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Does my dog know I’m pregnant?

March 15, 2019 7 Comments

DJANGO Dog Blog - Can Dogs Sense Human Pregnancy? - djangobrand.com

About a week before I found out I was pregnant, Django acted very bizarre one evening. Mike and I were hanging out in the living room after dinner, and Django very excitedly ran over to me, jumped up on my leg, and began humping me. Aggressively.

I know what you’re thinking… Sometimes dogs try to hump, right? Sure, but this time was different.

After gently pushing my hairy little sausage dog off of my leg, Django immediately jumped back on. After shoving him off again, he started whining and clawing at me. He quickly became obsessed and would not back down! After 5 minutes of this back and forth, I finally carried Django into our bedroom and shut the door on him. Mike and I sat in the living room wincing as Django proceeded to whine and scratch at the bedroom door for over 40 minutes…

I found out I was pregnant one week after Django’s ‘off’ night and eventually began to wonder…. Did my body’s sudden surge in pregnancy hormones trigger Django’s bizarre behavior?

Can dogs sense human pregnancy?

Although it hasn’t been scientifically confirmed that dogs know when we’re pregnant, there are a few reasons why dogs would be perceptive to this change:

Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell.

Dogs' sense of smell overpowers ours by 10,000 to 100,000 times… Our canine friends can determine from a distance if another canine is neutered or spayed. They can sniff out narcotics and explosives, detect melanoma cells on their owners, and even tell time with their olfactory receptors. So it is undoubtable that dogs’ noses can discern significant and sudden changes in their owners’ body chemistry.

When a woman first becomes pregnant, her progesterone and estrogen levels spike dramatically, and she begins producing the pregnancy-specific human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone. Although a dog may not necessarily know the exact reason for his mom’s sudden hormonal surges—he or she may not comprehend that there’s a tiny little human growing in her belly—his or her nose will certainly pick up on mom’s changing hormone levels.

Dogs are incredibly perceptive.

Dogs are very astute when it comes to reading their humans’ body language, emotions, and mood. Dogs will lay by your side when you’re sick and jump around excitedly with you when you’re happy.

When I was in the throws of first trimester morning sickness and fatigue, Django wouldn’t leave my side. He walked into the bathroom every early morning when I was hunched over the toilet, and he slept curled up against me when I started taking late afternoon naps during the early fatigue-stricken weeks of pregnancy. He clearly understood I wasn’t my normal energetic self, and responded by being sympathetic and protective.

Dogs are creatures of habit.

Just like babies and small children, dogs love and thrive off of routines and daily structure. Our dachshund Django walks into our kitchen at 8:45am for breakfast and again at 6:55pm for his 7pm dinner. Even if no one else is in the kitchen at the time, Django will sit on the kitchen floor patiently until we feed him. At 9:30pm every night, Django walks into the bedroom alone, climbs into his dog bed, and nurses his stuffed hedgehog until Mike and I come in to get ready for bed.

When you’re pregnant, your routine changes. The pregnant mom may wake up in the middle of the night to pee (or throw up), and as the weeks progress you will start bringing home an increasing amount of baby supplies. While your dog may not understand there is a growing human baby responsible for these sudden changes, he or she will still pick up on the behavioral and environmental changes.

A quick scan of pregnancy forums shows that tons of pregnant women have noticed similar behavioral changes in their dogs. Here are the most common behaviors reported:
  • Being more alert and protective. Barking more than usual at home or on leash. Refusing to leave the pregnant mom’s side.
  • Being more affectionate, cuddly and even clingy: Snuggling up to or even sitting on the pregnant mom’s belly. Refusing to leave the pregnant mom’s side.
  • Acting out: Having ‘accidents’ in the house. Whining excitedly when you bring home new baby items and/or trying to chew them. We actually experienced this behavior first hand... Django went CRAZY whenever we brought home baby supplies and furniture! He would jump on the items when we came home with them. If we stored them in the baby closet, Django would run over to the closed closet door and whine for us to open the door.
  • More aggression: This one is less common, but pregnant women reported an increase in nervous, agitated, and occasionally fearful behavior by their dog.

Eventually there will be a scientific study proving that dogs can indeed sense pregnancy in their humans. Until then, there is ample evidence from countless pregnant women (me included!) that dogs pick up on hormonal, behavioral, and environmental changes that come from being pregnant and preparing for a baby’s arrival.

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7 Responses

DJANGO
DJANGO

February 21, 2021

@SARAH It’s nice to hear from you! Your story about getting pregnant and your chihuahua humping you sounds very much like mine! Dogs are so incredibly perceptive and in tune with us, their owners. It’s entirely possible and even likely that your chihuahua has sensed your body’s changes during early pregnancy in the past (and possibly now).

Also, I wish you and your husband nothing but love and good wishes with any future pregnancies you have! I’m also very sorry to hear about your two pregnancy losses. My husband and I tragically lost our baby girl during my 36th week of pregnancy this past October. All pregnancy loss is difficult and devastating. Just know you’re not alone and I’m sending love your way <3

Sarah
Sarah

February 18, 2021

The weirdest thing. My 13 year old chihuahua has humped me each time a life changing event happens. When my now husband proposed to me, she immediately started humping me. I’ve been pregnant 3 times, only 1 resulted in a live birth, but each of the 3 times… she’s humped me. Now as I lay in bed, for the 3rd night in a row… she’s humping me. I’m about a week out from AF but I won’t be surprised if I am in fact pregnant again.

DJANGO
DJANGO

February 10, 2021

@CHASITY Thanks so much for writing about your experience! Your golden retriever’s bizarre humping behavior sounds exactly like our dog Django’s crazy behavior before I knew I was pregnant. It’s incredibly how perceptive dogs are and how they can detect changes in human hormones and health conditions. All the best to you and your boyfriend!

Chasity
Chasity

February 10, 2021

So I just came across your blog last night when I was looking up reason why my dog was acting weird towards me out of nowhere. Last night my boyfriend and I were sitting on the couch and out of nowhere my unfixed male golden retriever starting trying to hump me and trying to grab my shirt with his teeth. He hasn’t humped anything since he was a puppy and I noticed the last few days he has been. Last night I was feeling oddly nauseous and my breasts have been abnormally sore. I am currently a day late for my period and I think my dog might have been telling me I’m expecting!

Courtney
Courtney

February 10, 2021

My male dog has been my companion for almost three years now. He has been neutered, and hasn’t tried to hump my leg since he was a puppy despite how he may get with other dogs. Just in the past week, he has started trying to hump me and he has been peeing in the house more in spots where I’ve recently stood. He’s normally affectionate so I didnt notice his being more affectionate otherwise. I haven’t taken a test yet to confirm as I want to see if I will get my period, but I’m wondering if pregnancy is the reason for his unusual behavior.

DJANGO
DJANGO

February 10, 2021

@MARTINA SMITH So interesting! Tito definitely knew something was happening in your wife’s body. It is incredible how perceptive and sensitive dogs are. Thank you for sharing your experience!

Martina Smith
Martina Smith

February 10, 2021

My wife had a similar experience with our dog Tito. One evening, our dog Tito was acting strange, in that he was too affectionate towards my wife. He normally wouldn’t do that. He rubbed himself against my wife’s belly very intensely. He was wondering why would he do that. My wife initial thought was she probably have a tumor growing her stomach. Three weeks later we found out that we were expecting. So, yeah some how our dogs do pick up on certain changes within our body, specially women.

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