If you are reading this article at the moment, there are chances that your calm dog has started exhibiting aggressive behaviors and you are unsure whether it is caused by pregnancy or not.
“Do dogs get aggressive when pregnant?” YES! Dogs can become aggressive when they are pregnant. However, it is important to note that aggression in dogs is not only caused by pregnancy.
Pregnant dogs undergo a series of changes including physical, hormonal, and behavioral changes. These changes can lead to aggression making them snap, growl, or bark at other pets or people around them.
Maternal aggression can be dangerous if left uncontrolled, it can expose the kids in the household to the risk of being bitten or injured.
How can you reduce aggression in pregnant dogs? Keep reading this article to get the answer to this question.
In this article, we have revealed the reasons why dogs become aggressive while pregnant, you will also get to learn how to reduce maternal aggression in your pregnant dogs.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
What Are the Signs My Dog Is Pregnant?
When your dog is aggressive, it does not necessarily mean she is pregnant. Her aggression may be because she is in heat or because of other factors.
If your dog is aggressive and you also notice some of these behaviors or changes in her. There are chances that your dog is pregnant.
1. Increase in Weight & Appetite
When your furry friend is pregnant, she has at least one puppy growing in her uterus, this will surely lead to an increase in weight because her belly will keep expanding as the pups grow.
Another thing is that pregnancy is always accompanied by an increase in appetite. A pregnant dog will eat more than she does normally, and this increased appetite will lead to weight gain.
2. Nipples Grow Bigger
This usually happens when your dog’s date of delivery is near. This is completely normal, and it is essential because it is preparing your dog for nursing.
If you notice that all your dog’s nipples are becoming swollen and at the same time, she is always aggressive. This is a sure indicator of pregnancy in dogs.
However, if you notice that only one or a few of the nipples are swollen, it may be an indicator of a health issue and not pregnancy.
3. Behavioral Changes
Dog behavior changes when they are pregnant. They will suddenly become more irritable, aggressive, and territorial. Some of these changes are instinctual while some are usually a result of the increase in the hormonal level in their blood.
You may also notice a drop in their energy level because it is not uncommon to see highly energetic dogs suddenly become weak and lethargic after becoming pregnant.
Nesting is another behavior that may indicate that your dog is pregnant. Pregnant dogs usually nest i.e. They try to dig up or make a comfortable space for themselves where they can rest or probably give birth to their puppies.
If your dog is nesting, then there are chances that she is pregnant. Instead of leaving her to dig up a space for herself, you can help her by providing a comfortable and safe area for her. Ensure this space is safe and free from stressors.
Are Pregnant Dogs Aggressive
The straightforward answer to this question “Are pregnant dogs aggressive?” is YES.
Dogs’ gestation period spans about 2 months and during this period, it is not uncommon to see your dog exhibit some naughty behaviors.
Even your calm and loving furry friend can become aggressive towards you and other family members.
If you notice that your dog’s aggression is caused by pregnancy, it is important to keep your kids and other pets away from her.
Why Is My Pregnant Dog Aggressive
When dogs are pregnant, they experience a lot of changes which can make them aggressive.
One of the causes of aggression in pregnant dogs is hormonal influence. The hormonal level of dogs fluctuates when they are pregnant, and this can contribute to mood swings and aggression.
Just like in male dogs, their aggression is often associated with the hormone testosterone which is produced by the testicles. The aggression of female dogs can also be associated with the level of estrogen and progesterone in their bloodstream. The higher the level of hormones, the higher the aggression.
Another thing that can make your pregnant dog aggressive is pain and discomfort. When dogs are pregnant, they experience physical discomfort, such as back pain or abdominal aches. Sometimes, these discomforts are irritable, and it might manifest as aggression in your dog.
Pregnant dogs do not only experience behavioral change, but they also experience physical changes such as distended belly, enlargement of nipples, etc. These physical changes associated with pregnancy can induce anxiety in dogs. And as we all know; fear and anxiety are common triggers for aggression in dogs.
