Man’s best friend has been known to have an incredible sense of smell. That’s why they’re often used for detection in airports and other high-security areas. However, dogs are also being investigated for their ability to apparently detect medical conditions in humans. They have been found to be able to detect diseases and other conditions – even pregnancy. Now, if your dog keeps laying on your stomach, does that mean you might be pregnant?
While multiple studies have shown dogs to be quite empathetic, no study has confirmed that dogs are able to detect pregnancy in women. However, with heightened senses that are significantly more sensitive than ours, dogs are capable of detecting signs associated with pregnancy such as hormonal changes, behavioral changes, and structural changes in their owners.
This article will discuss the incredible sense of smell of dogs, and whether or not they can actually know if you’re pregnant or not.
Dogs Have Incredible Smell
Since dogs can smell about 10,000 to 100,000 times better than humans, it should come as no surprise that dogs are able to smell things we can’t even imagine. This incredible ability has led to man using dogs for a wide variety of applications. In the past, one of the most important jobs a dog can do is help in hunting. Today, you can find dogs in the employ of the police and other enforcing authorities to detect illegal substances such as drugs, explosives, blood, and even money.
However, studies have shown that their olfactory senses might be applicable to medicine as well. With such a heightened ability for smell, it seems like dogs are able to detect diseases and medical conditions in humans as well. Dogs have been popularly known to be trained to detect cancer. When presented with blood samples of different patients, the test dogs were able to pick out the samples of the cancer patients with up to 97 percent accuracy.
There has also been an increase in diabetic people getting support dogs that can help warn them regarding their blood sugar. The dog’s sense of smell is so acute that it can even detect whether someone’s blood sugar is going up or going down.
With their ability to smell subtle pheromone and hormone changes, there have been stories where pregnant women would notice that their dogs would frequently lay on their bellies – a behavior that they didn’t exhibit in the past. Does this mean that there’s a chance you are pregnant if your dog keeps laying on your stomach?
While there is a lack of scholarly studies investigating the ability of dogs to detect pregnancy, there are a few possible explanations as to why your dog would be able to detect such a condition.
They Can Sense a Change in Hormones
Biochemically, pregnancy is a barrage of different hormones instructing a woman’s body to do all sorts of different tasks. Everything inside the body is in full swing, especially at the beginning of a pregnancy, and chances are that your dog might be able to detect those hormones.
There are several notable hormones associated with pregnancy. These include progesterone (which prepares the uterine lining for the egg implantation), estrogen (which directs new blood vessels towards the uterus and placenta for increased nutrient delivery to the baby), oxytocin (which prepares the cervix), prolactin (which prepares the breasts for the baby), and human chorionic gonadotropin (which is an early pregnancy hormone and is actually the hormone being detected in pregnancy tests).
With the increase in all these different hormones all of a sudden, your dog might be able to sense this and is laying down on your stomach to let you know.
They Can Sense a Change in Behavior
Even beyond the use of their sense of smell, dogs are very observant. Aside from chemical cues, dogs have been known to pick up on physiological cues as well. Because of all the different hormones raging inside a pregnant woman, their behavior is likely to change. Dogs would be able to pick up on this and show concern by laying on you.
This ability to form emotional connections has actually been investigated by researchers as this could potentially be a primitive form of empathy. That is why studies have shown that dogs are able to respond both behaviorally and biochemically similar to humans. For example, dogs can sometimes yawn when they see their owners yawn. Other studies have shown that dogs respond hormonally similar to humans from the same stimuli – such as hearing a baby cry.
All this points to the fact that dogs are incredibly emotional creatures, and they could easily detect a behavioral change in their owner. While them laying on your stomach may mean that they suspect you are pregnant, it can also simply be that they just want to comfort you.
They Can Sense a Change in Your Physical Body
Although changes in your body would occur a little more way down the road, dogs are incredibly perceptive when it comes to structural changes in your body. Evidently, pregnancy changes a woman’s body in different ways. Aside from the growing belly, a pregnant woman can also experience swollen breasts and swollen feet as well.
There have always been stories of dogs doing amazing feats, and there have been several stories where owners would swear that their dogs were able to detect their own pregnancies before them. Although plenty of anecdotal evidence can be found over the internet, the ability of dogs to detect pregnancy has not yet been confirmed through a scholarly study.