pregnant woman relaxing with pet dog wondering if dogs can sense labor
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Can Dogs Sense Labor? 5 Signs Something Might Be Up

Your BFF might be on to something.

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Few things are sweeter than seeing your dog nuzzle your baby bump, but what does it mean when they do something that's really out of the ordinary for them, especially if your due date is not too far away? Could your favorite four-legged companion actually be trying to tell you something? Is it true — can dogs sense labor? It may not be the first time that they've tried to warn you about something.

If you ask Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, the answer is yes, your dog can tell when their human parent is going into labor. Dogs have been able to predict earthquakes, storms, sickness — even when a woman is about to give birth, explains Millan. But there isn’t much by way of scientific evidence to support how dogs respond to an owner’s pregnancy and labor, according to Erin Askeland, a pet behaviorist. She does tell Romper, however, that “there are many statements from women and surrounding family members that support these claims, along with the knowledge that dogs can detect certain things in the body like insulin levels, oncoming seizures, and even cancer; so the claim that they can also detect shifts in a woman’s body during pregnancy isn’t farfetched, particularly over the nine-month span of pregnancy.”

If you're like most pet owners, you've probably seen your dog display some remarkable intuition. Whether it's pacing before a storm or barking at a person you've always disliked, dogs sometimes seem like they literally possess a sixth sense.

There are plenty of other examples of dogs knowing things before we do too. So what are some ways that dogs tell us that labor is nigh? Here are some remarkable firsthand examples from mamas with some pretty amazing pups.


Your dog becomes super clingy

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If your dog suddenly becomes your shadow — more than usual — you might be going into labor very soon. Because your pup has probably noticed you acting a little strange, they can “become glued to their owner’s side, maintain contact with their owner (like resting their head on them or following them closely), or try to provide comfort,” Askeland says.


Your dog sniffs you more than usual

As your due date approaches, be on the lookout for your dog getting extra sniffy, especially in the crotch region. “Dogs can smell changes in the body when their owner goes into labor — these smells come from hormones associated with the pregnancy and labor process such as oxytocin, estrogen, and progesterone,” Askeland says. “They may even be able to smell placenta.”


Your dog pees where they’re not supposed to

If your normally well-behaved dog suddenly pees inside, you might be headed to the delivery room real soon. House-trained dogs can pee inside the house when they are overexcited or feeling scared, and labor definitely brings on both those emotions. “For some dogs, they may become nervous or anxious from their owner’s stress, and show signs of this like pacing, vocalizing, keeping their distance, or hiding,” Askeland explains.


Your dog starts barking a lot

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Dogs might not be able to talk but they sure can say a lot with their barks and whines — maybe even that your baby is on the way. Similar to a tendancy to pee in the wrong place, they may start barking more because they feel unsettled if they’ve noticed that you’re also feeling a little stressed out or if your hormones are shifting.


Your dog starts ignoring you

If your normally lovey-lovey dog gets a little stand-offish, he might be telling you your baby is coming (and about to replace him). Askeland tells Romper that dogs can also “detect a change in stress level in their owner’s body through tone and inflection and how they move, which is likely to change throughout the pregnancy and through labor,” so if you notice your pup giving you some space, they may just notice a change. So yes, maybe dogs can sense labor. It really depends on the dog, Askeland says.

Even if there isn't hardcore scientific proof that dogs can tell when a woman is in labor, there's no denying that many dogs exhibit a sixth sense. And you know what, as their mama, you'll probably be able to spot the signs better than anyone else.


Erin Askeland, Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and Certified Behavior Consultant Canine (CBCC-KA)

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