If you are pregnant and also the ‘parent’ of a loveable four legged friend then you may be curious to know if your dog poses any risk to your baby. It is incredibly common for households to already have a dog before even considering starting a family and you needn’t worry, generally dogs are safe to be around during pregnancy. Dogs have an amazing ability to sense when things change in their surroundings and due to the incredibly strong bond between a dog and his humans, he can obviously detect when there is a change in his owner’s body language and behaviour.
Your canine friend wouldn’t typically be of any concern to you or your baby during pregnancy, one thing to be aware of is the size of your dog and if he has a tendency to jump up or sit on you because he just wants to be close. If your dog has a habit of doing this, then it would be best to teach him some manners!
Interestingly, there are several factors that may give us an idea as to how a dog may sense when his owner is about to give him a hairless sibling. “Although it hasn’t been scientifically explored, it’s within the realm of reason,” says Jennie K. Willis, an applied animal behaviourist with Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Changes in body shape and body language—Just like the way we can tell a woman is pregnant by her beautiful growing bump, feeling of fatigue and shortness of breath or finding it difficult to sit and stand, her furry best friend would be in tune to all of these changes taking place as well. These changes in you can also trigger changes in your dogs’ behaviour towards you.
When there are changes in mood and behaviour—Your dog is as good as your best friend. He knows when you are happy, sad, angry and scared. He may even know your upset before you even think you are showing it. He wants to please you and he loves you unconditionally, being in tune with you and your emotions is what he lives for. When a woman is pregnant the flood of hormones she experiences, even early on will likely be noticed by her canine companion. When it comes to your emotions, you simply cannot hide them from your dog.
The way your dog decides to act depends on the personality of your dog and how you are handling your own pregnancy. Most dogs will adjust to the changes taking place however, some dogs, especially with dependant personalities may have a difficult time adjusting. All dogs react differently to a pregnant owner — some become protective, others more fearful and others remain indifferent. Some dogs my increase affection for and protection of the pregnant family member, especially when the dog can see physical changes within you. Your dog may even become agitated, growl, bark and become uncooperative, as if like a jealous sibling. Most of the time, paying more attention to your furry friend may help with any behavioural issues he may be experiencing. During your pregnancy, it’s important to train your dog to listen to you. Obedience training is critical. You don’t want to have a disobedient dog in the house, especially when you have a newborn baby to care for.
It’s important to remember that adjusting may take time. Your dog is a sensitive member of the family and any big event taking place also affects him. Give your pooch the time and attention he needs to adapt to the changes taking place within his pack. If you’re finding it difficult, always seek professional dog training before the baby arrives to ensure the home is a safe and happy place for everyone….dog included.