Many women report significant changes in their dogs upon becoming pregnant. Learn what dogs detect and how to help them.
Pregnancy certainly brings lots of changes in the life of women. These changes are both emotional and physical, and dogs may pick up on these changes and react to them accordingly. Ultimately, each dog is different. Therefore there may be dogs that do not seem to care much about pregnancy, whereas there are particularly sensitive dogs that react to the most subtle changes in their expecting owners.
What Dogs Detect in an Owner’s Pregnancy
Dogs are often reported to have a ”sixth sense” but in reality, all they have are much more sensitive and acute senses and a high perception of bodily cues revolving around how an owner moves around. They respond to small signals, and changes in emotions in owners which causes owners to believe often dogs must be gifted with some form of extra-sensorial perception.
With a superior sense of smell, dogs are capable of noticing a different scent in the pregnant owner. They are also capable of detecting changes in moods and different postures. As mentioned earlier, some dogs are particularly sensitive to these subtle changes and may react to them accordingly.
How Dogs React to Pregnancy
Some dogs may react to the new posture assumed by expecting mothers. Because pregnancy may cause unsteady walking and different positioning of the body, some dogs may feel intimidated and respond abnormally. On the other hand, some dogs may contact the owner is more vulnerable and in need of protection, and therefore may resort to guarding. Some dogs may become more clingy and follow the owner around like a shadow. It is not unheard of dogs resorting to growling when somebody approaches the expecting mom.
How to Treat Negative Reactions
Dogs do best when there are clear rules and boundaries. A dog preoccupied or stressed from the owner’s pregnancy will feel better if leadership is in place. Asking basic commands will help the dog refocus and gain the structure it craves. Dogs feel much relaxed and relieved when they know their owner is in control, according to ”Dogs and Storks” a national program preparing dogs and their families for the arrival of a new baby.
Much attention must be paid to recognizing signs of stress and working on preventing such stress from escalating. Careful planning must also take place so the dog can get used to future changes and the accompanying roller coaster of emotions that will be associated with the arrival of the baby. Preparedness is vital in making this transitional period easier for the canine companion.