by Jennifer Shryock
As you near your due-date, this question seems to come up on a more frequent basis -- and can cause some excitement and anxiety. It is with this in mind that I offer these important "labor day" tips for you and your canine buddy:
Do yourself (as well as your pup) a favor and when you pack your suitcase for the hospital. Pack a couple of deliciously-filled food-dispensing toys, too, and put them in the freezer for your dog to enjoy just in case you go into labor at home. Ideally you will want to labor at home as long as you choose.
However, remember that your dog may respond to the changes in your moods, scents, and behaviors. If you have a pre-made, yummy treat stashed in your freezer, when contractions begin, you will able to offer your dog something he can focus on while you focus on yourself.
It is helpful and important to keep moving during early labor. You may be experiencing contractions causing you to change your breathing and move differently. This can cause stress for some dogs as it is not "normal" behavior for you.
If this seems to be the case, provide your dog with a quiet place where he can relax in another room so that you are free to move around and focus on your experience. This is a time when you are the priority; offer your dog a quiet spot away from you with his "labor day" prepared treat.
The amniotic fluid surrounding your baby has a unique and distinct scent of its own. It's important to keep in mind that if your water breaks at home, this is truly the first scent your dog will associate with your baby. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and if this stage of labor should happen while you are at home, do your best to remain as calm and positive as possible.
This is an opportunity to introduce your dog to the very first scent of your precious new baby. Again, allowing your dog to enjoy his treat in a room away from you will allow you to focus on your labor.
This is your time and your experience, focus on you and the baby and your dog will be fine with something to enjoy and do.
Congratulations and good luck from your friends at Dogs&Storks!
Jennifer Shryock is a certified and founding member of IADBC, Inc. and maintains professional memberships with APDT. She is enrolled in a Diploma program of Canine Behavior Theory at Cynology College and has been an advisor at Doggie Door forums for three years in the areas of Dogs and Kids and Cat and Dog.
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