Have a new baby at home? Why your pet might be acting strange

If you have cats or dogs and you are pregnant, you may start noticing some strange behavior or changes in your animals. They maybe become a bit depressed; follow you around everywhere or they may even start relieving themselves indoors. Each animal will respond or react in a different way.

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Dogs sometimes appear to have a sixth sense but the just have heightened senses. They can notice behavioural changes such as you may be resting a lot more than usual. They can sense that something is different. They have a unique sense of smell as well and can pick up any odour changes in a woman while she is pregnant. They notice changes in your routine and body language. Dogs can even pick up on any emotional changes, especially if you have a close relationship with your dog. They sense these changes and they react to them. They may want to comfort and become overprotective. Some dogs notice you not spending as much time with them as you are now focused on other things and they can maybe become slightly depressed, not eat their food or just be less active than usual. Generally though dogs are loving and just want to look after and protect you.

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“When I was pregnant with Josh, Rocky our Staffie, would not leave my side he was so protective. Where ever I went he followed. If someone was at the gate he would stand between me and the gate. If I went to the bathroom he would stand guard at the door. Then when Josh was born we would find Rocky under his cot every morning. If Josh cried Rocky howled. He was truly amazing.”

Jacqui Flounders-Cape Town

“Before I found out I’m sure my Maltese knew something she wouldn’t leave my side wanted to be carried and close to me she even shunned away from my husband which was weird the following week I found out I was pregnant”

Louise Cherry-Durban

Once we had Grace and now Ben, Lucy (our female Staffie) walks into their rooms every night before we put the dogs safely in the kitchen just to check on the kids.”

Cindy Francis-South Coast

Even though cats can act nonchalant, they too can react to your pregnancy, some will not be affected in any way but some cats may be much more loving towards their owners. They are known to cuddle with their owners at night and even lick their belly. Some cats, however, can act out and refuse to use the litter box or refuse to eat; they could even lash out and start scratching. They usually are known to act out if they are getting less attention than usual.

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Once you start noticing changes in your pet, make sure you are giving them enough love and attention. Give definite boundaries if they are following you around too much. Just like children, animals too need to feel secure and boundaries give them security.

If the behavioural changes in your pets become problematic it is best to speak to a vet or even try doggy yoga or look for an animal trainer that could help with your specific problem.

It is also a good idea to prepare the dog for the arrival of the new baby. Purchasing Childproofing your Dog by Brian Kilcommons would be a good idea. It talks about exposing your dog to children. It teaches your dog how to cope with the rough handling of children. It shows the signs that aggression is on his way.

As your belly grows, all you can do is be aware of your pets and try to be patient with yourself and them. Keep your same routines if possible; give them love and firm boundaries.

Train them when you can and consult your vet when you need to. Maybe even give your dog a special place he can sit with you for a few minutes each day and that will be a nice comfort for both you and dog. It may seem difficult at first but things will soon get back to normal.

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