This is a question that more than 4968 of our readers have been asking us! Luckily, we have found the most appropriate information for you!
Could puppies be in your pet’s future? Dogs are pregnant for about 63 days, which is measured from the day that they ovulate (release their eggs) to the day that their puppies are born. Like people, dogs are pregnant for three trimesters, each about 21 days long.
Your vet can answer any questions you may have, such as the type of food pregnant dogs should eat and what changes you should expect. They will be spaced out evenly along the uterus, which is shaped kind of like the letter V. Each half, called a horn, will have embryos in it. Sometimes vets take X-rays during this visit to find out how many puppies are on the way and make sure they are not too big to pass through the birth canal. American Kennel Club: “AKC Breeder: Timing Is Everything: Breeding Strategies and the Estrous Cycle.” Michigan State University Veterinary Medical Center: “Care and Feeding for Your Pregnant or Nursing Dog.”
How soon can you tell if a dog is pregnant?
Dog pregnancy diagnosis. Your vet can confirm a pregnancy with either a dog pregnancy test, which measures her hormone levels, from days 21-25 of her term, or by ultrasound from day 20-22. From around day 30 your vet will be able to carry out a physical examination to count how many puppies your dog is having.
Can you use a home pregnancy test on a dog?
No, human pregnancy tests do not work for canines. This is due to a hormonal pregnancy marker found only in humans. When humans are pregnant, they produce a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG). It can be detected at home by using urine as a pregnancy marker.
Do you have babies on the brain? We’re referring to the fluffy, cuddly, puppy kind that squeak when hungry and make your cold heart melt in an instant.
If you think your dog may be with child, or, er, multiple canines, there are signs to look out for much like there are with human pregnancies, including unpleasantries like vomiting and fatigue. The dog gestation period lasts between 61 and 65 days, and since there are no at-home pregnancy tests for curious canine owners like us, your vet will definitely be your best point of contact during this exciting time. Thankfully, this usually resolves on its own within a week, but beware: “If she will not eat at all, or if the signs persist longer than this, she should be seen by your veterinarian to be sure nothing more serious is happening,” Romine says. “Pregnant dogs can become tired in the first few weeks, around the same time that they sometimes show signs of nausea similar to human morning sickness,” Romine says. The good news is that after this fatigue passes, “they usually have a mostly normal energy level until the end of pregnancy, when they have gained a significant amount of weight and need to rest more,” she says. “About one month after mating, she may develop a small amount of mucus from her vulva, and about this time, you may also observe her teats enlarging and becoming more pink,” Romine says. This happens with humans, too — you know, like the sudden need to clean a house from top to bottom days before a new family member arrives. “Just prior to entering labor, many dogs will exhibit ‘nesting’ behaviors, which can include withdrawing and looking for a quiet, safe place that is protected and hidden, wanting to ensure blankets are comfortably arranged,” she says. “During this period, you will want to be sure she has access to such a spot, at room temperature so she doesn’t get hot and the puppies don’t get cold, and being sure she can feel relaxed and hidden from too much activity or exposure.”
Have you noticed your dog acting a bit lazier than usual, or perhaps eating less of her evening meals? These can be signs of pregnancy, and if she otherwise seems healthy and happy, you may have puppies on the way!
Some of these symptoms can also be signs of illness, so it’s important to have any marked change in appearance, appetite, or activity level checked out. Early or midway into the pregnancy, she may eat less or even vomit occasionally (the canine equivalent of morning sickness). You may also notice your dog’s nipples turning a slightly darker red than normal, which would indicate an increase in blood flow. However, enlarging of the abdomen occurs relatively late into your dog’s pregnancy, meaning that if you notice this sign, along with others, it’s time to take her to the vet.
As a dog owner you probably understand that life with your furriest family member comes with its fair share of surprises. One of the biggest may be discovering that your dog is carrying a litter of puppies. And you may be wondering how to tell if your dog is pregnant, what are the signs? It’s not always easy to tell if your dog is pregnant, so let’s review how to diagnose a canine pregnancy and help your dog through the process.
