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Are Pregnant Dogs Aggressive? (Behavioral Changes to Watch for)

Are Pregnant Dogs Aggressive? (Behavioral Changes to Watch for)
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Owning dogs is something that has the potential to bring you a lot of joy. It’s fun to have a dog as a pet, and you love how loyal and affectionate these animals are.

If your dog is female, then you might have to deal with it getting pregnant at some point. Whether this pregnancy occurred because you planned for it or it happened out of the blue, you’re going to want to do your best to keep your dog safe.

Some dog owners have noted that their pregnant dogs seem a lot different than usual. If your dog appears to be a bit grumpy, then you might be concerned.

Are pregnant dogs aggressive? Or does it simply depend on the dog?

Keep reading to learn more about the behavior of pregnant dogs. This should help you to know what to expect when your dog is pregnant.

Pregnant Dogs Can Be Aggressive

Pregnant dogs can indeed be aggressive. It isn’t unusual for pregnant dogs to be more irritable than usual.

This means that even a traditionally loving and affectionate dog might not want much to do with you while it’s pregnant. You might notice that your dog will be off by itself doing its own thing more often while it’s pregnant.

Sometimes dogs that are pregnant will be more likely to growl or bite at people or animals, too. This can be problematic when you have other pets or small children in the house.

It’s best to keep kids away from pregnant dogs just to be on the safe side. You might even want to keep other pets away from your pregnant dog just so that the dog feels that it has enough space.

Even if the dog wouldn’t bite someone or another pet, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Pregnant dogs are very sensitive and they feel that they need to protect themselves for the sake of their puppies.

The dog’s aggressive nature can be chalked up to maternal instincts. It’s also true that a dog will feel vulnerable while it’s pregnant and will do its best to try to keep itself safe.

New Mothers Can Be Aggressive Too

It should be noted that new mothers can also be aggressive. Sometimes you might notice a female dog being a bit aggressive or protective of its puppies.

For example, if you try to take one of the puppies away from the mother, then it might have an aggressive reaction. This doesn’t always happen, but it can occur.

Understanding that dogs have maternal instincts should allow you to react accordingly. You need to be careful and ensure that you don’t upset the mother dog.

Treat the puppies kindly and wait to give the puppies away until after they have been weaned if possible. It isn’t necessarily hard to care for a mother dog and puppies, but it is best to do things the right way.

Pregnant Dogs Experience Many Behavioral Changes

Being slightly more aggressive is just one of the behavioral changes that you’re likely to notice when your dog is pregnant. Pregnant dogs experience many behavioral changes during the gestation period.

If you understand more about what happens when a dog is pregnant, it’ll become easier to care for your dog. At the very least, you won’t feel as if you’re caught off guard by something.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is something that you’re likely familiar with. If you’ve ever been pregnant or if you’ve been around a pregnant person before, then you’ll know that this is a common symptom.

Canines experience a type of morning sickness during pregnancy as well. This usually happens during the earlier stages of the pregnancy.

You might notice your dog appearing a bit sick when it wakes up. Sometimes it might vomit or it will appear to be nauseated.

There shouldn’t be any reason to worry about the dog if you know that it’s pregnant. The morning sickness should be fairly minor and it will pass in time.

General Lethargy

Often, pregnant dogs will feel very lethargic. They won’t be nearly as active as usual because they just won’t have the same level of energy that they typically do.

There are a few reasons why pregnant dogs will be lethargic. One is that they lack energy while pregnant and they understand that it’s important to conserve energy.

Another reason is that the dog has a maternal instinct that tells it that it needs to protect its puppies. It might not choose to play around or take any risks because it knows that it needs to be careful for the sake of the puppies.

You usually won’t notice a dog becoming lethargic until it’s a few weeks into its pregnancy. Until then, the dog should play as normal.

Appetite Changes

You’re likely going to expect that a pregnant dog will have a change in appetite. It’s likely that you won’t notice any changes in the dog’s appetite during the first half of the pregnancy.

During the second half of the pregnancy, the dog will start to consume a lot more food. This is because the dog knows that it needs more food for the puppies.

It’s totally normal for the dog to start eating a lot more dog food when it’s in the second half of its pregnancy. You’ll want to feed it more than normal because it needs the energy.

Nesting Behavior

Nesting behavior refers to when a dog looks for a comfortable spot to rest. Your pregnant dog might be looking for a perfect spot where it feels it can rest and potentially give birth to its puppies.

This only occurs during the later parts of the dog’s pregnancy. If you notice your dog scratching the ground and moving its bed around, then you might be able to tell that it’s close to the time for it to have its puppies.

Keep an eye on your dog so that you can help it out. If necessary, you can always call a veterinarian if there appear to be any complications or issues.

