Do Male Dogs Get Protective Over Pregnant Owners?


As your pregnancy progresses, you may begin to notice some changes in your male dog’s behavior. He may become more attentive, affectionate, and even protective of you. This protectiveness likely stems from your dog’s instinctive reaction to the changes in your scent, energy, and routine as your pregnancy advances. While a dog’s protective behavior can be comforting, it’s important to set boundaries and take precautions to ensure safety for both you and your pet. In this article, we’ll explore why male dogs act protective of pregnant owners, signs to watch for, and tips to prepare both you and your dog during this special time.

Do Dogs Understand Pregnancy?

Dogs have an incredibly advanced sense of smell. According to the AKC, dogs’ noses have up to 300 million scent receptors, while humans only have about 6 million. This gives dogs the ability to detect subtle changes in hormones and scent that humans cannot (Source:

When a woman becomes pregnant, her body undergoes many hormonal changes, which can alter her natural scent. Dogs are able to pick up on these hormonal changes, and therefore may be able to detect a pregnancy. According to The Bump, some of the hormones that dogs can detect include estrogen, progesterone, and chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) (Source:

So while dogs may not fully understand the concept of pregnancy, their highly advanced sense of smell allows them to detect subtle hormonal changes, suggesting they are able to sense when a woman is pregnant.

Male Dogs Becoming More Protective

There are many anecdotes of male dogs becoming much more protective of their pregnant owners. For example, one story tells of a dog who would not let his pregnant owner’s boyfriend touch her belly. According to a Daily Mail article, the dog barked, stood on his hind legs, and tried to bite the man anytime he got close to the woman and her unborn baby. The dog seemed to see the belly as being under his protection.

On dog owner forums, there are similar stories. One member posted on about how when his wife got pregnant, their male dog Grendel became “obsessed” with her and stuck to her “like glue.” He seemed extremely protective and would not let others get close.

These anecotal reports indicate that some male dogs do indeed become much more protective and attentive when their female owner is expecting a child.

Reasons For Male Dog’s Protectiveness

One of the main reasons male dogs become more protective of their pregnant owners is due to an instinct to guard their pack. According to an article on, dogs view their human families as their pack and pregnant owners as more vulnerable pack members who require protection ( The expecting mother is carrying the next generation of the pack, so male dogs naturally feel the need to keep her safe. This aligns with their innate tendencies to be alert and watchful as pack protectors.

Additionally, male dogs can sense hormonal changes in pregnant women that signal vulnerability. According to, dogs have an excellent sense of smell and can pick up on the hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy, triggering their protective urges ( Their pack instinct compels them to stick closer to their pregnant owner in order to protect both mom and unborn babies.

Changes In Behavior

Male dogs often become much more attentive and affectionate towards their pregnant owner. According to this Healthline article, some male dogs will stay by the pregnant woman’s side constantly. They may follow her around more than usual and want to be touching her or cuddling whenever possible.

This increased attention serves as the male dog’s way of protecting and comforting the pregnant woman during this time of change. The male dog may be responding to physical cues from the woman, like a changing scent or elevated emotions. By staying close to her, the male dog is displaying protective and caring behaviors. The hormone changes of pregnancy likely make expectant mothers emit different pheromones, which dogs can detect and react to.

In addition to being more attentive, many male dogs also become more affectionate with a pregnant owner. As reported by the American Kennel Club, male dogs often nuzzle, cuddle and try to be close to their pregnant human. They seem to understand the woman needs special care and are aiming to provide emotional support and affection.

Preparing Your Male Dog

The transition to pregnancy can be difficult for some male dogs. Here are some tips to help ease the adjustment:

Give him extra attention. Your male dog may feel neglected or jealous of the coming babies, so be sure to set aside special one-on-one time with him. Provide plenty of affection, playtime, walks, and treats.

Establish a routine. Structure and predictability can help anxious pups. Feed, walk, and interact with your male dog at consistent times each day.

Expose him slowly. Let your male dog sniff the nursery or baby items before the litter arrives. This allows him to get used to the new sights and smells gradually.

Consider crate training. Crates give male dogs a secure personal space if they feel overwhelmed by the changes.

Ask your vet about supplements. Pheromone diffusers or calming treats can ease your male dog’s transition stress.

Be patient and consistent. Your male dog may regress with potty training or obedience. Stick to your training tactics and he’ll adapt over time.

With preparation and positive reinforcement, you can help your male dog adjust to your pregnancy and upcoming puppies. The key is making him feel secure amidst the changes.

Safety Precautions

One of the most important things you can do to keep your baby safe is to supervise your dog whenever he is around the baby. Never leave your dog alone with an infant or toddler, even for a moment. Accidents can happen in seconds, so diligent supervision is key.

Keep your dog on a leash when the baby is on the floor for tummy time or playing. This prevents him from getting too close and possibly knocking over the baby. It also allows you to quickly intervene if the dog gets overly curious.

Baby gates can be used to keep the nursery or baby play areas dog-free zones. Gates also allow the dog to see the baby but keeps him safely separated. As the baby grows and becomes mobile, gates prevent access to dog areas like the yard or rooms with the dog’s food and toys.

According to the AKC, crating your dog or providing him with a safe place separated from the baby can ease any stress he may be feeling from the new family member and changes in routine (AKC). This gives him a feeling of safety while keeping the baby protected.

Caring For Both

It’s important when you have a new baby to still make sure your dog’s needs are met. Dogs require exercise, mental stimulation, and affection just like before the baby arrived. Make an effort to spend one-on-one time with your dog everyday, such as going for a walk without the baby or engaging in a short training session (ASPCA). Give your dog affection like petting or brushing while you hold or feed the baby so your dog still feels included.

Don’t expect your dog to be self-sufficient during this transition. Continue to meet their needs for potty breaks, play time, walks, and affection. Ask family members to engage with your dog when they come visit the baby. With a little creativity, you can give your furry friend the attention they need in this new chapter of life together (Rover).

When To Get Help

While most male dogs adjust well to their owner’s pregnancy, some may exhibit problematic behaviors that require intervention. Signs that your male dog is struggling include:

  • Aggression such as growling, snarling, or snapping when you or other family members approach
  • Attempting to herd you away from things he finds concerning
  • Excessive barking and agitation when you are holding or near the baby
  • Marking around the house with urine
  • Destroying items related to the baby, such as toys or blankets
  • Showing signs of stress like panting, pacing, whining

If your dog displays any aggressive or stressed behaviors, seek help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist immediately. They can assess your dog’s behavior and temperament and provide customized training to help him adjust to the changes in a safe, positive manner.

It’s important not to punish or scold your dog for these behaviors, as that will only increase his anxiety. Be patient and take steps to make him feel secure. But if problems persist or worsen, don’t hesitate to get expert assistance for the safety of you, your baby, and your furry family member.


In summary, some male dogs do become more protective of their pregnant owners. The exact reasons are not fully understood, but likely have to do with the dog sensing changes in the owner’s hormones and scent. The protectiveness may intensify as the pregnancy progresses. While it’s generally harmless, take precautions in case the behavior becomes overbearing. Don’t encourage aggression, and watch children closely around the dog. Seek professional help if problems emerge. Overall, enjoy this special time with your pet, while making sure both mother and baby remain safe and comfortable.

To recap, monitor your male dog for behavioral changes during pregnancy. Be calm yet assertive if protectiveness arises. Stick to normal routines, and don’t treat the dog differently. Make gradual adjustments as needed, and see your vet for advice. With proper training and care, your loyal companion can support you on the journey to motherhood.

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