You may be wondering why your female dog is acting much differently than she normally does around you, your family, and other pets. When a female dog is pregnant she may act out and be more aggressive than she normally is on a daily basis. Read on to find out more about this subject and what you should do if it should occur in your dog.
Do Female Pregnant Dogs Get Aggressive?
The short answer to this question is both yes and no–it all depends on your particular pooch. Dogs go through many changes just as humans do when they are pregnant. They also have a full range of emotions from a change in hormones, although they will not likely be able to communicate that they are craving a particular snack as humans do.
A dog that is very clingy and loves to be touching a family member at all times can become aggressive when she’s pregnant, just as a female dog that is very independent and likes to do her own thing without so much human contact can also become clingy when she becomes pregnant. It’s not a fact that you can figure out before your dog becomes pregnant, so there is no preventing a difference in temperament.
The physical changes a dog’s body goes through during pregnancy can also cause her to be nervous or upset, which manifests itself as aggression or being snippy toward family members and other pets in the home. You will see other behavioral changes in your dog as well, such as an increase in appetite in the second half of the pregnancy when she needs more nutrition to have healthy pups.
She may lie around more than normal and sleep more while in pregnancy as a tactic to conserve her energy so she can care for her litter when they are born. Towards the end of the pregnancy, your dog will be searching for a quiet place to have her puppies while is often characterized as scratching at her bed or going underneath your bed where it’s dark and quiet. Dogs can also have morning sickness in which they will throw up in the early stages of their pregnancy cycle.
In a first pregnancy, your dog will likely show more signs of not understanding why she feels as she does and being nervous, which can be shown as very passive or aggressive. The change in hormones throughout the heat cycle, pregnancy, and after the puppies are born can make a dog have a personality change and possibly be more aggressive than normal, especially if she is a dominant female dog in your home.
How Long Does Maternal Aggression Last in Dogs?
Dogs may actually show aggression when being in heat, while pregnant, and afterward too. Depending on the breed of your dog, she will mature and start her first heat cycle somewhere between 6 to 24 months. Toy breeds mature much faster than large and giant breed dogs. You can then expect your dog to go into heat about every 6 months and the heat period lasts approximately 3 weeks each time.
Most female dogs don’t show aggression in pregnancy without some sort of cause. If they feel threatened, scared, aggravated, or uncomfortable, they may growl or show you their teeth to warn you to back off. It is possible that your pretty pooch may be having pain, extreme hormonal imbalance or she may be sick. If you suspect any of these things, you should take your dog to the veterinarian in order to have a checkup and make certain she is okay.
Fortunately, the gestation period for dogs is much shorter than in humans who carry babies for about 9 months. Dogs carry their litter for somewhere between 57 and 63 days. If your female pooch was bred twice during her heat cycle, then she is more likely to give birth from 63 to 65 days later. After the pawsome pups arrive, your dog can still be aggressive to others because of her maternal instinct to guard and take care of her young. This should subside as the puppies get older at about 4 weeks old or so.
Your female can be more aggressive than usual for a total of about 8 weeks, including during heat, the gestation period, and after birthing the babies.
How to Stop My Pregnant Dog’s Aggression?
First and foremost, if your dog is showing aggression to any family member, back off and leave her alone. If she’s pregnant, it is most likely a hormonal change that is fueling her behavior. You should examine when she decides to show her teeth or growl and remove the trigger that causes her to do this. For example, if she is napping and you simply go to pet her and she is startled, she may act defensively because you scared her. So, don’t mess with her when she’s sleeping.
Some female dogs act aggressively over their food in the last half of the pregnancy because she’s very hungry to feed herself and give her pups the nutrition they need as they are growing inside of her. In this case, make sure she eats separately from other pets and don’t let anyone near her at mealtimes to curb her behavior.
In the case that your dog becomes very clingy during pregnancy, allow her to stay by you as much as possible. She feels that she needs you to comfort her and if you don’t give her the comfort she needs, she may do a complete reverse and become aggressive.
If you have other pets in the household that are causing your pregnant dog stress and acting out, remove or separate them so she isn’t intimidated by them. Some female dogs can be BFF’s with another female dog in the same family and then, when one becomes pregnant, they are not compatible as they once were.
You can separate two dogs in two areas of your home with a dog or baby gate so they each get contact with the humans in their pack, but no physical contact with each other. You can also let them take turns going outside to the bathroom if you have a fenced yard or take them on separate walks to relieve themselves outdoors.
In the most basic of terms, figure out the trigger for aggressive behavior and remove that from your pregnant dog’s life at this time to make her comfortable while she’s carrying your new furbaby members.
Why is My Female Dog Suddenly Aggressive?
Some families live in rural areas where their dogs are allowed to be outside and not on a leash or behind a fence. In these cases, a female dog may come into heat and get pregnant without the owner knowing it and it may come as a surprise.
Other families live in areas without having a yard for their dogs to play in, such as apartments and condos. In this case, a family should know if their dog has been bred because it was on a leash where they went outside, except for maybe in a dog park for exercise.
If your female dog suddenly becomes aggressive and you aren’t sure why, you should take her to the veterinarian for a checkup and diagnosis. Pain of any sort can make a dog aggressive, just as some internal diseases and conditions as well as skin, eye, or ear infections of many different types.
Dogs just don’t suddenly become aggressive for no reason at all and you need to get to the bottom of this behavior in order to treat it. Your veterinarian can easily confirm if your pretty pooch is pregnant or identify another cause of her aggression.
Does a Dog’s Temperament Change When Pregnant?
A dog’s temperament can change when it is pregnant or it can remain the same as it usually is. An extremely sweet and quiet dog can become very clingy and demand all of your attention or the same dog may become aggressive when she’s pregnant.
Just as a dog that is the alpha female of your household or pack may become even more aggressive to other family pets and members or she may become quiet, submissive and gentle when she’s pregnant.
The first time your female dog is pregnant will show you what to expect if you allow her to breed again, becasue teh temperament will most likely be the same each time that she is pregnnant. If your dog is almost unbearable while pregnant, it could just be the life stage or this trait can also be inherited from her parents.
If you have a hard time with your pregnant female you may choose just to have her spayed after her first litter of puppies so she and your family doesn’t need to bear with the changes in her temperament when she’s pregnanat.