Are you getting worried by observing aggressive behaviour in your pregnant pooch? Don’t worry! Referring to the question “Are pregnant dogs aggressive?”, we suppose the answer is YES. A pregnant dog does undergo multiple hormonal changes that affect their psychological behaviour. Well, if you want to understand the aetiology, signs, and solution for aggressive behaviour in detail, you are at the right place!
Aggressive Behavior Of Dogs During Pregnancy:
Just like humans, dogs undergo some behavioural as well as physical changes during pregnancy. These altered behaviours are a result of some hormonal changes. No matter the dog is genuinely pregnant or it is false pregnancy, you will surely observe aggression. But that’s not something to worry about as it is quite normal in such circumstances.
Reasons behind Aggression in pregnant dogs:
As discussed, hormones play a major role in altering the behaviour of an animal, especially in pregnancy. Well, their major hormones are involved in dog pregnancy; Oxytocin, progesterone, and Prolactin. The imbalance of these hormones might trigger aggression in a pregnant dog. Let us see how!
- When the dog is pregnant, there is some pressure exerted on the cervix before giving birth to the puppies. This pressure enhances the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin, on the other hand, is responsible for triggering aggressiveness.
- Secondly, progesterone is a hormone that maintains calmness in the dog. During pregnancy, when the dog is near to give birth to the puppies, the progesterone levels decrease. This leads to disturbed behaviour and the dog loses its temper.
- Also, loud noises are not good for pregnant dogs. A sense of fear along with aggression starts to develop in the dog’s personality.
- There is no doubt that during pregnancy, the female dogs lose their interest in playing with toys, food, and accessories. But when someone takes away its resources, the dog starts to growl or howl to show aggression.
What are the signs of aggression of a pregnant dog?
- The dog starts to make howling, snarling, snapping and growling sounds by making and eye contact.
- Low-range excessive barking also indicates aggression in a pregnant dog.
- If the dog is carrying its tail high, and the ears are erect, you must avoid making a contact.
- If the dog stays still and rigid, it can be a sign of aggression.
- It will try to muzzle punch with its nose to anyone who tries to get closer without any concern.
- The body language of the dog is changed at well.
- The dog may even be threatening harm, restless, and nervous when it is in aggression.
Does a dog get aggressive in false pregnancy?
False gestation, also known as pseudo-pregnancy is quite common in dogs, especially intact dogs. At a certain level, all such dogs experience false pregnancy in their life once. They are not pregnant but pretend to be. Although the dog isn’t pregnant, due to heat, the oxytocin hormone still produces. We know that oxytocin plays a role in introducing aggression.
Does the presence of other dogs make the pregnant dogs aggressive?
Are pregnant dogs aggressive when some other dog is near them? The female dog does not like much company as it is annoyed most of the time. When a fellow dog, let it be the father, accompanies the pregnant dog, she will more likely get irritated which leads to stress and aggression.
How to deal with the aggression of a pregnant dog:
Through the entire life of the dog, you fulfil its general needs, but this is the time when she needs help the most. There are multiple possible ways to lower the aggression of the dogs which help in making the dog less vulnerable.
Do not over-manipulate the dog:
We know that being a loyal owner, you most probably want to hang out most of the time with it. But a pregnant dog does not like to be picked up or played with. They want to have some peaceful time as they feel lethargic at that time. But don’t stop the interaction at all, just don’t be over-manipulative.
Prove maximum comfort:
Providing lesser supplies, or removing resources, may lead to aggression in the pregnant dog. Hence, make sure you are providing it with all the necessary stuff. Also, it is important to offer the pregnant dog all the stuff that will make it feel comfortable including a soft dog bed, adequate food, and many more.
Avoid Noise and Guests:
If you making noise near the pregnant dog, a sense of fear and stress may develop in it. This will lead to aggression as well as destructive behaviour. Try to be quiet around it also, avoid welcoming guests at home as by seeing so many people the dog may get anxious.
All dogs are not the same:
Just like every dog has a different temperament depending on its personality, the level of aggressiveness is variable as well. Some dogs stay protective and calm during pregnancy whereas, others show destructive and aggressive behaviour. Most of the dogs feel annoyed at times when they are pregnant, but this does not mean that they have to be aggressive as well. Whatever the condition is, it is good to visit a vet if the dog shows aggressive behaviour in pregnancy, as there can be any physical reason as well.
Which dogs show aggressive behaviour during pregnancy?
The dogs having a controlling and dominant personality are those having greater chances of being aggressive. Here, the dog tries to protect its litter, as the dominance aggression is hormonally enhanced. Some of the common examples of such dogs include Pitbull, Jack Russell terrier, wolf-dog hybrids, dachshunds, Chihuahua and many more. Whereas, some calm, happy dogs like to welcome comfort during pregnancy as well as after birth.
What aids in increasing the aggressive behaviour of pregnant dogs?
Normal dogs do have aggressive behaviour, but that is not accelerated easily, or without and trigger. But in the case of anxious and immature dogs, the aggression can be worse. As these dogs have no experience of pregnancy also, they already have the anxiety to disturb their mental health. So, the addition of aggression will affect them a lot. With an unstable social environment, the aggression even increases more which means, troubling environmental factors can lead to this behaviour as well.
