A dog licking itself signifies many things such as pain, boredom, or anxiety. On the other hand, excessive self-licking could be a sign of allergy or any other health problem. However, when it licks its owner or any other family member, it is usually a sign of affection.
But what does it mean when your lovely dog all of a sudden begins licking you when you become pregnant? Could it be that it is able to sense that something is growing in your belly? And does this happen just to your dog, or other dogs do it too? Keep reading to learn much more about this topic.
Why Do Dogs Lick Pregnant Women?
A dog is the best social animal and a man’s best friend. What is interesting is that the dogs’ ability to smell is on the other level. They can sniff everything, including the changes in a human’s body.
Things may get even more interesting when before pregnancy, your dog has not been licking you, but all of a sudden, it starts doing so once you become pregnant. This behavior your dog has developed will leave you wondering what could be the reason.
Note that pregnancy changes the woman’s body hormones, and dogs can usually notice this with their powerful sense of smell. So, it is probably aware, and that’s why it keeps licking you. It could be a sign of love and affection directed towards you and your unborn baby.
Is the Licking Behavior Normal?
The licking may not be expected with other dogs. Note that dogs usually exhibit different reactions to the pregnant owner. While others may become a little protective, some will opt to remain fearful, while others may remain indifferent. As your belly expands, your dog’s reaction varies.
The changes in your hormones may make your dog more friendly and protective. It will suddenly begin to exhibit inviting behavior such as licking, snuggling, and sleeping on your belly whenever it can. In other words, your dog will develop such behaviors because of the physical changes happening to your body.
Does the Licking Pose Any Health Risks?
Though bacteria in the dog’s saliva may not be harmful, this does not mean that you shouldn’t take precautions. Note that the dog’s saliva contains zoonotic organisms or pathogens that are likely to pass to humans hence causing various diseases. It means that you can get several illnesses from dogs when you allow it to kiss you in sensitive places such as the face.
It is the reason why you need to have an exception as far as dog-human licking is concerned. Since you are pregnant, health complications are the last thing you want during this period.
A dog licking its owner is a sign of love and affection. So, you don’t want to stop this because it will make your dog start thinking that you don’t love it. As stated above, dog-human licking can cause diseases.
However, you are likely to catch diseases if it is mouth to mouth and mouth to face licking. So, licking other parts of the body such as legs, hands is harmless. It can only be harmful if the area has a wound that may contact the dog’s saliva.
So, it is advisable that you prevent your dog from licking your mouth and face. These areas are most sensitive, and you are at risk of contracting diseases such as periodontal and gingivitis diseases. If you have any wound on your body, ensure that it does not come into contact with the dog’s saliva.
What Are the Long-Term Effects?
As you near delivery, the more the dog becomes sensitive to the changes that are happening around. It is capable of noticing things such as the baby’s crib, room, diapers, clothes, and so on.
All these changes may also affect your dog’s behavior. It may begin exhibiting some uncouth behaviors such as peeing in the house and becoming generally uncooperative. The reason for this behavior is because the dog is sensing that some changes are coming. The dog feels that it will be pushed away once the baby is born. You may find such behavior disturbing and may cause stress.
What you need to do in such a situation is to ensure that the love for your dog does not stop when the baby arrives. You should continue showing the same affection and attention just like before. Do not begin to show your dog behaviors that make it feel that it should stay away. When you maintain your dog’s usual relationship, it will continue to be affectionate, protective, cooperative, and friendly.
The idea that a dog can sense when you are pregnant is quite fascinating. But they indeed get more affectionate and protective during pregnancy. Though this may feel sweet, there is usually a behavior problem that a dog develops during this period that you may find disturbing. The ideas in this post should help you to know how to handle your dog during pregnancy.