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How to Tell If Your Dog is Pregnant – The Early Signs, and What to Do if She is

Sure, we all know that a protruding belly and certain behavioral changes are indicative of a pregnant dog, but are you aware of all the signs that point to this? Whether you are intentionally breeding your dog or accidentally let her out of your sight during heat and are concerned she may have come in contact with a male dog, it is important to learn how to tell if your dog is pregnant right from the get-go.

In addition to being aware of the early signs of pregnancy, it is also a good idea to educate yourself on how to care for your pregnant pup, should you determine that is the case. From a healthy diet to moderate exercise and plenty of rest, there are a handful of things you can do to make sure the pregnancy is a smooth one.

Before we dive into the signs of pregnancy, it is important to bear in mind that a female dog’s gestation period is only about two months, and most dogs are pregnant from between 58 and 66 days. Because the pregnancy term is so short, it can be easy for owners to miss some of the early signs of pregnancy. This is why we encourage you to pay attention to your dog’s habits, behavioral patterns and physical attributes. In doing so, you will have a much better chance of catching the pregnancy early, and in turn providing your pregnant dog with the care she deserves.

Early Signs of Dog Pregnancy

Below you will find some of the early signs that indicate your dog is pregnant. If you have any questions about this information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Decreased appetite. This is one of the first signs that your dog may be pregnant. Some dogs eat less during the first couple of weeks of gestation, an act they will usually make up for later in the pregnancy.
  • Increased appetite. Similarly to humans and alternatively to the aforementioned lack of appetite, many pregnant dogs experience an increase in their appetite almost as soon as they become pregnant.
  • Decrease in energy. It is normal for pregnant dogs to become a little less energetic or rambunctious. Again, similarly to women, pregnant dogs may experience feelings of exhaustion and a change in hormones.
  • Swollen nipples. This is one of the easiest signs of pregnancy to spot. If you notice the nipples of an unbred female, you will see that they are typically quite small and the area around them is flat. As soon as a dog becomes pregnant, the area beneath the nipple will begin to develop and the nipples will appear swollen, as the body is getting ready for eventual milk production.
  • Change in nipple color. When a dog becomes pregnant you will also notice a change in the color of the nipples, especially the ones closest to the dog’s hind legs. They usually look pinker and more flushed than normal during the pregnancy term.
  • Behavioral changes. The majority of dogs who become pregnant display some sort of behavioral changes, such as excessive owner dependence and becoming more affectionate than normal. On the other hand, many pregnant dogs prefer to be left alone and may even appear grumpy and depressed.

An Owner’s Role

If you suspect your dog is pregnant, it is important that you take the proper steps to ensure she is properly cared for throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Here is a look at what you can do if your dog is pregnant:

  • Taker her to the vet right away to make sure she is pregnant, not ill.
  • Ask your vet about nutrition and what you can do to offer the best nutrition possible.
  • Make sure she gets moderate exercise, but not too much.
  • Create a comfortable area for her to rest that is both supportive, easy to access and nurturing to her body as it changes.
  • Eliminate household stresses to the best of your ability.
  • Prepare a box that she can use when she has her litter.

To better prepare yourself for your dog to be pregnant, please feel free to contact our veterinary clinic with any questions. We are also happy to provide your pregnant pup with ultrasound services so that we can help you stay on course with keeping her healthy, as well as keep an eye out on her future litter. We are here for you and your pup, no matter what you need.

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