My Dog Won't Leave My Side When I Am Pregnant
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You may be aware that a dog can sense a woman's pregnancy. This is mainly thanks to their incredible sense of smell which allows them to observe cellular changes in a woman's body that we are ill equipped to perceive. It is also because our dog pays attention to us. When we build a strong bond with our canine, they will share an intimacy with us which is quite special. They will notice when we change habits, behaviors and even shampoo. Thanks to their olfactory acuity and close relationship with us, they can tell we are pregnant. Even if they don't know what pregnancy means, they can relate to us in a different manner during pregnancy.
If you are an expectant mother, you may notice that your dog does not leave your side when you are pregnant. While it can be comforting and reassuring to have a loving being so close to us, it can be a little jarring. It may even be impractical. This is why AnimalWised asks why does my dog stay by my side when I am pregnant?
Can my dog tell that I'm pregnant?
While being or planning to be pregnant, you may wonder if your dog can tell your body is changing. While you will be thinking of ways to tell those close to your about the news, it is different for your dog. Not only do you wonder if a dog can tell you are pregnant, but you think about whether they know what this means. Although they do not have the capacity to understand the complex circumstances of our pregnancy, your dog can tell if you are pregnant.
Dogs can sense pregnancy on both an organic and behavioral level. Thanks to their magnificent sense of smell, dogs perceive chemical changes which happen in our body, even on cellular levels. One of the main reasons dogs can sense these changes is due to hormones. When a woman becomes pregnant her hormone production changes to accommodate the gestating fetus. Estrogen and progesterone levels increase almost immediately, something your dog may be able to smell. In this sense, they may be aware your are pregnant before you are.
Although smell is their most developed tool, it is not the only way dogs can tell we are pregnant. Dogs are experts at observing human behavior. We cannot open a bag of chips without our dog bounding towards us at full pelt. This is due to our close relationships with them and their need for routine. By knowing what happens to us, they can feel more secure and communicate better with their point of reference, i.e. their guardians.
Not being able to communicate through words, dogs use movements and gestures to communicate to us. They also see our movements, gestures and behaviors to try to understand what we want to communicate to them. When we are pregnant, our behaviors and routines become altered, something canines can notice. Another factor is body temperature. Our dog knows when ours changes, something that occurs during different stages of pregnancy.
How do dogs behave when you are pregnant?
Dogs can behave in many different ways when faced with their guardian's pregnancy. Each dog has their own personality, made up from their individual genetic traits, behaviors and previous experiences. As we look at how dogs behave when we are pregnant, we need to know that not all dogs will behave in the same way. Some may not alter their behavior at all. With this in mind, dogs may do the following when we are pregnant:
- Nervous or restless: a minority of dogs may become more nervous or even anxious during our pregnancy. This can be due to the simple fact that dogs are sensitive to environmental changes. Especially if they have some reason to be nervous (e.g. previous traumatic experience, poor socialization, etc.), they may feel insecure when we are pregnant.
- Concerned: since our bodies change when we are pregnant, it is possible our dog will think something is wrong. Although our dog can sense our hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy, changes to our mobility, tiredness levels, pregnancy pains and even our increased size might be interpreted as a cause for concern in our dogs. They may also becomes more protective when other people are around, but we need to ensure this does not lead to the dog becoming possessive over us or even aggressive.
- More affectionate: it is impossible to tell for sure what is going through a dog's mind, but it is true that dogs can feel protective over their family. Some dogs are more protective than others, but it is possible your dog will simply want to be near you more often and show you affection during this time. For some of us, this may be due to practical reasons. When we take time off work for pregnancy, we are often around the house more. The dog might interpret this as a desire to spend more time with them and act accordingly.
- Distant: our pregnancy will rightly take up a lot of our time and energy. For this reason, it is possible we cannot spend the same amount of time with our dog. When we factor in the physical changes of pregnancy, we may not be able to exercise with the dog as we did before. This can lead to the dog feeling rejected and they may even start to distance themselves from us.
As you can see, there are many reasons why a dog may not leave our side when we are pregnant. A desire to protect us, concern over changes in the household or simply wanting to share in our joy can mean they stay closer to us than normal. You can also see that every dog is different and will react in their own way. Sometimes this can mean the opposite and they will spend less time with you.
Find out more with our article on why your dog doesn't like you when you are pregnant.
Is it normal for my dog to stay by side when pregnant?
Yes, it is completely normal for your dog's behavior to be different during your pregnancy. Their behavior may even change and develop as your pregnancy progresses. Although dogs are usually protective of babies once they are introduced, it is possible they will develop issues during your pregnancy.
To prevent your dog from developing unwanted behaviors , it is important they feel safe and calm. This can be achieved by gradually getting them used to their changing environment. Some things are impossible to change, such as the changes on hormone levels of an expectant mother. However, you can control how you react around your dog when pregnant:
- Routine: try to alter their routines as little as possible. Above all, remain calm and always pay attention to the signals your dog communicates to you through body language.
- Maintain calm: do not get angry or scold them if the dog becomes more clingy, sensitive or nervous. They are unable to understand the extent of your changes, so do not get angry with them for something that is instinctual and often due to their protectiveness over us.
- Socialization: although dogs should already be socialized at a young age, you will need to adapt this to the new circumstances. To prepare your dog for the arrival of the baby, bring in new objects, smells and sounds they are likely to experience when your baby arrives. These can include cribs, toys and even baby formula. You can even play audios of babies so the dog can get used to them without reacting. If you have a friend who has a baby, it can be a good idea to bring them round to the home for a visit to reassure the dog.
Lastly, remember that your dog is a member of the family. They deserve to be respected and given attention, even when the baby is taking up so much of our time. It is part of our responsibility as a dog guardian. It is possible the dog can become jealous of the new baby, so it is important we prevent this from happening as best we can.
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