Just hearing the word puppies can make anyone’s day brighter. And it can be super exciting to welcome new puppies into the world and to your home. However, pregnancy and taking care of a pregnant dog can happen unexpectedly and also be a big new responsibility for everyone in the household.
The major question that needs to be answered first is, “How do I tell if my dog is pregnant?” Do I look for signs of weight gain and a swollen underbelly? Will my dog be eating much more and more often?
Symptoms like weight gain, increased appetite, fatigue, irritability, and vomiting can all be signs that your dog might be pregnant. In the informative article below, we will talk about how to tell if your dog is pregnant and answer other important questions you might be asking yourself.
Has Your Unspayed Dog Been Around A Male?
Most dogs love socializing with one another and spending the day in their favorite dog park or doggy daycare. So for starters, If your dog is spayed already, you can be quite sure, you aren’t with an unexpected pregnancy.
However, if your new canine companion hasn’t gotten the chance to be spayed or you have an unspayed dog at home. The first place to investigate is if your dog has been around an intact male unsupervised where reproduction can occur.
How Early Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Pregnant?
The important fact to know, dogs don’t generally show signs of pregnancy until about 40 days of gestation. That’s more than half of the gestation period! Based on statistics, generally, most canines begin to show signs of pregnancy around the second or third week.
Signs Your Dog May Be Pregnant
Here are some sure signs your dog might be pregnant, and you might be expecting and needing to prepare for puppies soon.
Changes in appetite
When a dog is in the first weeks of pregnancy, it can be hard to notice any differences or changes in their diet. However, a dog that suddenly changes its appetite, whether eating more or less than normal, might be a sign of pregnancy and a tell to take them to a vet.
In the first few weeks of gestation, a dog might actually eat less than usual on account of nausea. As the pregnancy advances, the dog might eat way more (for the growing litter inside).
It’s important if your dog is pregnant, that you talk to their vet regarding how to cater to their nutritional needs during this special time. Healthy calories can benefit both the expecting mother and the developing puppies and you may need to increase their food intake.
Quick weight gain is one of the first signs of pregnancy that owners tend to notice in their dogs. Your dog’s stomach and waist will naturally enlarge as the litter grows. This weight gain is necessary and very typical, because the growing pups need extra space and nutrients to flourish.
Typically, gained weight in pregnant canines will start showing in between the second or third week of pregnancy. Their bellies and midsection might seem more bulgy and even firm to the touch. Their nipples and mammary glands will also start to swell in size.
Did you know? Sometimes in the last few weeks of pregnancy, you might actually be able to feel the puppies growing inside, when touching the mother’s belly!
You might notice behavioral changes in your dog. These signs can be noticed only days after mating occurs. These behaviors can appear in several different ways. However many dogs develop a sudden increased desire for affection. A newly pregnant dog may become highly attached to you, almost clingy, or show unusual signs of separation anxiety.
An expecting mother may experience what is referred to as nesting behavior, especially toward the very end of the pregnancy. This can be seen in new behaviors such as setting up a comfortable location for her babies to be born, excessive digging, carrying around toys or making piles, and even hiding away chews and food.
This isn’t necessarily so, but your pregnant pooch might become more irritable soon after mating and throughout the course of her pregnancy. Just keep a close eye out, for any abrupt behavioral changes in your dog. In actuality, they could be a sign of many different things, one being that you may have puppies soon.
Lesser known fact, hair loss around the nipples may occur in the last week or two of your dog’s pregnancy. Dogs may start to lose hair around this area, as lactation begins, to help aid in the puppy’s multiple daily feeding cycles.
As in humans, decreased energy is a normal sign for any expecting mother. Whether due to emotions, weight gain, or hormone levels, a new mother can seem more weary and lethargic during the day. She can tire more easily or appear to have less interest in their normal daily activities.
So look out for a dog who doesn’t want to fetch anymore or a high-energy pup that is taking way more naps than usual. These can all be signs of a pregnant dog and are only a few of the changes that can occur in your dog’s energy levels.
Nausea and vomiting can also be symptoms of an expecting dog mom a.k.a. “Morning sickness”. Commonly these will occur during the first initial days and weeks of them becoming pregnant.
Important to note however, not all dogs experience nausea or vomiting while pregnant, and this symptom can actually be caused by many other medical issues. If you have a dog who is sick and uncontrollably vomiting, it is always best to not guess, and take them to their veterinary office as soon as possible for a check-up.
What To Do If You Think Your Dog Is Pregnant
First and foremost, if you think your dog might be pregnant, go ahead and call your pet’s health professional. After roughly four weeks, the vet can perform an ultrasound to confirm if the pregnancy is true. After more than 30 days plus, they can also take recommended blood tests to confirm and check your dog’s overall health.
Some people even test at home for early detection before they take their dog to the vet. Today, home pregnancy tests for canines can be purchased online and used before a doctor administers one. These tests specifically designed for dogs can be performed as early as 22 days after conception, as the hormones develop and change.
However, at-home tests might not be as reliable as other methods, so you will want to check with your vet even if you take an at-home test with your dog.
Can You Use A Human Pregnancy Test On A Dog?
No, Pregnancy tests for humans are NOT effective when used on dogs. This is because these specific pregnancy tests only test for a human-only hormone called HCG ( or human chorionic gonadotropin), which is not produced by our fellow furry friends.
How To Prevent Dog Pregnancies
The biggest bet in preventing dog pregnancy is by doing so permanently, which is by spaying. There are places in your local area that may help with these types of services, some even for free or at a discount.
For your unspayed dog in heat, it is mainly important to keep them separate from unfixed male dogs in general. Always keep a close eye when they have to be around other dogs, although it is best to keep her secure in a separate area with food and water available.
Now that we know some of the signs and precursors of dog pregnancy. Is your dog expecting? After seeing the signs that your dog might be pregnant, confirming with the appropriate testing, and seeing the vet. You will have an approximate 63-day gestational period before the puppies are here! Pregnancy can be Ruff! So don’t forget to catch up on how to prepare for the birth of the new litter and care for your pet!