If you own a female dog, you may be seeking to breed for a new litter to grow your puppy family. Or, your dog was in heat, and you forgot about that for a quick minute. You may start wondering how to tell if your dog is pregnant.
How Long Is Dog Pregnancy?
Before we get into the signs of pregnancy, there is something you should know:
Your dog’s pregnancy will last only for about 63 days.
Considering that the early signs will start showing only at the beginning at the third week of gestation, you won’t have enough time to adjust then. Therefore, knowing what to do and what to expect during a dog’s pregnancy is necessary.
Here’s an article from DogsAholic on the stages of dog pregnancy.
How to Tell if Your Dog Is Pregnant?
Just like humans, a female dog shows signs of pregnancy before even visiting the experts for the first time. However, unlike humans, there is no way for your dog to pick up a pregnancy test and leave it in the kitchen as a surprise for you.
So what signs to look for? Here is your answer.
28 Days After Mating
I am assuming here that you know when your bitch was bred; therefore, you should be aware when to go for a check-up. At the end of first of pregnancy, you can see and feel the puppies after your vet confirms the pregnancy.
They can either perform an abdominal palpation or do an ultrasound in the fourth and fifth week of pregnancy. If the dog is actually pregnant, the vet can safely assume the number of puppies to expect from the new litter.
You should ask questions about nutrition and care for the pregnant dog. However, please refrain from asking questions about the litter until the second visit, a few days before the dog’s whelping.
Check out this article on reproduction in dogs from VetWest, and watch the video down below that stages of pregnancy week by week.
Early Dog Pregnancy Signs
If you have forgotten that your dog was in heat for a second and you are afraid that she might have mated with another male dog, it is good to know the few early telltale signs of dog pregnancy.
These may only indicate that your dog is pregnant, but that she may be in distress or worse. Therefore, let’s hope that she is only pregnant.
Change in Appetite
Dog breeds react differently to pregnancy. That’s why it is not sure whether this sign would help you much. However, keeping an eye on your female dog’s appetite is necessary.
In the early stages of pregnancy, some breeds’ appetite decreases as they don’t eat as much food as they usually do. However, that only lasts for a few days. Their appetite increases relatively and steadily especially in the second month of pregnancy.
Some other breeds tend to eat a little bit more from the get go. They will show a slight weight gain, especially if you have the habit of picking them up. BTW, you should stop that if your dog is pregnant.
Your dog’s energy won’t change overnight. However, the bitch will have less and less energy as the days go by. It won’t be noticeable the first week or two, but at the start of the third week, she won’t have the same usual levels of energy for exercise and activity.
If you notice that your female dog gets tired sooner than usual, it may be a sign of many health problems, and pregnancy is the best answer you’d want to hear. Taking the dog to the vet is the best way to ensure that she is healthy and the litter is safe too.
Much like humans, female dogs have visible body changes when they are pregnant.
Although the first two weeks may show no signs, the third week will be eventful. Your dog’s nipple starts to take a brighter pink and grow bigger than usual. Her belly will slowly get bigger, too, as the puppies grow inside of her.
These body changes are common for pregnant dogs and are a sign of pregnancy. However, they may be accompanied with some other health issues. Therefore, a trip to the vet is the best way to be sure.
Bitches start to vomit in the fourth week of pregnancy due to the change of hormones.
Usually, she will vomit for a few days (3 maximum), she will lose her appetite too, but she will soon regain all that as the second month of pregnancy starts.
Nevertheless, if your dog’s vomiting seems excessive or too bothersome for your dog, please take her to the vet as soon as possible. We, including you, may guess that she is pregnant, but the vet will tell for sure.
In accordance with a decrease in energy and activity levels, some behavioral changes will inevitably occur. However, these are entirely up to the dog and her instincts.
Some dogs have a tendency to be more dependent on their owners. Therefore, they show more affection and ask for more attention when they are pregnant. Although they are not as much active, they will try their best to keep their owners as close as possible.
Some other dogs will push everyone away and stay alone. That instinct is a pure motherly instinct that shows how protective the female dog. If that happens, it is best to stay at a safe distance that the dog allows. If there is any way to help provide comfort for her, please do.
Your dog will likely deal with giving birth to the litter on her own without any help. Most dogs can do it without any complications. However, that does not mean that you should not be ready for the worse.
Here is a great article about whelping from PetEducation. Also, down below is a quick checklist for what you need to do on the whelping day. Watch this video to know how to build a whelping box.
A Checklist for What You Should Do When Your Dog Is Whelping
- Build a Whelping box one month before the due day.
- Make the dog feel comfortable in the whelping box.
- Have the vet and the emergency phone numbers close by.
- Bring clean towels, Iodine, a thread or dental floss.
- Have small food scale to weigh the puppies.
- Call the vet to schedule a visit to check on both the mother and her litter.
So, what do you think? Is your dog pregnant? Do you know what to do if your dog is ever pregnant? Do you have a pregnant dog? Let’s us know in the comments down below.
If you have any questions, ask away. We’ll answer them as soon as we can.