I’ve had so many friends swear to me that their dogs were able to sense their pregnancy, that I just have to believe it’s true. Dogs have intense sensibilities and have been known to warn their owner’s of impending dangers, even helping protect sick owners during seizures and heart attacks, so it’s no surprise that they can sense pregnancy, too. But can your dog tell you're pregnant before you're really even showing? If you have a pup at home, and are curious as to what changes he is picking up, it's important to know that there are some pregnancy symptoms your dog can sense.
While there is no definitive proof that dogs can sense, or furthermore understand what a pregnancy is, Dr. Richard Honaker tells Romper that dogs have been known to exhibit an intuition when their owner is pregnant because of their keen and sharp senses. Dogs also tend to be focused and attuned to their owner’s emotional and physical states, noted What To Expect, which is why they are often trained to be emotional and physical response dogs for people suffering from blindness, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or other physical and mental health disorders.
There have been studies proving that dogs can sense cancers and other illnesses in humans, too, so it’s not a stretch to consider that they can pick up on a pregnancy. So if you are pregnant and are noticing that your dog has been acting a little differently around you, here are five pregnancy symptoms that he might have already picked up on.
1. You Smell Different
When you become pregnant, your hormones levels fluctuate and can subtly change the way you smell, noted What To Expect, and because dogs have a sense of smell that is 100,000 times better than humans, they may be able pick up to on the change in your scent.
In fact, the website further noted that according to recent studies, dogs have been able to sense illnesses like ovarian, prostate, colorectal, and melanoma cancers just by sniffing a humans breath.
2. You’re Tired
Pregnancy can be exhausting and fatiguing, and that can make a difference to your daily routine. In a report by Animal Planet, animal behaviorist Jennie K. Willis explained that dogs carefully study and observe their owner’s routines, so when you change your schedule, bedtime, eating, or exercise routine, your dog will pick up on it right away. And if you consider all the morning sickness, sleepiness, and food cravings and aversions that throw your normal routine off track, then you can bet your pup knows something is off.
3. Your Body Is Changing
Dogs are generally very attuned to their owners’ behaviors and demeanor, noted Pedigree, so when your belly grows and your physical movements change, your dog may notice that something is off. Be prepared for your dog walking to turn into dog waddling, and once your belly bump becomes more pronounced, you can expect your pup to notice the changes.
4. You Have An Extra Heartbeat
As a mere human, you have to wait for a sonogram to finally hear your baby’s heartbeat, but your dog may pick it up sooner than that. New York veterinary technician Abel Greenbaum tells Romper that dogs can almost certainly hear your baby in utero, and it’s likely because of their keen sense of hearing.
Dogs have an ultrasonic range of hearing, explained Petful, and can hear almost three times better than humans. So, if they are cuddled close enough next to your belly, they may detect your baby’s faint heartbeat, and after the 28th week of pregnancy, they may even be able to hear your baby cry.
5. You’re Emotional
The fluctuation of pregnancy hormones can put you on an emotional roller coaster during pregnancy, which may cause you to respond to your dog differently. Pedigree noted that dogs are intensely attuned to your moods and reactions, so they can easily pick up on the changes in your emotions and responses.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.