Can Dogs Tell That You're Pregnant — Before You Even Know?

While your beloved dog most likely doesn't understand that in nine months there will be a tiny human sharing your love, there's a good chance your fur baby knows that things are changing — sometimes before you even do.

From flooding hormones to slight differences in routine, it's more than likely for your dog to pick up on changes before you're even sporting a bump. "Although it hasn't been scientifically explored, it's within the realm of reason," Jennie K. Willis, an applied animal behaviorist, told Animal Planet.

Not only is it likely for an astute canine nose to pick up on your new smell thanks to the increase in hormones, but you might also see him or her change their behavior toward you. "It's common for dogs to go on alert and become overprotective of their expecting owner from the very beginning of her pregnancy," Nikole Gipps, an animal behaviorist, wrote for BabyCenter. "I've worked with dogs that growled, barked, or blocked doors with their bodies to prevent other family members — even the baby's father — from coming into the same room as the mom-to-be."

Here are some changes that pups can pick up on:

  1. Body language: You not only look different as your pregnancy progresses, but you also move differently too.
  2. Behavior: Dogs learn how to read their owner's mood and can pick up on differences in disposition during pregnancy.
  3. Body chemistry: As your hormones surge, it impacts your body odor, and dogs are able to pick up on this slight change in scent thanks to their incredible sense of smell.

While no parent-to-be reacts to the life-altering news in the same way, neither will your pet. As dogs pick up on these minor differences in your mood, posture, scent, and routine, they can start acting out if they feel neglected. "To help your dog understand that you still love him, be careful of the messages you send through your body language," Gipps explained. "Pregnant women often unconsciously place their hands over their stomachs, and dogs read this closed-arm posture as saying 'I'm unavailable' or 'step back.'"