How do you know if your dog is pregnant? 6 Signs To Look Out For
Many owners plan for their dog to breed, and may even have been present during breeding. But sometimes, even the most responsible owners can accidentally fail to keep their dog confined when she is in heat, and breeding may have occurred without the owners knowing. It is worth knowing what the signs are that your dog is pregnant, so you can give her the support and attention she needs.
So how do you know if your dog is pregnant? Look for these signs:
Change in appetite
During the first few weeks of a pregnancy, some dogs will lose their appetite. You may find that she goes without food for a day. Don’t worry about this and don’t force her to eat. By all means you can make her food more appetising. Try adding some boiled beef mince and rice to her food. However, forcing her to eat is only going to stress her out, which is the last thing she would want during pregnancy. You only need to worry if she does not eat for more than 3 days. It’s also worth knowing that this dog version of morning sickness does not happen to all dogs. And some dogs will have the opposite symptom; increased appetite. You may find your dog wolfing down her food in record speed and then remaining near her bowl in the hope you will give her more food. Try not to over-feed her. It is best to feed your dog 2 – 3 times a day rather than one big feed as it will keep her satisfied all day as well as give her pups all the nutrition they need. Generally, what you are looking for is a change to your dog’s normal appetite, and this can be an increase or decrease in normal appetite when a dog is pregnant.
Change in behaviour
As with appetite, your dog’s behaviour can also change. She may became increasingly clingy, needing to be by your side at all time, and wanting to be petted. The polar opposite can also happen where she has the grumps, wants to spend time in her own company, and may even shun being touched. Again, look for changes. If your dog is naturally affectionate, and she suddenly hates being petted, she could be pregnant. If your dog is normally quite independent, and suddenly starts to follow you around everywhere, she could also be pregnant. It’s a change you need to look for.
Change in activity
Your normally lively and sprightly dog may suddenly become lethargic. During pregnancy, dogs, just like women, can feel exhausted due to their changing hormone levels. Don’t try to make her go for walks when she doesn’t want to. Trust that she will know what is best for her and her developing pups.
When not pregnant, the nipples on female dogs are usually small, with the areola generally flat. However, when a dog is pregnant, the nipples and areolas become enlarged slightly in preparation for milk production. This happens around 2 weeks after breeding, so it is a good early indicator that your dog is pregnant. Also, the colour of the nipples will also change, especially the ones closest to your dog’s back legs. When not pregnant, the nipples are either a slightly grey or light pink. When a dog is pregnant, however, her nipples will become a darker pink as they will have an increased blood flow. This all happens around 3-4 weeks after breeding. The breasts, themselves, will start to look swollen from about 40 days after breeding
Enlarged abdomen and body weight increase
From about 35 days after breeding, your dog’s body weight will increase, in some cases by over 50%. The abdomen is likely to be swollen too, although first time mums may not show as much as older dogs who have had litters previously.
Possible discharge from vulva
Some dogs will get a slight mucus discharge around a month or so after breeding. If you notice this, then this is a sign your dog could be pregnant.
How do you know your dog is pregnant definitely? Your dog could display some of the above symptoms, and not be pregnant. So if you want a definite answer, it’s worth going to your vet to get her checked out. She could be pregnant, or she could be ill with something else, so never delay in seeking a professional’s advice if you spot some of the above signs in your dog.