Towards the end of my first trimester, our 8 year old Rottweiler, Molly, became particularly mopey. Very much unlike her, given she had always ticked the boxes for a diagnosis of ADHD! Sure, she was getting older, and her mood often seemed to reflect the weather, but by the start of my second trimester, we were beginning to receive the most beautiful late Spring days – Summer was on its way and Molly was still embracing the lazy version of “it’s a dog’s life”.

It got me thinking… can a dog sense pregnancy? After all, dogs are extremely intuitive animals. Molly has always sensed when we are about to go away on a long trip or if there is a walk in the pipelines. Dogs are excellent at reading human body language and behaviour. There is even some evidence that they can detect when a person has Cancer or is about to have an Epileptic fit.

Perhaps it is the strong bond between humans and their dogs that allows the canine breed to sense changes in their world. As a dog owner, you will know that your dog can easily read your moods. If you are feeling down, you can almost always rely on your hound to cheer you up. Now, I definitely hope that I have not been as mopey as Molly, but I am willing to admit my observation that human change triggers canine change. A dog is a sensitive member of the family, and what affects you and your spouse, also affects him/her.

In addition to their instinct, dogs also have an amazing sense of smell. A pregnant woman experiences changes in her body chemistry, and pregnancy hormones may cause her distinct odour to change. With 60 times as many smell receptors as humans, dogs are in the perfect position to detect even the slightest change in odour – hey, Mom smells different!

Your dog may react to your pregnancy with a change in behaviour. Whether it is one of increased affection or protection, or that of downright nil cooperation, now is the opportune time to pay that extra bit of attention to your pup to provide reassurance. As it turns out, you are preparing your pooch for the inclusion of another baby in the family very, very soon.

You may also be interested in reading the story about the dog and the elephant.

Author: Kerry Belgrove

Kerry Belgrove is a qualified Speech-Language Therapist who graduated top of her class at the University of Stellenbosch, receiving special recognition awards for best student in academic, clinical and research work. She has gained clinical experience in a number of different health, education and private settings, but it is with the establishment of her own private practice that her passion for serving the paediatric population truly flourished. As a health professional, wife, and mom-to-be, Kerry is inspired to offer her expertise in helping parents through all walks of life.

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