Dogs and Your Pregnancy

dogs and babies

dogs and babies

Finding out that you are pregnant does not automatically mean that you will need to re-home your dog. Contrary to popular opinion, dogs and babies can get along, although this will not always be the case.

How Will My Dog React?

Dogs are thought to be able to sense pregnancy so you can usually expect some degree of reaction. This can range from being “off” with you to aggressive behaviour or a fierce protectiveness. Stress and anxiety can result in behavioural changes such as urinating in inappropriate places.

If your dog is not reacting well to the pregnancy, it can be a good idea to re-introduce behaviour training such as obedience and toilet training to reinforce ground rules.

Will My Dog and My Baby Get Along?

With dog attacks becoming increasingly common items on the news, you may be concerned that your dog will attack your new baby. It has been known for dogs to attack babies but this is rarely out of jealousy.

Experts believe that mixed signals may be a more prominent factor. For example, a dog may use body language to warn that “their” area should be vacated. When this is not understood by the baby and complied with, it can lead to a nip. This is not necessarily meant with huge intent but it will inevitably be more harmful to a baby compared to another dog. The baby’s presence is also thought to encourage hunting instincts in some cases.

Health Risks

It is relatively rare for pets to pass diseases on to babies. Worms can be caught by humans though so it is important to make sure that your dog has been thoroughly de-wormed before the birth.

Pregnancy Tips

An indoor kennel will offer your dog a place of refuge away from the baby without being banished outside. This means that he or she will be less likely to associate the new arrival with negative connotations.

If you will be keeping certain areas off-limits to your dog, you will need to start putting this into practice before the baby arrives. Likewise, any changes to your dog’s routine will need to start happening during your pregnancy. If things only change with the arrival of the baby, there is a stronger probability that it will encourage a negative association regarding the baby.

Playing tapes of baby sounds will help to prepare your dog for what will follow. This can reduce the likelihood that your dog will become anxious, stressed or frightened by the baby’s noises.

Note: even if you trust your dog don’t put your baby in any situations that leave it potentially vulnerable, and if your dog signs any behaviour that concerns you contact your vet or a behvaiourist for advice.

[Photo Credits: cvogle]