Dogs and Pregnancy – Risks & Safety Tips
Have you just found out your pregnant and are wondering if it’s OK to be around your dog? Or are you considering becoming pregnant, but wondering if dogs could present a risk to your pregnancy? If so, then you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve done the research to learn as much as possible about the safety and risks of having a dog while you’re pregnant. Let’s get started!
Dogs and Human Pregnancy Risks
Having a dog is wonderful! They’re your companion through life and are always there for you. They also provide you with unconditional love, and you love them the same in return. However, are there any risks to having a dog while you’re pregnant?
There are some things to consider including:
- Zoonotic diseases: these are diseases and illnesses that can pass from an animal to a human. The types of germs they pass depends on the specific type of animals. In most cases, if you take good care of your dog, make sure he has regular visits to the vet, and that he’s treated for parasites and has received all his vaccinations, then there’s a low probability that you’ll catch something from your fur baby. Even so, there are some infections to be aware of:
- Salmonella: this is a bacterial infection that often comes from food poisoning; however, it can also come from our pets. This infection typically causes fever, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. This bacterial infection can be passed on to unborn babies.
- Toxoplasmosis: this is infection is caused by a parasite. It’s not usually dangerous, but it can dangerous if you develop this infection when you’re pregnant or just before becoming pregnant. While it is rare, this infection can be passed to an unborn baby; early in the pregnancy it can cause miscarriage, later it can lead to stillbirth or even congenital disabilities.
- Allergies: if you have allergies to your fur baby, then you may want to ask your doctor if your allergy medications are safe to take while pregnant. They may say the medication is OK, or recommend a safer alternative.
Other than this, dogs don’t usually present much of a health risk to pregnant women and their unborn babies. However, kissing your dog while pregnant is usually not recommended, though it’s rare to catch an illness from your canine companion even in this way, as long as he’s healthy and has all his shots.
Other Risks to Pregnant Mothers with Dogs
Unpredictability in dogs can be a problem. If your dog bites or scratches during play, or has other behaviors that are somewhat unpredictable, such as a dog who likes to jump could knock you down, which could harm you and your baby. If your dog is a jumper, then it is probably a good idea for your significant other to take the dog to obedience training.
What about a dog jumped on stomach while pregnant? This is something you’ll need to watch out for, too. If your dog is under 40 lbs, they most likely won’t be able to hurt the baby if they happen to bounce or paw your tummy. However, if your canine companion is over 40 lbs, they could land with enough force on your stomach to hurt you and the baby. Again, if you have a dog that likes to do these things, then it’s a good idea to take him to obedience training, or have someone with you put your dog in a kennel until he calms down.
As for your fur baby licking your hands, that should be OK. However, be sure to wash your hands after you’ve received loving kissing from your dog, or after you’ve played with him. That way you’ll stay safe from any possible infections he could pass on to you and the baby.
Another often overlooked risk is that a dog could pose a tripping hazard to a pregnant woman. As your baby grows larger in the last trimester, your balance changes, and it’s even hard to see your feet! At this point, even seeing your dog lying on the floor can become difficult, and you may trip over him by mistake.
This isn’t anyone’s fault, it is just an accident; however, this type of accident could result in a fall that could hurt you, your baby and your dog. So, always be cautious when going through the house or yard. Try to watch out for your fur baby to avoid this type of risk.
Is working with dogs while pregnant OK? Yes, but you’ll need to take precautions against infections, as we noted earlier. Just be sure to always wash your hands after working with the dogs to avoid these types of health issues.
These are some of the main risks that your fur baby could pose. Granted, these have a low probability of being problems, but it’s good to know the possible risks your dog could pose while you’re pregnant.
Benefits of Having a Dog While Pregnant
One of the most amazing things that many have noticed after they become pregnant is that their dog seems to know and sense the pregnancy. Researchers have speculated that because of a dog’s highly sensitive sense of smell, they may be able to smell the changes in a woman’s hormones after she becomes pregnant. While the dog may not understand the reason for the change in a woman’s scent, they are able to understand there’s a change.