How To Reduce Aggression in Pregnant Dogs
Maternal aggression is normal in dogs. However, you still have to do something about it to ensure the safety of your dog and people around her.
One of the best ways to reduce aggression in pregnant dogs is by providing a safe and comfortable area where they can nest and rest. Ensure to remove all stressors in this safe space.
This safe space should be for your pregnant dog only and any other pet in the household should be restricted from entering there.
Avoid touching the dog’s sensitive parts such as her belly, tail, and mammary glands, doing this can cause her to become aggressive.
Following the popular saying “A tired dog is a happy dog”, engage your pregnant dog in exercises. Ensure they are well-stimulated both physically and mentally.
If after trying all these, your pregnant dog is still very aggressive, consult a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer. They will help assess the situation and provide guidance tailored to your dog’s specific needs.
The straightforward answer to this question “Are pregnant dogs aggressive?” is YES. Pregnant dogs are always irritable, aggressive, and territorial.
This aggression is usually caused by the rise in the level of estrogen and progesterone in their bloodstream. They may also become aggressive due to the physical changes or pain and discomfort caused by the pregnancy.
If your dog’s aggression is starting to expose other pets or you and your family to the risk of being bitten, it is important to take the necessary measures. You have to create a safe and calm space for your dog, you should also engage her in physical and mental exercises to tire her out.
If after trying all these things, your dog is still very much aggressive, consult with a dog behaviorist, he will help assess your dog’s behavior and tell you the necessary things to do.
Frequently Asked Questions (Do Dogs Get Aggressive When Pregnant)
Are Female Dogs in Heat Aggressive?
Female dogs start to go into heat after reaching 6 months of age, and this heat period normally lasts for 2 – 4 weeks.
During this period, your dog will experience a series of changes both behavioral and physical changes.
In dogs, one heat cycle usually contains four stages. The first stage which is known as proestrus usually lasts for 9 days and during this period, the female dog will become aggressive towards other dogs and people. She will show unwillingness to mate and may fight any male dog that tries to mount her.
However, after the proestrus stage, the second stage known as the estrus stage is a bit different. During this stage, the female dog will be more receptive to male dogs.
If your dog becomes aggressive suddenly and you are unsure about the cause, here are some of the signs that your dog’s aggression is caused by the heat cycle:
- The dog is always licking her genital aggressively.
- Their vulva becomes enlarged.
- Frequent urination
- They are restless and always want to run away from home in search of potential mates.
How To Calm a Dog in Heat?
Dogs in heat can be very aggressive and this might even be worse if left uncontrolled. Fortunately for you and your dog, there are different methods you can apply to calm your female dog in heat.
Here are some of the ways to calm your female dog in heat:
- Engage them in Exercises: Dogs in heat are restless and always willing to run away from home. You can help them expend this excess energy by engaging them in rigorous exercises such as fetch, running, and swimming. These exercises will tire out your dog and make them weak to show any sign of aggression.
- Stimulate them Mentally: This is a perfect way to keep your dog’s mind occupied. Train your dog some basic commands and engage them in mental activities such as hide & seek, obstacle course, dog tricks, etc. These activities can tire out your dog and she would be less aggressive.
- Buy them Toys: A female dog in heat would be restless and stressed. To help your dog cope with this stress, get a toy for her. I would advise you to get a chewy toy. The chewier the better!
- Mask their scent with Menthol: When dogs are in heat, they discharge some fluids that contain pheromones. When a male dog perceives this pheromone, they will become sexually engrossed, and they will want to mate with the female dog and this uncensored mating can get your female dog aggressive. To prevent this from happening, attach a menthol to your dog’s tail to mask the scent of pheromones.
You may even choose to spay your female dog. I think this is even the best option if you are not planning on breeding. Spaying your female dog reduces the rate at which she goes into heat, and also reduces the risk of certain illnesses and cancers.
Are Mother Dogs Aggressive?
Yes, a dog’s maternal aggression doesn’t end after they give birth. It continues till about 3 – 4 weeks after birthing the new pups.
Before you go, you can also read: How to Comfort Dogs Suffering from Pancreatitis