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Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs

After breeding your dog, you might wonder how to tell if your dog is pregnant or not. You may notice that your dog is a bit lazier, has a decreased appetite, and vomits. Yes, it's possible that these can be signs of pregnancy in dogs, but what are the tell-tale signs your dog is pregnant?

We know the excitement of trying to determine if your dog is pregnant, so you can either take her to the vet for a dog pregnancy test or watch out for these early signs of pregnancy in dogs. You may have puppies on the way! In this article, we will discuss the signs of pregnancy in dogs, ways to perform dog pregnancy tests, how long a dog is pregnant, and how to take care of a pregnant dog.

"One of the early signs of pregnancy in dogs is a change in the size and color of their nipples."

Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs

There are usually several signs your dog is pregnant that you can identify early and as the pregnancy progresses. Here are some great way how to tell if your dog is pregnant.

ENLARGED AND DISCOLORED NIPPLES

Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs, dog pregnancy test

One of the early signs of pregnancy in dogs is a change in the size and color of their nipples. Your female's nipples are normally small and pale pink in color. If your dog is pregnant, her nipples will grow a bit larger than usual and will turn light pink or darker red in color. It will also appear a bit rounder than flat.

These changes are a very good indicator of pregnancy in dogs as it signifies that the blood flow in your dog's nipples is increasing as milk glands are already developing to produce milk.

You will notice this early sign of dog pregnancy around two to three weeks after the breeding takes place. In the last weeks of pregnancy in your dog, her nipples may also leak milk, all ready to nurse her pups when they come out.

WEIGHT GAIN AND ENLARGED ABDOMEN

Puppies will continue to grow inside your female's tummy and so her abdomen will become bigger. If you see that she's gaining weight and her abdomen is enlarging, this can be one of the clearest signs that your furbaby is becoming a mama dog soon.

But also take note that an enlarged abdomen can appear a little bit later in your dog's pregnancy, rather than as one of the early signs of dog pregnancy. If you notice this sign together with the other signs mentioned, it's time to take her to the vet for an ultrasound and know how many grand pups you'll be having!

VAGINAL DISCHARGE

A vaginal discharge generally appears after about four to five weeks of pregnancy. However, it is quite possible to appear a bit earlier or later than that. According to Cuteness, a discharge throughout a dog's pregnancy is not unusual, so don't panic if your furbaby has some vaginal secretions. What is important is knowing the difference between normal discharge and one indicating trouble.

While vaginal discharge often occurs during a dog's pregnancy, it typically doesn't show until about four weeks gestation or even later, so it's not regarded as an early sign that your dog is expecting a litter. You should consult your vet right away if you see discharge before mid-pregnancy or early on, especially if you see heavy blood discharge and bloody mucus with a bad odor. These can be early signs of a possible miscarriage or of infection your furbaby may have acquired during pregnancy.

With normal discharge, you can manage messes simply with a comfortable Dog Diaper. These will allow your pregnant female to lay on all the comfortable spots without getting a vaginal discharge on your furniture or bed.

EXHAUSTION AND UNUSUAL BEHAVIOR

In the final stages of your furbaby's pregnancy, you'll notice that she'll appear a little bit lazier than usual if she's normally an active and free-spirited dog. She may also become irritable and will constantly be in an unpredictable mood. That's why it's best to limit her contact with other people and pets around. Keep in mind that during this stage, she is not feeling her best, so do not be harsh with any unwanted behavior.

NESTING BEHAVIORS

Dog pregnancy usually lasts between 61 and 65 days. If your furbaby is almost about to give birth, she will exhibit nesting behaviors as a preparation to whelp her litter.

According to Wag Walking, the nesting process starts with your furbaby trying to find a place that is quiet, dark, and away from the hustle and bustle of your home. Some dogs will pick a closet, while others may opt to be underneath a table or a chair. Once your dog has chosen the area that she feels she’s secure to safely deliver her puppies, she will then begin to fill it with items that will keep her puppies comfortable. These items will include her favorite toys, Gnawtlers®, or anything she likes to carry around.

Allow her to find a place where she's comfortable to give birth or provide a designated whelping box. Line the whelping box with Pawtect® Pads and cozy Pet Parents® Pawtect® Blankets to provide a comfortable place for her to deliver the puppies without having to worry about the extra mess. These will help keep the newborn puppies warm and dry while providing you with an easy machine wash afterward. Be aware that you could have more puppies on the way than you thought!