Some Pregnant Dogs Are Clingy

This might go against some of what has been discussed so far, but some pregnant dogs are actually clingy. Many dog owners have noted that their pregnant dogs have been excessively clingy during certain parts of the pregnancy.

You might notice the dog following you around everywhere that you go. The dog might want you to pet it and hold it more than usual.

Don’t be concerned if your dog doesn’t act this way, though. Not every dog is going to act clingy during a pregnancy.

Some dogs might tend to be standoffish and will want to be left alone more often than not. Others will want excessive amounts of attention from their owners.

Dogs in Heat Can Be Aggressive

If you’re not sure whether your dog is pregnant or not, then you might simply be wondering why it seems to be more aggressive lately. There are situations where dogs in heat will become much more aggressive than usual.

Female dogs that haven’t been spayed will start going into heat once they have reached six months old. There is a caveat to this information, though, because larger breeds might not be able to enter a heat state until they are approximately twelve months old.

Once the dog is old enough, it’ll start experiencing heat cycles every six months on average. A female dog will stay in heat for between two and four weeks.

During this time, you’ll likely notice that the dog will act a lot different than usual. Dogs in heat can be just as aggressive as pregnant dogs.

You might notice a dog in heat will act aggressively toward both humans and other dogs. This is occurring due to excess hormones in the dog’s system altering its mood.

Estrogen levels rise to very high levels when a dog is in heat. This throws its entire mood off and causes it to act a bit funny.

When a female dog is experiencing mood issues, it can be very aggressive toward male dogs. Male dogs might want to mount the female dog to attempt to mate with it, but the female may try to fight off the other dogs.

This all occurs during the first stage of heat. There is a second stage of heat where a female dog will be much more receptive to male attention since it is ready to mate.

If your dog is simply being aggressive and acting strange, then it isn’t necessarily pregnant. You might need to check with your veterinarian to see whether the dog is pregnant if you’re curious.

Some of the things that dogs experience while in heat are similar to what they go through while pregnant. For example, a dog in heat can wind up being quite lethargic.

It should also be said that dogs can experience “phantom pregnancies.” Sometimes dogs in heat will exhibit all of the symptoms of being pregnant, but they won’t actually be pregnant.

This can occur due to hormonal imbalances and it isn’t that unusual. It sometimes happens between six and twelve weeks after a heat cycle.

Dogs usually get over this within a few weeks. You can always have the veterinarian come and look at your dog if you’re concerned that it really is pregnant, though.

How to Calm Dogs in Heat

Keeping dogs in heat calm might not always be easy. If your dog is very aggressive during the first part of its heat cycle, then you might be worried about it hurting someone or being mean to your other pets.

One of the best things to do is to give your dog enough exercise. Ensure that the dog is going outside and that it’s getting to run around.

This helps to burn off excess energy so that it won’t be interacting with other pets negatively. Dog owners have also had good results when playing games with their dogs so that they can have mental stimulation.

If your dog has access to chew toys that will help, too. Dogs really enjoy chewing on things, and having a good chew toy will help the dog to alleviate stress.

Keeping male dogs away during the first part of a heat cycle is a good idea as well. They might smell the dog and will want to try to mate, but the female dog won’t be open to it during the first part of the cycle.

Trying to hide the scent can sometimes make a difference. Some have found success by using menthol to hide the female dog’s scent.

This can be done by placing a dab of menthol on the female’s tail. It’s a surprisingly effective way to keep male dogs from picking up on the fact that the female dog is in heat.

Even with this method being an option, it might be safer to just keep the male dogs in a separate area. This ensures that no incidents will occur.

Get Your Dog Spayed

Unless you truly want your female dog to have puppies, it’s going to be a good idea to get it spayed. Spaying a female dog will keep it from being able to get pregnant.

It’ll also make it so that the dog won’t go through heat cycles any longer. Being able to simply enjoy caring for your dog without having to worry about aggression issues quite so much will be nice.

You won’t have to be concerned about the dog getting pregnant any longer. There will be no more worrying about a male dog getting too close to your dog while it’s in heat.

Generally, it’s always recommended to spay and neuter your pets unless you’re planning to breed them. If you’re keeping the dogs purely as pets, then it’s so much easier to have dogs spayed and neutered.

The process isn’t that complicated and your veterinarian can walk you through what needs to happen. Dogs simply need to reach a certain age so that they can be “fixed.”

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned more about this topic, you’ll be able to decide what you want to do. Pregnant dogs can be more aggressive, but dogs in heat can also show more aggression than normal.

If you don’t want to deal with issues such as this, then it’s wise to get your dog spayed. It isn’t that costly to get this done, and it actually helps your pet to stay healthier.

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