Aggression In Dogs After Giving Birth:
When a dog gives birth to her puppies, a special bond is created between them that make the mother dog more protective. The dog does not want anyone near it after giving birth to her babies due to its protective nature. But whenever it senses that someone is trying to invade, it gets highly aggressive. She not only wants the owner to stay away but also the presence of a male dog makes her aggressive.
What are the reasons behind the aggression of dog after pregnancy?
There is a natural process through which multiple chemical changes take place in the dog’s brain. Well, these changes are developed in the dog to protect and bond with the puppies. As, the puppies are born blind, deaf, toothless hence, they are dependent on the mother for everything. This makes the mother dog protective and that leads to aggression. Some of the other reasons that can make a pregnant dog aggressive are:
- The phenotype of the dog
- Hormonal changes of the dog
- Response to threat
- Neurophysiologic influences
- Metabolic disturbances
- Response to pain if the dog is suffering from mastitis
- Well, if the owner tries to manipulate the female dog, she will still get aggressive due to the special bond with the puppies. Hence, even if you are its favourite person, try to stay away from the nest as much as possible.
- With the decreased progesterone levels, the third hormone is elevated; Prolactin introduces nesting and protective behaviour in female dogs. So, to protect the puppies, female dogs can show aggression to the people. They can even bite the owner he tries to get near to them. Hence, it is recommended to separate the dog from the little puppies when a vet comes to visit.
- Oxytocin plays a major role in lowering anxiety and fear, creating a bond between the mother and the puppies, and most importantly increasing aggressiveness to invasion.
- Anything that seems to threaten the female dog’s security is the cause of aggression, no matter it is really threatening or not.
Signs of aggression in female dogs after pregnancy:
- The aggressive dog usually howls and growl on seeing someone. That isn’t dangerous but quite normal behaviour. But if someone, even the owner, moves closer to the dog or pups, the dog will most probably attack with its paws which can be deadly as well.
- Removing the puppies from the nest and placing them somewhere else so that, no one could touch them is one of the most common signs of aggressive behaviours.
For how long does the aggressive behaviour last?
The aggressive behaviour of the female dog does not last forever. Fortunately, just after some days, the dog starts to get normal. Especially, when it feels that the puppies are independent and no one can hurt them easily. This stage occurs when the puppies are at least 2 to 3 weeks old. As the litter is weaned and gets older, the level of aggression drops. But if the aggression of the dog remains ineffective to the owners, it will increase more. So if you are thinking that are pregnant dogs aggressive for a long time after giving birth to the puppies. Well, we are happy to tell you that you are wrong here.
How to control aggressive behaviour in pregnant dogs?
Now as we are fully aware of maternity aggression, the important thing to know is how to deal with it. Following are some important things you should follow if the mother dog is getting furious.
Remove other animals:
Until the female pregnant dog is ready to be socialized again, do not let any other pet near it as aggression can cause some serious disaster. When it comes to father, do the same as well for its safety and peace.
Along with the dog’s care, it is important to keep yourself safe as well. If the dog is trying to bite you, kneeling will be the optimal solution until it gets normal. Whereas, if you have to check the weight of baby dogs daily, wait for the time when the mother dogs leave the space for potty or eating food. Ask someone to be with the mother dog outside and distract it as much as possible meanwhile you can measure the weight easily.
If a dog shows more than normal maternal aggression during pregnancy or after giving birth to its child, then it is better not to give her the right to breed anymore. Spaying will prevent the dog from getting pregnant again hence, the aggressive behaviour will be controlled. Even if the mother dog is having false pregnancy and shows aggression, spaying will be the right choice.
What consequences do the puppies have to face when the mother dog shows aggressive behaviour?
Usually, the mother dog shows aggressive behaviour to protect its offspring, but in some cases, it even shows more aggression which can lead to destructive behaviour and depression. Such female dogs refuse to feed their dog. Also, the pups don’t grow the way they should because of a lack of motherhood. For such puppies, the owners should carefully bottle feed them because it is necessary for the growth of pups. Just be aware that dogs can attack even the owner when they are aggressive and he/she touches the babies.
What should not be mixed with aggression?
“Are mother dogs aggressive when they bite the pups?” No! Although dog biting is considered a threat to other dogs and humans, when it is with puppies, it is not dangerous. The female dog bites the puppies slowly to make them learn bite inhibition. Hence, this behaviour is quite normal. Also, when the mother dog stops feeding the puppies and just move away from them, a possible reason behind this could be that the puppy is too mouthy. The getting up and moving behaviour will let the puppy know that the mother dog is not liking the “mouthing stuff.”
Cautions to keep in mind:
Never feel that you are alone in facing all these aggressive concerns. It is quite normal and one should know how to manage it, and get rid of it. You have to be quite cautious around aggressive pregnant dogs as they are perilous to humans as well as other animals. If you observe some excessive aggressive behaviour in the dog, then it might be due to any physical illness, let it be any pain or disease. In that case, do not hesitate to reach out to the vet as it is good for both you and the dog.
The answer to the question; are pregnant dogs aggressive, is yes. Most of them are possessive and protective about their puppies, but luckily it is not a long-term concern. This does not indicate that every dog has the same behaviour. Some of them get too aggressive, while some show normal behaviour. False gestation can lead to aggression as well. In extreme conditions you should consult with a vet whereas, just follow the above-mentioned instructions for normal circumstances.