Can Pets Sense Pregnancy?

check_icon Research-backed

Image: Shutterstock

We love our pets more than we love our friends and they are our little balls of happiness. To us, they’re our babies and we do care for them just the way we would care for a human baby. But can your pet sense when there is a baby on the way?

We have seen how police officers train their dogs to sniff the evidence and help them get to the criminals. They are also used by the narcotics department to find illegal drugs. They can detect and remember a scent long after they have come in contact with it. So, it’s obvious that they have a better sense of smell than we do. But is that enough to sense pregnancy?

Pregnancy And Dogs

Image: iStock

During pregnancy, women go through a hormonal overdrive in their body which can alter their scent. Hence, it is believed by many who have dealt with pets, especially dogs, that they were able to detect some change when they had a pregnant woman at home. Surprisingly, this often happens even before the women realize that they are pregnant. However, it’s a conjecture in most cases.

Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, who is a staff doctor at Animal Medical Center in New York believes that dogs can smell the difference in a pregnant woman’s scent unlike humans (1). She also states that dogs have 60 times more smell receptors compared to us humans. They also have 40 times more brainpower for the smell. This allows them to differentiate around 30,000 to 1,00,000 aromas. Since there haven’t been any scientific studies conducted to specifically examine this, there is only anecdotal evidence that says that it might be possible.

Russ Hartstein, who is a certified dog trainer and behaviorist in Los Angeles says that they can pick up all kinds of scents from insulin levels, drugs, bombs, cancer, a woman’s menstrual cycle, and even pregnancy (2).

Can Your Feline Friends Sense Pregnancy?

Image: iStock

Similarly, some cat owners believe that cats can also detect if you are pregnant by watching your body language and movements. Cats can also become more loving and protective, and also not care at all when you are pregnant. It is possible that neglected cats may act out or become more aggressive. So keep giving them attention and care even during your pregnancy period.

Behavioral Changes In Pets

Image: iStock

Dogs can react in different ways to their owner’s pregnancy. Some dog owners say that there are instances where their dog goes into a protective and caring mode during their pregnancy. And, there are other instances where they may be completely indifferent or fearful of pregnancy. Many women have experienced situations where their dogs tend to become more protective and affectionate when they are pregnant, according to Dr. Rachel Barrack, who runs the Animal Acupuncture in New York City (3). She says that it’s likely as a result of the changes in their scent and hormones. It could also be because of the possible changes in mood associated with pregnancy.

She says that dogs being smart creatures will always have an effect on the changes in their home. So they are able to pick up on both the physical and emotional changes during your pregnancy. They can understand when your belly is growing and you have swollen feet and ankles, or the morning sickness. Even the emotional changes such as mood swings can be picked up by your dog.

But it’s also important to prepare your cat or dog for the arrival of a new family member. Most of the pets adapt well to the new environment and routine after the baby arrives. However, for some pets, this transition might take a little more time and may require extra care and attention from your side (4).

You can have a great pregnancy time with your canine companion by your side. You don’t want to abandon them now that you are pregnant. They can be great companions and playmates for your baby as well. But if things might get a bit tricky for you if your pet starts misbehaving, then in such a situation, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a professional trainer.

The following two tabs change content below.

Mitha Shameer

Mitha is passionate about writing on topics related to women and children. She loves to present the brighter side of life to her readers in the form of her articles. She writes on games, stories, arts & craft, celebrations and more for MomJunction. When she isn't glued to online shopping websites, she loves reading books and watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S.