Dogs can be very sensitive creatures. They often have strong reactions to changes in their environments and the people in their lives, and have even been known to experience grief after a loss.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that many dog owners say they’ve noticed changes in a pet’s behaviour when a human in the household becomes pregnant. Some have shared stories of canines “knowing” that their owners were pregnant before they even realised it themselves.
But can your dog actually tell when you’re pregnant? Can they detect your pregnancy early on, before it’s even visible? And if so, how? HuffPost spoke to a few canine experts to find out.
The Truth About Dog Senses
Although there isn’t much definitive research to prove dogs can detect pregnancy, there are studies about dog sense detection that suggest it’s a possibility.
“Our dogs are keen observers,” said Mary R. Burch, a certified applied animal behaviourist with the American Kennel Club. “They have great senses of smell and vision, and it is no wonder that they can detect something is different when a woman is pregnant.”
She noted that many dogs can tell something has shifted in a familiar human during pregnancy by detecting physical changes related to scent and appearance, as well as behavioural and emotional changes.
“Pregnant women have a change in their body chemistry that can result in a change in odour that can be due to an altered pH balance, and hormonal and dietary changes,” Burch explained. “In addition to body scents changing, women who are experiencing morning sickness may not feel like eating, and as a result develop ketosis that causes bad breath.”
Indeed, dogs are known for their powerful sense of smell. These are the creatures we train to sniff out drugs and explosives, after all, and research has shown that dogs can detect health conditions like cancer, migraines and epileptic seizures. Experts are currently working to see if dogs might be able to