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Why Does My Dog Keep Laying on My Stomach? Am I Pregnant? Possible Reasons & FAQ

Cassandra Kyser

By Cassandra Kyser

Young countryside woman cuddling her dog while lying among pumpkins

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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You may have heard that dogs can detect early pregnancy, even before their owners know they’re pregnant. Dogs can behave differently around pregnant people and even lay on their stomachs. Is this an old wives’ tale, or can your dog sense that you’re pregnant?

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Can My Dog Tell if I’m Pregnant?

A pregnant person experiences hormonal changes even before they’ve confirmed their pregnancy. While we cannot know for sure, some experts speculate that dogs can smell these pregnancy-related fluctuations. That’s not a crazy idea considering that service dogs can recognize other bodily changes such as insulin levels and oncoming seizures. Also, a handful of medical studies show that dogs can detect certain forms of cancer by smelling urine and breath samples.

Dogs have more smell receptors than humans, allowing them to differentiate between as many as 100,000 different odors. Some breeds, such as bloodhounds, beagles, and German shepherds, were bred specifically for their keen sense of smell.

While your dog’s nose can detect a change in your body, it’s doubtful that they recognize this change as pregnancy. In other words, if you suspect you’re pregnant, don’t rely on your pup for confirmation!

A Pregnant Woman Training Her Dog
Photo Credit: Pavel Danilyuk, Pexels

How Do Dogs Act When They Know You’re Pregnant?

Many pregnant dog owners report that their pups are protective of them. If you are pregnant, you may notice that your pup follows you around the house, lays on your lap or stomach, or attempts to guard you against other people.

There are other changes that something is afoot besides hormonal changes in your body. You may rest more and not feel well, especially in early pregnancy. Your dog will also pick up changes in your mood and activity level. And, of course, they’ll notice that the house is full of baby gear and toys they can’t play with.

Other Reasons Your Dog Lays on Your Stomach

Pregnancy isn’t the only reason your dog might cuddle up to your stomach. Your pup may want to be close to you or crave attention. They could also be cold or want to sleep somewhere other than their dog bed. This behavior is often a bid for attention, so take the opportunity to show your dog some extra love.

Dog sitting owner laptop lap
Photo Credit: HelloRF Zcool, Shutterstock

Can Dogs Smell a Newborn?

If you are pregnant, your house will soon be full of new odors. Anyone who has held a baby can confirm that the “newborn smell” is real. But babies also bring several other smells, like lotions, powders, formula, spit-up, and full diapers. Some of the aromas are off-putting to humans, but all have the potential to intrigue your pup. Any scent you can expose your dog to ahead of time may help them feel less overwhelmed when your baby comes home from the hospital.

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Dogs have a more developed sense of smell than humans. They can detect and hone in on odors we don’t even notice. Your dog may smell bodily changes associated with your pregnancy, and the new scents can cause your dog to become clingy or protective of you.

Featured Image Credit: vuk saric, Shutterstock

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