Here at the CCSPCA we strongly recommend that all dogs be spayed or neutered because it’s a surefire way to avoid an unexpected litter of puppies. This period of fertility may last up to 3 weeks and during this time she will undoubtedly be attracting the attention of any males in close proximity. It’s a good idea to get to know the signs of a pregnant female so you can prepare for the changes a litter of puppies will introduce into your life. Some people like to build a whelping box in order to keep the puppies safe and contained during birth and early life. Fortunately nature has programmed your dog with that information and she will instinctively do most of the hard work without you having to lift a finger. After the labor is over be sure to change the bedding where your dog and her puppies will live regularly and keep her well fed and hydrated. You may want to keep one but you’ll likely need to adopt them out to a loving home with a responsible caretaker: one who agrees to regular vaccinations and to spay/neuter the puppy as soon as it reaches the recommended age.
In the first few weeks, there are very few outward signs, so you may not notice a change. Your dog will seem like their normal self, although they may gain some weight.Morning sickness affects some dogs, but only for a few days during the 3rd or 4th week. (It’s caused by hormone changes.) Your pet may seem tired, and they may eat less than usual. Some dogs throw up a little. If yours does, offer them small meals over the course of the day.
See Your Vet
If you think your dog is pregnant, take them to your vet. It’s a good idea to take them for a prenatal checkup 2 or 3 weeks after they have mated. Your vet can answer any questions you may have, such as the type of food pregnant dogs should eat and what changes you should expect. If your pet needs any tests, your vet will let you know. If they have parasites, your vet will treat them.During your visit, your vet can use ultrasound to see the growing puppies, typically around 4 weeks in. Ultrasound is safe during pregnancy. It uses sound waves to create an image of your dog’s womb.The vet may give your dog a blood test to check their hormone levels. Dogs have higher levels of a hormone called relaxin when they’re pregnant.If you don’t take your dog to the vet until their 4th week of pregnancy, the doctor can feel your dog’s belly to confirm puppies are on the way. This method can only be used between the 28th and 35th days of pregnancy, and it should be done by someone who is trained. If you touch too roughly, you can harm the growing puppies or cause a miscarriage. The puppies will be the size of walnuts. They will be spaced out evenly along the uterus, which is shaped kind of like the letter V. Each half, called a horn, will have embryos in it.
In the early days of pregnancy everything may be business as usual, and there may or may not be any physical signs you can detect until your pup is over the halfway mark. It’s good to know, however, that sickness may occur.“About three weeks after she has become pregnant, a female dog may start to show some mild stomach upset, a drop in her appetite and sometimes even vomiting,” she says. “This is similar to human morning sickness and occurs because of hormonal swings.”Thankfully, this usually resolves on its own within a week, but beware: “If she will not eat at all, or if the signs persist longer than this, she should be seen by your veterinarian to be sure nothing more serious is happening,” Romine says.
An expectant mother dog may not be her usual energetic self.“Pregnant dogs can become tired in the first few weeks, around the same time that they sometimes show signs of nausea similar to human morning sickness,” Romine says.The good news is that after this fatigue passes, “they usually have a mostly normal energy level until the end of pregnancy, when they have gained a significant amount of weight and need to rest more,” she says.Looking ahead, another sign that labor may be starting is that she becomes restless rather than tired. Hey, can you blame her for wanting this thing called pregnancy to be over?
3. Teats enlarging
You may notice some subtle changes to your dog’s body as it prepares for the blessed event.“About one month after mating, she may develop a small amount of mucus from her vulva, and about this time, you may also observe her teats enlarging and becoming more pink,” Romine says. “Sometimes there is also a small amount of liquid produced, which is normal.”
4. Weight gain
Whether human or canine, it’s normal to put on pounds during pregnancy. But it’s important not to go overboard with food should you suspect a pregnancy. (More about that in the next section).“Weight gain is not seen until about seven weeks, and from there until birth, her weight may increase up to 50 percent above her normal weight,” Romine says.But the size of the mama’s growing belly can depend on a few factors.“Typically it takes about 40 days to notice that her abdomen is bigger than normal, and it can be less noticeable in first-time mothers and if the litter size is small,” she says.
