The day my dog started to stink: The effects of pregnancy on ones canine

We have a border collie, red heeler, Australian shepherd mutt. Her name is K-So (technically pronounced Queso if you speak Spanish). We adopted her a year or so before our oldest was born.

I saw her at a local pet adoption extravaganza. She was the only dog not barking. She was malnourished, had a pretty good case of mange, and looked completely miserable. I couldn’t bring myself to leave her there. I took her home and nursed her back to health. She loved me. I was the Alpha and she was happy to be whatever other greek letter I desired her to be.

Like most non-kid couples we treated our dog to all the luxuries you would bestow upon a child. Undivided attention, training, treats, exercise, playtime with other dogs, and car rides in the front seat. She enjoyed her life immensely.

When I became pregnant with our first child she sorta fed off the energy. We were happy, so she was happy. I mean really, this picture, taken a few weeks before Ari was born says it all: Happy, excited and ready to party!

When Ari was born, K-So quickly settled into her new role at the bottom of the totem pole. She took the toddler maulings with grace and patience. I think she understood that I was grateful for her good temper, and that Ari had something other than me to look at once in awhile.

Then I got pregnant with child #2. She seemed to enter a state of insecurity the day she noticed my growing gut. Or maybe her insecurity came from the fact that I all of the sudden found myself totally repulsed by the smell of dog. The more I tried not to be around her so that I didn’t puke, the more she felt the need to follow me. My poor clingy dog was constantly under my feet. Literally. She was a furry yellow stinking shadow. It was dangerous. I couldn’t see my feet, let alone my dog, and I was constantly tripping over her, thus yelling at her, thus reinforcing her feelings of woe.

This photo, taken a few weeks before Isaacs birth sorta sums up how she felt: resigned, resentful, and missing the good ol’ days.

Then there was this pregnancy. To me, K-So seriously smelled like a rotting corpse. I took her to the vet, horrified by the odors emanating from my dog’s very skin. I thought she must be dying. They couldn’t smell it. K-so gave up on shadowing me this time around, instead slinking to her bed upstairs and staying there all day–for the entire pregnancy. She’d come down from time to time, but hid behind chairs and under the table. Her gusto was gone; she was clearly depressed. I felt guilty. I felt terrible.

By pregnancy number three she’d apparently lost the desire to even face the camera. She’s just looking at us like she doesn’t know where she fits in anymore.

Poor K-So. My pregnancies are about as hard on her as they are on me. Thankfully she bounces back quickly as my activity level and smelling censors return to normal; and in true canine fashion she doesn’t seem to show any lasting resentment.

Is my dog the only one?

27 Comments so far

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  1. Kim

    This is my most favorite post by you. K-So is so amazingly adorable. I wish I could have lived near by during this pregnancy so I could have taken her for some much needed nature therapy where she could experience soul renewal in order to face the music at home.

    • Kim – Thanks. Ya, she needed you Kim!! Big time! But not to worry, I’m sure that the next time she sees you she will still wine and freak out with excitement like she usually does. Kim = Fun. Soon!

  2. Heather

    I shouldn’t be laughing, but this is pretty darn perfect. We now have 3 miserable dogs.

    • Heather – Three dogs! Wow! Your house must really stink… ;) Thanks for the comment!

  3. Great post! And I love your dog’s name! I cannot say if our dog would be the same….as we got him after we were done having kids (we’ve decided three is more than enough for us). But I get the smells thing. EVERYTHING made me sick when I was pregnant.

    • Alyssa – Ya, I think it’s easier on a dog to get them AFTER the kids have arrived. Good call!

  4. You guys are such a cute family. I love watching the subtle changes in you and Joe over the years. =)

    • Olivia – Subtle! I look like I’ve aged 15 years in the last 6 :). I also noticed the only time I have long hair is when I’m pregnant… Hummm.

  5. Can’t believe you caught those moments on camera, especially over that many years! K-So is a trooper! I think every one has a little shift in roles when new babies come on the scene. Pretty soon though he’ll have three kiddos hanging all over him…I’m sure he won’t be lacking attention. love your original posts!

    • Shawna – Thanks for the comment. I can’t believe those were caught on camera either. I actually pulled those photos out the other night because I wanted to compare the size of my gut, but I started laughing when I noticed K-So expressions.

  6. Laura

    I think this is the most hilarious post you have ever written. LOVE the sequence! So sad!! glad his feelings are not permanent :)

  7. Kim

    I laughed out loud! The pictures are priceless. I hope K-So appreciates the fact that soon there will be a third source of food handouts from the high chair and then under the table.

    • Kim – You bring up a very good point! I’m going to have to try and explain that to K-So… Good thinking.

  8. What a wonderful, sensitive story! I love how you interpreted the moods and photos. K-So’s one lucky pooch!

  9. Oh my gosh, this made me laugh so hard I got stern looks from coworkers. Yes, I think many dogs know how poor K-So feels. I did ok during my (single) pregnancy, and our Livy doggie (who was nearing 10 years old at the time) got lots of love. But once the baby was born, I just didn’t have the energy to take care of anything but him. Plants died throughout the house. If my husband wasn’t feeding Livy, I’m sure she’d have passed on with them. She’s a trooper for dealing with such intense and sudden neglect, but I think she’ll probably never forgive me either. Oh well, such is life!

    • Kate – Glad you enjoyed it, it sounds like you understand completely. I’d forgotten about house plants! They sure take a hit too. Good thing we were only down to one hearty house plant this pregnancy… pretty sure the rest died with pregnancy #2! :)

  10. Val

    Perfectly timed post….
    My dog is almost 7 and just a few weeks ago I took him to the vet for a dental check and a full panel blood workup because…..he STINKS!!!! I have a 28month old daughter and a son on the way in two months. I used to take him for 2 hr hikes every day and snuggle on the couch with him and take him everywhere. Now he lurks a the top of the stairs, or slinks around the house trying to avoid any conflict. Poor doggy. I feel so bad for him. It wasn’t like this with baby #1. Now i’m just so sensitive!!

    • Val- Hahaa, no way! I’m so glad you left this comment, you’ve given me the validation I needed to think that maybe I’m NOT just totally crazy. I feel bad for your dog too… :)

  11. Jen Johnson

    I literally laughed out loud! Thanks for sharing :)

  12. kdog

    Ha, the photo series pretty much sums it up. When you move, we will invite KSo to come have group with Pnut Butter. They will have much to discuss. :)

    • kdog – That would be perfect, maybe PButter could also help her learn to like cats.

  13. No, not the only one at all! This happened to me as well with our poor dog (black lab and blue heeler mix). During the entirety of the first trimester, she reeked to me and I couldn’t be around her. My husband started bathing her on a weekly basis but then she’d just reek like wet dog and gross dog shampoo. Fortunately, for me, things got MUCh better the moment I entered the second trimester. Now she’s happily accosting our nine month old, pushing her dog smells and dog kisses unto her :)


    • Simply Bike – Hahaa. I’m so glad you left this comment. Really, it makes me feel better :)

  14. Amber


  15. Oh my goodness, I laughed and cried over this post.

  16. Jennifer

    I am so glad you wrote this. I am in my first trimester of my first pregnancy and my poor pekingnese and poodle mix is KILLING me. My husband lovingly gives him bath after bath, but even his movement sends me into full blown nausea fits. I haven’t snuggled or “hugs” with him in weeks and it is breaking my heart.


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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