Dog Pregnancy Tests

How does a pregnancy test for dogs work? Do you need a dog pregnancy test if you suspect your female is pregnant? How can you perform a pregnancy test on a dog? Dog pregnancy tests are necessary if you think your female dog may be pregnant in order to ensure that you will be able to provide the ideal care for your pregnant dog. There are a few different ways to detect pregnancy in dogs and different forms of pregnancy tests for dogs.

Blood Dog Pregnancy Tests. Blood tests are a common method of dog pregnancy testing. This type of pregnancy test for dogs measures the levels of a hormone called relaxin. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, relaxin levels can reliably tell the difference between a pregnancy and a false pregnancy, also known as a pseudopregnancy. These dog pregnancy tests can be used as early as 22-27 days after breeding for accurate results.

Abdominal Ultrasounds. Using an abdominal ultrasound as pregnancy test for dogs is considered the most effective way to tell if your dog is pregnant. These can be used for accurate results as early as three weeks post breeding. Not only will this dog pregnancy test let you know if your dog is pregnant, it will also tell you the viability of puppy fetuses throughout the pregnancy in most cases.

At-Home Dog Pregnancy Tests. Unlike the first two options which will require a trip to your vet, some at-home dog pregnancy test options are now available, like Bellylabs Pregnancy Test for Dogs. These tests also measure relaxin levels, but use a different method of blood collection with a provided lancet and at-home test packet. Bellylabs recommends testing 28 days after ovulation, however, different testing kits may vary so be sure to read the directions on your specific kit if you use at-home testing. Dog pregnancy test kit prices may vary.

How Long is a Dog Pregnant?

How long are dogs pregnant? The length of a dog's pregnancy can depend on a few factors including size, breed, and the number of puppies in the litter. However, the general answer to how long is a dog pregnant would be 62-64 days. Generally, a dog gestation period will fall right around this length according to Merck Veterinary Manual.

As soon as you notice signs of pregnancy in dogs, note down the date in order to track the dog gestation period. When it becomes closer to the projected delivery date, take the rectal temperature of your female dog regularly. When you notice a drop in her temperature at the end of her pregnancy, it is a sign that she will most likely be going into labor within the next 8 to 24 hours. Although how long a dog may say pregnant for may not be predictable down to the day, this is a great way to be prepared for delivery of the new puppies.

Managing a Pregnant Dog

Keep her away from all that triggers her stress. If you know that your dog is stressed out with loud noises, other stray pets, new guests at home, then keep her away from all of that. It's best to give her a stress-free environment while pregnant to give her time to cope with the raging hormones and new responsibilities.

Visit your vet regularly. Your vet can perform an ultrasound on your dog to know how many pups she'll be giving birth to and when her due date is as well as monitor the health of the puppies throughout the pregnancy.

Exercise lightly. Make sure your dog gets exercise but also make sure it's not anything too tiring or strenuous. A little exercise can keep your furbaby's body toned and not prevent her from becoming overweight which can cause difficulties when giving birth.

Provide her with the best nutrition you can. Your furbaby will need all the nutrition she'll need for herself and her growing pups. You can provide her with Pet Parents® Multivitamin SoftSupps®to give her a boost in valuable vitamins. Your vet may also recommend additional specific vitamins or supplements during pregnancy.

Provide dog diapers. Your furbaby will have a bloody-mucus discharge after giving birth and that is called lochia. She will be having lochia for as long as 3 to 4 weeks from delivery. For this, it's best to let her wear Pet Parents® Dog Diapers to prevent lochia from dirtying her whelping area and to prevent the pups from bathing on her discharge. Dog diapers are also helpful in case mama dog feels the urge to pee but doesn't want to leave her litter.

It takes a lot of time, care and effort to take care of a pregnant dog. Identify the early signs of dog pregnancy and know which signs of dog pregnancy to look for if you are breeding your female dog. By being able to identify the early signs of pregnancy in dogs and knowing what to do for a pregnant dog, you’ll be able to navigate a successful and healthy dog pregnancy. From dog pregnancy tests to knowing dog pregnancy symptoms, it takes a lot of knowledge and dedication to deliver a healthy litter. But, isn't it amazing to think that you're about to see your grand pups? By then, life will become a whole lot happier for your growing furry family.

Pet Parents® Dog Diapers prevent lochia from dirtying her whelping area and to prevent the pups from bathing on her discharge.