5. Increased appetite
Carrying cuties requires certain things, like extra calories. But not too many. “Her appetite will usually increase after about the halfway mark, and so will her caloric needs,” says Romine. “No increase in food is needed until the halfway mark, and encouraging weight gain in the first 30 days or so can actually negatively affect the health of the pregnancy, so it is recommended to continue feeding her normal amounts of a normal adult well-balanced diet.”When a vet has confirmed pregnancy and you’ve reached the halfway mark, discuss with your vet how to gradually transition to a diet of dog food that is approved for “All Life Stages,” because it provides extra nutrition.“The recommendation is usually to slowly increase, by about 25% per week, the amount [of that food], over the last four weeks of the pregnancy,” she says, adding that it’s important not to overdo it. “These diets have the appropriate minerals and vitamins, so it is not recommended to provide extra, especially calcium. Giving extra calcium while on an appropriate growth/lactation diet will suppress her own natural calcium releasing hormones, which can actually lead to low calcium when she starts to nurse.”
1. Decreased Activity
If your dog easily becomes exhausted or is spending more time napping, it may indicate that she is pregnant. For dogs that are typically energetic, this decrease should be taken seriously. For dogs that already enjoy snoozing all day, it may be harder to notice a decrease in energy. If that’s the case, try paying closer attention to how quickly she tires during walks.
2. Changes in Appetite
A pregnant dog’s appetite can fluctuate in different ways, depending on the dog and the stage of her pregnancy. Early or midway into the pregnancy, she may eat less or even vomit occasionally (the canine equivalent of morning sickness). However, she may also eat more than usual and be dissatisfied with her meals. These fluctuations correspond with your dog’s changing hormones. Click here to learn more about feeding a pregnant dog.
3. Unusual Behavior
If your dog is pregnant, you may notice certain changes in her behavior. For instance, she may seek the comfort of her owner more often. A pregnant dog might spend more time at your side, looking for extra attention. On the other hand, a pregnant dog may seek isolation and not wish to be bothered; she may seem depressed or even irritable when given attention.
4. Enlarged or Discolored Nipples
While a female dog’s nipples are normally small, pregnancy causes her nipples to grow in size during the early stages of pregnancy. The areolas also become somewhat rounded compared to their usual flatness. You may also notice your dog’s nipples turning a slightly darker red than normal, which would indicate an increase in blood flow. Later into the pregnancy, her nipples may occasionally leak milk, as well.
5. Weight Gain and Enlarged Abdomen
As the puppies grow, your dog’s abdomen will expand in size. This can be one of the clearest indicators of a dog’s pregnancy, especially if your dog has no other reason for sudden weight gain. However, enlarging of the abdomen occurs relatively late into your dog’s pregnancy, meaning that if you notice this sign, along with others, it’s time to take her to the vet.
How to Avoid Dog Pregnancy
Here at the CCSPCA we strongly recommend that all dogs be spayed or neutered because it’s a surefire way to avoid an unexpected litter of puppies. It’s also better for your dog’s health and typically improves the temperament of aggressive or otherwise unruly canines. However, your dog may not be spayed yet and there are several ways to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.You may find that her heat period is quite messy so a dog diaper can be used both to keep the inside of your home clean and as a deterrent against male dogs during your time outdoors. Just be sure to remove it often to let her urinate and defecate.If you need to spay your pet, we have many affordable options available. View our pricing and spay and neuter services.
How Can You Know for Sure?
Learning how to tell if your dog is pregnant is similar to learning to tell if a human is pregnant, as they share many of the same symptoms.
How Long are Dogs Pregnant?
What to Do When it’s Time to Deliver
Simply being present will allow you to soothe her along the way. Gentle petting before the puppies begin to arrive and soothing words will help her feel more at ease. It will also allow for you to step in should any complications arise. If you notice her straining without producing any pups or see a discolored discharge, you should contact your vet immediately.She will naturally look for a quiet, warm, and comfortable place to give birth. You can help her by making a cozy nest for her with old blankets and towels and by keeping the activity in your home to a minimum during her labor.Some people like to build a whelping box in order to keep the puppies safe and contained during birth and early life. Your dog may also feel more secure if she is able to seclude herself in such a box.
What to Do with Newborn Puppies?
There is a lot to know about raising puppies. Fortunately nature has programmed your dog with that information and she will instinctively do most of the hard work without you having to lift a finger. Your job is to oversee the whole operation and step in if you notice a problem. You may need to break a puppy out of its amniotic sack or prevent your dog from crushing or suffocating them during and after labor.After the labor is over be sure to change the bedding where your dog and her puppies will live regularly and keep her well fed and hydrated. You may need to help a runt or two to feed as the litter will typically have a few food hogs that push the smaller pups out of the way.