Dogs also seem to notice a woman’s changing physical appearance and their changing moods during pregnancy. No matter if a dog is male or female, they notice these changes and take an interest in their pet parent. As a result, some dogs become more attentive and loving, while others may become more protective.
And once the baby’s born, your dog may also have a deep connection with the baby. It’s been a story related by many new mothers after their dogs were protective and carrying during the pregnancy.
Now, let’s take a look at a more positive topic—the benefits of having a dog while you’re pregnant!
1). Your dog will take care of you: you may find that your fur baby has become more protective, loving, and more. It’s also been said that dogs are able to sense when the baby will be born!
2). Your dog will comfort you: if you’re alone, your fur baby may decide that he will become your main companion and not want to leave your side. He’ll always be there for you to hug in those moments you need to cry or laugh. He’ll just keep you company throughout your pregnancy. You might think of him as a furry guardian angel!
3). Your dog will prepare you for motherhood: having a pet is a big responsibility. You have to care for them every day—from feeding, taking our dog on walks, letting him out to go potty, taking him to the vet—all of this is great preparation for the responsibility of becoming a mother. Because our dogs are completely dependent on us, they are similar to the way in which a baby will be dependent on you.
4). Mood swings—not a problem: your fur baby loves you unconditionally and will completely understand your mood swings like none other. In fact, you may find that he is quite empathetic and will want to stay near and shower you with love. You’ll have full love from your dog at all times, in spite of the mood swings. Your dog will be a huge help to your emotional and mental wellbeing during pregnancy and after.
5). Your dog helps reduce stress: much the same way that he will shower you with love, your fur baby will also help reduce your stress levels during pregnancy.
6). Your dog will help care for the baby: after the baby arrives, your fur baby will continue his wonderful care of you and the baby. Now, we’re not saying your dog will feed and change the baby, but he will be an emotional support once your baby comes home. In fact, he may even alert you when the baby is crying! And due to hormonal changes after the birth, your fur baby will be there to continue his support of your emotional and mental wellbeing once the baby comes.
7). Your baby will be healthier: studies have shown that women who have dogs will have healthier babies. This is because the dogs expose the women and unborn babies to strains of gut bacteria that decrease the risk for obesity and allergies.
8). Exercising your dog has benefits: studies have also shown that pregnant women who stay active with their dogs are healthier. Your dog will your exercise buddy! It’s a fact that pregnant women who go on daily walks with their dogs get fresh air, reduce excessive weight gain, and avoid birth complications. Walks work to keep your energy levels up, improve circulation for you and your baby, and reduce cholesterol levels, which are all great for you and your baby.
We’re very happy that dogs have so many benefits for you and your baby! What could be better than your fur baby being your devoted attendant all through your pregnancy? And then being a canine nanny once the baby’s born?
How to Introduce Your Dog to the Baby
Your fur baby may already know that you’ve had the baby, but the reality will hit when you bring the baby home for the first time. This is an exciting time, but can also be a little bit scary for your dog. And some dogs may even become jealous of the new baby, so it’s a good idea to introduce your canine companion to his new family member.
You may anticipate some changes to your family’s daily routine. In this case, you’ll also need to think about your fur baby’s daily routine. You might make changes gradually before the baby comes. For instance, you may need to change where your dog sleeps, when he gets walked, etc. Doing this ahead will help your dog become used to the new routine before the baby comes home. This way, he’ll just see the baby as something new in the house, rather than a huge change to his routine.
You can also get your dog used to baby sounds by playing recordings of a baby crying and making other baby sounds.
Another idea to prepare your fur baby for the baby’s coming home is to get him used to baby smells. This can include introducing him to the smell of baby soap, shampoo and lotions, for instance. And if the baby is born at the hospital, have your significant other take the baby’s used blanket or a piece of clothing home for the dog to smell. This way, he’ll become used to his new family member’s scent.
Overall, your fur baby will be your best bud throughout your pregnancy and after. If your dog has a problem with jumping or being rough, however, it’s best to take him to obedience training. Otherwise, your fur baby will be a welcome caregiver before and after the baby’s born!