Is it true that dogs can “smell” pregnancies? The answer here

Dogs are very sensitive creatures. They often react in surprising ways to seemingly insignificant changes in their environment and the people they live with. It’s also well established that dogs grieve after the death of a loved one.

Many people are therefore not surprised that their dog’s behavior changes when a woman they know becomes pregnant. More and more stories are circulating about dogs who have “detected” the pregnancy of their mistress before she even learns about it.

But how true are these stories, and is it really possible to detect pregnancy this early? If yes, how ? Here’s what the experts say.

The truth about dog senses

Although there isn’t a lot of research on dogs’ purported ability to detect pregnancy, there’s enough evidence to suggest it’s a real possibility.

“Our dogs are very good observers”, says Mary R. Burchanimal behavior expert with the American Kennel Club. “They have a great sense of smell, so it’s no surprise that they detect something different when a woman becomes pregnant. »

She says many dogs sense the changes in humans they know well by smell and appearance, as well as their emotional changes.

“Pregnant women experience changes in their body chemistry that can lead to changes in body odor, possibly related to pH balance, hormones, or diet”, explains Burch. “In addition to a change in body odor, women who experience morning sickness may lose their appetite and develop ketosis, a cause of bad breath.

In fact, dogs have a strong sense of smell. This is why it is possible to train them in the detection of drugs and explosives. Not only that, but research shows that they are also able to detect health conditions such as cancer, migraines and seizures. They are even currently being studied for their ability to detect the coronavirus.

A dog’s ability to perceive pregnancy-related changes largely depends on how familiar it is with that person.

© terra

“In a woman they know, these hormonal and chemical changes in the body are more noticeable than in a woman they didn’t know before pregnancy,” says Kate Mornement, an animal behavior specialist.

“Changes in a woman living at home are the most obvious, but they are also able to detect chemical changes in other women’s bodies,” explains Ms. Burch.

In addition to detecting hormonal changes through smell, dogs can also hear fetal heartbeats, Mornement says. Although there are not many studies, many pregnant women have supported this hypothesis.

However, it’s one thing for your dog to be able to detect the changes that come with pregnancy, quite another for him to understand the reason for these changes or be able to associate them with the newborn. that you will eventually take home.

How Pregnancy Affects Dog Behavior

Your pregnancy can affect your dog’s behavior, but that’s not always the case.

“When I was pregnant, one of our dogs, a Labrador, behaved as usual. The other, a boxer, seemed to be suffering from some anxiety,” said Morne. “Many clients have told me that they have noticed their dog behaving differently during pregnancy. Basically, their dog didn’t want to leave them. »

Burch warns that behavioral changes in owners lead to behavioral changes in their dogs.

“When women are pregnant, they become much more protective and guard their bellies with their hands, for example, when their dog is about to jump on them,” she says. “It can cause the dog to become more sensitive or try to get more attention.

Ms Burch recalls a friend of hers telling her that her dog was more stressed during the later stages of her pregnancy, possibly because they had to rearrange the house to make room for the baby and that change routine meant they had less time for their dog.

“Ideally, neither the mother nor the father should forget the dog and continue to give it attention, take it for walks and play with it”, recommend Burch.

Sarah Wilson, dog trainer and author of nine books on pets, confirms that she has heard of dogs becoming more protective or more cautious when their owner becomes pregnant, but she also notes that in many cases, told him so in retrospect.

These women made comments such as “he fell asleep without taking his eyes off me”, “he stood in front of me when we passed strangers in the street” and “he never let go of me”.

The pregnancies of people outside their household do not matter so much to them.

“If they find out a stranger is pregnant?” Of course they do, but don’t expect them to care that much”, said Wilson.

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