing the baby's movement and heartbeat. If you notice that your canine companion seems alert or confused while staring at your belly, your pup might notice something going on in there. You will probably see your pup's ears perk up and or your pup's heads tilt to the side. Further, dogs tend to get protective over their owners once they understand they are pregnant, so don't be thrown off if your canine companion doesn't leave your side.
The History Behind Dogs Hearing a Fetus
As descendants from wolves, dogs have exceptional hearing abilities (they needed this ability to hunt as they roamed the wild for food). Researchers believe that wolves had high-frequency hearing abilities so they could hunt their prey. Mice, rats, and other rodents make high-pitched squealing noises, and also make up a large part of the wolf diet. The ability to hear prey from a distance enabled wolves to be the best hunters.
The shape of a dog's ear also makes it good for hearing. Take a moment to consider that humans will sometimes cup their ears to hear better, while some dogs' ears are already shaped in a cupped position. Further, dogs have mobility in their ears. While humans only have six muscles in each ear, dogs have 18! These muscles allow dogs to move their ears in many directions.
The Science Behind Dogs Hearing a Fetus
Dogs have far superior hearing abilities over humans. While people can hear sounds between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz, dogs can hear sounds in frequencies ranging from 40 hertz to 60,000 hertz. This means that dogs may not be able to hear sounds that are as deep as those which humans can hear, but they can hear sounds that are much higher than human ears can detect.
Think about dog whistles - they drive your pooch crazy, but you may not even notice! Further, dogs tend to hear better than humans because their ears have more mobility. Your pup has 18 muscles in each ear, allowing them to be tilted in several directions and maximize the ability to hear. Humans, on the other hand, have 6 muscles in each ear and lack the ability to rotate or tilt their ears in the direction of a sound.
Doctors believe that babies in the womb may start to cry around the 28th week of pregnancy. Crying may be a response to loud noises outside of the human body. And while we will not notice, our pups with their super ears might be able to hear the crying. Even more pawsome, since science shows that babies can hear noises outside the body, it's completely plausible that dogs can hear what is happening inside the womb!
Preparing Your Dog for a Baby
Dogs have very different personalities, meaning dogs may react to pregnancy in a number of ways. Some dogs may be extremely overwhelmed by a new household member, while others may take it upon themselves to watch over the baby. While it is impossible to predict how your dog will react, it is definitely possible to be prepared in order to ensure that your home stays safe:
- Any unwanted behavior you notice in your dog during your pregnancy should be work on immediately. You can work on training your dog yourself or you can hire a trainer.
- Focus on leadership. You should reinforce the positions in the household, and that you are the one in charge.
- Be aware. Your dog may be anxious or stressed when welcoming a newborn home. Dogs mirror our energy, so maintain joy and excited behavior to keep your pup happy too.
- Establish boundaries around the nursery.
- Never leave your dog alone with the new baby. Even the friendliest dogs can unintentionally injure a baby
- Control the introduction, and don't rush it. Allow your dog to get used to new smells, sounds, and sights that go along with the baby.
- Don't forget your dog. Maintain routines to keep your dog feeling loved and secure.
Written by Olivia Gerth
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 06/18/2018, edited: 04/06/2020