Happy Mother’s Day to all those expectant mommies out there!
For you ladies with a bun in the oven wondering if your furry friends know what’s going on, the answer is… kinda sorta.
Dogs have the ability to sniff out changes in the human body, and many have developed impressive skill in detecting cancer, diabetes, and other health conditions in humans.
During pregnancy, your hormones shift and are released in different patterns and quantities, and these changes are sure to be noticed by your dog.
Your dog probably even noticed the changes in you before you did—come on, First Response, get with the doggie program.
If your dog doesn’t seem to be acting differently around you, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know something’s up—the response is personal and unique to the individual dog, just like some people flinch during scary movies and others are seemingly unaffected.
Every dog reacts differently to their pregnant owner, some become protective, others more aloof, and others may even seem apathetic.
One thing for sure is your dog notices a difference. Dogs are creatures of habit, trained and comforted by routine. If you are getting up an extra few times at night to use the bathroom, or perhaps walk a bit more slowly, they take note.
Sensing vulnerability, they may become your bodyguard, following closely and even keeping others at a distance.
Science is fairly certain your dog notices a change in you, but it is unlikely he connects it to the reason why, and it’s likely he will still be curious about your bundle of joy when he or she comes home.
One of our team members, Jessica, is currently expecting her first child. Jessica and her husband have a Labrador Retriever at home, named Jax, who is—at least for now—the go-to-snuggle-buddy of the house.
Due in September, we wanted Jessica to let us in on her experience with Jax during her pregnancy and what she is most looking forward to about raising a child with a dog—and so we asked her a few questions:
Have you noticed any changes in Jax during your pregnancy?
“Jax has always been one to follow me around and be very attentive, so I haven’t been able to tell if he senses my pregnancy, or if he’s just being his normal self.”
What are you most looking forward to about having your child grow up with Jax?
“To me, kids and dogs are natural best friends and I’m really looking forward to my child loving Jax and learning from him—as dogs teach kids so many life lessons. Taking fun dog and baby videos is also an added bonus!”
How do you think Jax will react to your son?
“I think Jax will want to lick his face! Jax has been around babies quite a bit the past few months and his initial reaction is to want to lick their face and be close to them. He does seem cognizant of not bumping into them while he’s playing, so I think he’s going to be wonderful with the baby.”
How do you plan to introduce the two?
“I plan on it being just me, my husband, and the baby when we go home to Jax. My husband is going to bring Jax a blanket or piece of clothing that the baby has worn before we come so he has a chance to get used to the smell. I’ll hold the baby while my husband controls Jax and we’ll let him sniff the baby. That’s my plan!”
What do you think will be the biggest benefit of having your child grow up with a dog?
“As someone who has always had a pet growing up, I think it’s a wonderful thing for a child to grow up with a dog. Having a pet teaches compassion, empathy, and responsibility—which are extremely important in a child’s life. Dogs teach us so much more than we’ll ever realize and I’m looking forward to my child having that experience.”
Do you feel like having a dog has prepared you at all for the challenge to come?
“Having a dog has definitely put me on the right track for motherhood. I’m completely responsible for a living thing—I have to make sure he eats, is healthy, and the things that will make him a happy, well-behaved dog. He also wakes me up early, which is preparation for having a newborn!”
We wish Jessica and her growing family nothing but the best and are confident Jax and her son will be fast friends.
Tell us about your experience with pregnancy and your pup! We want to hear the sweet details.
Want to make sure your pup is on his best behavior around the little one? AKC’s GoodDog! Helpline can make sure he minds his manners.
More like this:
The Many Ways Kids Benefit From Having a Dog
These Beautiful Photographs of a Little Boy and His Dogs Will Warm Your Heart