Expecting a new bundle of joy in the next nine months? Maybe you suspect that you're expecting, but you're not sure yet? Your K9 best friend may already know!
There's no shortage of fascination when it comes to talking about how your dog will react to a new member of the family, but can your dog actually sense that you're growing a tiny baby? It's hard to say for sure, but there are a few indicators that might show that your dog is sensing a change in your family’s dynamic and environment.
Signs Your Dog Knows a Baby is Coming
So, how can you tell if your dog might be sensing that you’re pregnant? There are a few behaviors he might start exhibiting such as sniffing, guarding, alertness, growling, barking, and even chewing.
The way that most experts speculate that a dog senses a change in their owner is through scent. Your dog may start noticing that you simply smell different. This can be from hormones and other factors. So, you might notice them sniffing you more closely.
Once your dog senses a change through scent or other factors, you might notice them starting to be more alert, and guarding you more closely. While your furry companion may not understand pregnancy, he can understand changes in his environment. When they sense that you might be experiencing changes emotionally or physically, they may start becoming more protective of you. This protectiveness can also lead to growling and barking at people who approach you in a dog who didn’t do that before.
It’s important to keep a close eye on your furry companion, as changes might be a lot for him to take in. So, they might start becoming destructive and chewing things if they are not getting enough attention. On the reverse side, you may notice your dog wanting to cuddle and sit in your lap more, which can be a charming development.
History of Dogs Sensing Pregnancy
The topic of if and how dogs sense pregnancy has been around for many, many years. In fact, if you do a quick google search, you’ll notice this has been a very popular discussion. Most pet owners feel that the close bond with their furry companion makes it so the dog knows about the baby even before their pet mom or dad explains it to them.
There are also many videos on the internet of dogs sniffing and licking their owner’s belly where the baby is developing. Coincidence? You’ll have to be the judge, but many owners think it’s another example of their pet being in-tune with the dog-owner bond.
Science Behind Dogs Sensing Pregnancy
Most of the information we have on this topic really is based on speculation and feelings of dog owners. There haven’t been any studies in this specific area yet. Though, we do know, dogs have a great sense of smell, and have been trained to sniff out everything from drugs, to finding your lunch bag.
Most theories about dogs sensing pregnancy, center around your dog’s ability to smell changes in your body. Many sources talk about how hormonal changes might change the way you smell. Which, would mean that your dog could sense changes in you, even before you’re physically showing.
Another interesting thing to note is how dogs perceive environmental changes. So, even if they don’t pick up on a new scent, they may notice you putting together your new bundle of joy’s nursery and figure that something’s up.
Training Your Dog If They Sense You're Pregnant
As mentioned before, changes in smell or environment can lead your dog to change their behavior. Like humans, every dog is different, so the way they react to changes could be positive or negative. If your dog starts to be more cuddly and protective of you and your family, this could be a positive behavior change.
Many owners report this happening and see that the dog seems elated when their mom or dad brings their new human sibling home. While the protectiveness and cuddles can be sweet and charming, if that protectiveness turns into overprotectiveness, you’ll have a problem. For example, if your dog is showing you affection and staying close to you at all times, and they lash out at your significant other when they approach you, that’s a warning sign that you need to address.
As with any changes in your home, your dog might start feeling left out or abandoned. So, they might start chewing or destroying things. If this happens, and your dog has never done it before, it might be a sign that they understand things are changing. In this case, it might be time to start figuring out what you can do to help your furry companion feel more comfortable.
If your dog does start exhibiting different behaviors, it’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure their needs are being met. Make sure they're getting adequate exercise, make sure to play with them every day, and maybe even give them a few of their favorite treats when they show good behavior. If your dog ever lashes out at you, another family member, or even a complete stranger, you should seek professional dog training help.
So, while it’s still a bit of a mystery whether a dog can sense if a baby is coming or not, just keep in mind that since dogs can sense change, your dog might have an idea something new is coming.
By Katie Anderson
Published: 03/24/2018, edited: 04/06/2020