Do you suspect your dog might be pregnant? It’s essential to identify the early signs of pregnancy in your pet to ensure she receives proper care and support during this crucial time.
In this article, we’ll discuss the common signs of pregnancy in dogs, how to confirm pregnancy, the different stages of dog pregnancy, and how to care for your pregnant dog.
A dog’s pregnancy typically lasts around 63 days, with some variation between 58 and 68 days. Your vet can help determine the stage of your dog’s pregnancy through an ultrasound or by tracking the physical and behavioural changes.
Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs
During the early stages of pregnancy, you may notice some changes in your dog’s behaviour.
She may become more affectionate, seeking extra attention and cuddles, or she may become more aloof and prefer to spend time alone.
Additionally, pregnant dogs may show increased nesting behaviour as they prepare for the arrival of their puppies.
There are several physical signs that can indicate pregnancy in dogs, including:
Swollen or enlarged nipples: As early as two weeks into the pregnancy, your dog’s nipples may become enlarged and darker in colour.
Weight gain: Starting around week four, your dog may begin to gain weight, particularly around the belly.
Increased appetite: Your dog’s appetite may increase to support the growing puppies.
Vaginal discharge: Towards the end of the pregnancy, you may notice a clear or slightly milky discharge from your dog’s vulva.
Confirming Pregnancy in Dogs
If you suspect your dog is pregnant, it’s essential to schedule a visit to the vet for a professional assessment.
Your vet can perform several tests to confirm pregnancy and ensure your dog’s health.
An ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that can detect pregnancy as early as three weeks after breeding.
This imaging technique allows your vet to visualise the developing puppies and monitor their growth and development.
Relaxin Blood Test
Another way to confirm pregnancy in dogs is through a relaxin blood test.
Relaxin is a hormone produced by the placenta, and its presence in your dog’s blood is a strong indicator of pregnancy.
This test can be done as early as 21 days after breeding.
Stages of Dog Pregnancy
Stage 1: Weeks 1-3
During the first three weeks of pregnancy, you may not notice many physical changes in your dog.
However, some dogs may experience morning sickness, leading to a decreased appetite and occasional vomiting.
Make sure to provide your dog with a comfortable and quiet environment during this time.
Stage 2: Weeks 4-6
As the pregnancy progresses, your dog’s belly will start to enlarge, and her nipples will become more prominent.
She may also exhibit increased appetite and need to urinate more frequently. It’s crucial to provide your dog with a nutritious diet and maintain a consistent routine during this stage.
Stage 3: Weeks 7-9
In the final weeks of pregnancy, your dog’s belly will continue to grow, and she may become less active.
She may also start looking for a comfortable place to give birth, known as a whelping box or area.
Keep an eye on your dog and provide any necessary support as she prepares for the arrival of her puppies.
Caring for a Pregnant Dog
Diet and Nutrition
Proper nutrition is vital during pregnancy, as your dog needs extra energy and nutrients to support her growing puppies.
Consult your vet about the best diet for your pregnant dog, which may include a gradual switch to a high-quality puppy food.
You may need to increase her food intake by 25-50% during the latter half of her pregnancy.
While it’s essential to maintain your dog’s regular exercise routine during pregnancy, be careful not to overdo it.
Low-impact activities, such as leisurely walks, are ideal.
As your dog’s belly grows, she may become more prone to injury or discomfort, so adjust her exercise routine accordingly and consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure.
Preparing for Whelping
As your dog approaches her due date, start preparing a comfortable, safe, and quiet area for her to give birth.
This can be a whelping box or a designated space in your home. Line the area with soft bedding, and make sure it’s easily accessible for both you and your dog.
Conclusion and final thoughts
Identifying and supporting your dog during her pregnancy is crucial for her health and the wellbeing of her puppies.
By understanding the signs of pregnancy, confirming it with your veterinarian, and providing the proper care throughout her pregnancy, you’ll be well-prepared to welcome the newest additions to your family.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does a dog’s pregnancy last?
A dog’s pregnancy typically lasts around 63 days, but it can vary between 58 and 68 days.
How can I tell how far along my dog’s pregnancy is?
Your veterinarian can help determine the stage of your dog’s pregnancy through an ultrasound or by tracking the physical and behavioural changes.
Can I give my pregnant dog supplements?
Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any supplements during her pregnancy.
Some supplements may be beneficial, while others may be harmful.
When should I take my pregnant dog to the veterinarian?
If you suspect your dog is pregnant, schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Regular check-ups throughout the pregnancy will help ensure the health of both your dog and her puppies.
Last update on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API