As you’ve heard from friends and read about in books, a dog may feel when its owner is pregnant even before she does, and you may have even experienced it yourself. Then, is it really feasible for dogs to know what you’re thinking? Here’s what we know about your dog’s perspective of your pregnancy based on studies.
Dogs’ noses are one of the most astounding aspects of them since they can detect and recall odors even after they have been exposed to them for a long time.
Hormones in a woman’s body might change her fragrance in some manner when she is pregnant. So, can dogs sense pregnancy in their owners? Many people think that a dog can tell whether a person is pregnant before they do, however, this is mostly a matter of guesswork. Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, DVM, a staff veterinarian at New York City’s Animal Medical Center, believes that dogs may be able to detect something that humans cannot.
As she says, dogs have 60 times as many olfactory receptors and 40 times as much brain power devoted to scent, enabling them to distinguish 30,000 to 100,000 odors from one another.
An enormous portion of the canine brain is dedicated to detecting smells, thus canines can detect chemical changes, cancer, high insulin levels, explosives, and narcotics, as well as a woman’s menstrual cycle and pregnancy, according to Los Angeles dog trainer and behaviorist Russ Hartstein.
Can Dogs Tell If You Are Pregnant?
Anecdotally at minimum, dogs have indeed been observed to start following or suddenly become overprotective of a newly pregnant owner. The possibility that canines may smell pregnancy in humans isn’t out of the realm of possibility, even if no studies have been done yet. If your dog’s behavior does alter throughout pregnancy, it may be due to changes in your hormones and in your behavior, both of which dogs have been shown to feel in humans, according to a study.
How Do Dogs Sense Pregnancy in Humans?
Pregnancy Hormone Changes
Hormones may be picked up by receptors in the canine nose. It’s also possible that hormones released by your body might alter your body odor in a way that can be detected by other people. The chemical changes that take place during pregnancy, in other words, the scent of pregnancy could also be detected by dogs.
Your body is flooded with a fresh set of hormones during pregnancy. In the third week of pregnancy, hCG levels peak at 50 mIU/L, rising to 426 mIU/L by week four and 288,000 in the latter weeks of the first trimester, respectively.
During pregnancy, the hormone levels of estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin all increase. As for dogs, their sense of smell is very keen, with scientists claiming that they can detect a broad spectrum of chemical substances up to 100,000 times better than humans.
Both canines and humans have two keen senses of smell. Important survival information, such as food scents, may be picked up this way. Other organs, also known as Jacobson’s organ or the vomeronasal organ can easily detect the presence of Pheromones.
Using these chemical substances, dogs are able to communicate with one another and learn things like whether a dog is ready to mate or even if another dog is sick.
Dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell has been shown to detect health problems in humans with remarkable precision. Researchers have shown that dogs can smell malignancies and infectious illnesses including COVID-19 and malaria—sometimes only by sniffing a person’s breath—with almost 100 percent accuracy, according to a new study.
If you’re diabetic, your dog may be able to tell you if your blood sugar is too low or too high, or if you’re about to have a seizure, by whimpering or licking your hands. A pregnancy hormone test isn’t out of the question given these abilities.
With their owners, dogs are extremely attentive and socially sensitive. People with anxiety, sadness, or other mental health issues may notice subtle changes in their dog’s behavior, which is why certain dogs are certified as emotional support companions.
During pregnancy, your behavior or routine may shift in ways that your dog perceives. To name a few such indicators, your dog could note that you’re more lethargic than usual, that you’re experiencing severe sickness, that you’re nesting, or even simply that your baby tummy is growing.
During Your Pregnancy, Will Your Dog’s Personality or Behavior Change?
There is no guarantee that your dog’s behavior will alter if he or she can detect that you are expecting a child. While some dogs could grow more protective and attached, yours might appear more nervous around you or just indifferent.
Does a Dog Know When You’re About To Give Birth?
As the cervix dilates and empties, oxytocin and endorphin levels drop, and prolactin and adrenaline levels rise, these hormonal shifts play a key role both in starting labor and keeping it going. It’s possible that canines may detect changes in your hormone levels as you approach labor, given that they can smell hormones.
No scientific evidence exists to support the claim that your dog can tell whether you’re pregnant or about to give birth. It’s possible that your dog is sensitive to the changes taking place in your body if he behaves strangely throughout your pregnancy. In any case, getting your dog ready for a new baby is a smart idea even before the tiny one arrives at your house.
During Pregnancy, Do Dogs Protect Their Owners?
In her parenting blog post, Brooks Oscarson describes her parents’ Vizsla who would not only smell her tummy before she was showing but also become incredibly protective. During her pregnancy, Oscarson noticed a dramatic shift in the dog’s temperament. While playing sports with my brothers, he’d bark and rush over to check on me if things got too heated.
A dog’s natural need to defend might cause it to become hyper-aware of its surroundings. The qualified dietitian and nutritionist Yaffi Lvova claims she couldn’t walk her dogs when pregnant with her twins because she was too sick.
It was hard to stroll the same dogs that had always followed my lead since they were now on high alert. Lvova needed a companion to carry their leashes so they could keep up with their nightly walks. “They were completely well-behaved if someone else was holding the leash, even a fragile elderly woman,” she explains. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
According to Dr. Barrack, a dog will always be affected by changes at home. According to the author, dogs are “clever” enough to recognize physical and mental changes that take place during pregnancy. “Your dog is capable of detecting these changes both physically and emotionally,” she explains.
Preparing your dog for the birth of a child is highly recommended by veterinarians. When it comes to adapting to new settings and habits, “the healthiest dogs will perform well, but other dogs may need some additional attention and care,” adds Hartstein.
Compared to humans, dogs’ noses are much more sensitive. A dog’s sense of smell is 60 times more sensitive than that of a human’s, allowing it to distinguish between 30,000 and 100,000 distinct odors. Can dogs sense pregnancy by looking at their body? Dogs may be able to detect a pregnant person’s smell, according to anecdotal evidence, despite the lack of scientific research into this.
Pregnancy hormones may alter a woman’s fragrance in ways that only her canine partner can pick up on. It’s possible that the dog feels a change in the owner’s scent, but it can’t pinpoint a particular cause like pregnancy.