Is your dog behaving differently, and it’s not because she’s in heat? Could she possibly be pregnant? Identifying the early signs of pregnancy in dogs might be a bit challenging, but with the right knowledge, you can easily recognize them. Fortunately, we’ve explained everything you need to know in this article, “Symptoms of Early Pregnancy in Dogs: How to Know When a Dog is Pregnant”. We also discussed things like When Can a Dog get Pregnant? and How long does it take for a Dog’s Pregnancy to Show?. As well as How to take Care of a Pregnant Dog.
The happiness of having a new life isn’t only for people; it’s also for our dear dogs. It’s important to know the signs of early pregnancy in dogs to be a responsible pet owner. Dogs, like humans, go through specific changes when they’re pregnant, and understanding these signs is crucial for taking care of the expecting mother. This article will look into different signs to help you know when your dog is pregnant and explain why it’s important to provide proper care during this sensitive period.
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When Can a Dog get Pregnant?
Dogs can become pregnant when they’re in heat, which occurs about every eight months. This fertile period lasts for up to three weeks and is when they can get pregnant. During this time, your dog might have conflicts with male dogs if they aren’t ready to mate. Keeping them on a leash while walking can prevent scuffles, and if you don’t want them to mate, it helps avoid their romantic advances.
Pregnancy can be costly and emotional for both you and your dog. Thus, it’s often recommended to let experts handle breeding. If you want to prevent your dog from getting pregnant, getting them neutered is a good option. Check our page on neutering your dog for more details.
How long does it take for a Dog’s Pregnancy to Show?
A dog usually doesn’t visibly show she’s pregnant until around day 40 of pregnancy. At this point, her belly will start to get bigger and will keep expanding for about three weeks. The nipples will also get larger, and in the last week of pregnancy, they might start releasing milk.
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Symptoms of Early Pregnancy in Dogs
During the initial weeks of your dog’s pregnancy, it might be challenging to spot any changes in behavior or appearance. However, some signs may include vomiting or a reduced appetite. Generally, dogs are pregnant for about 62-64 days, but the specific duration can vary based on your dog’s breed and other factors. Look out for the following symptoms that may indicate your dog is pregnant in this post, “Symptoms of Early Pregnancy in Dogs: How to Know When a Dog is Pregnant”
One of the first things you might notice when your dog is pregnant is a change in how she acts. Every dog is different, but many pregnant dogs show differences in their mood and behavior. Some become more loving, seeking extra attention and cuddles. On the flip side, others may become more reserved and prefer being alone.
Restlessness and increased nesting behavior are also common signs. Pregnant dogs might start creating a comfy space by gathering blankets or digging in their bedding. This nesting instinct is natural and helps prepare for the arrival of the puppies.
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Changes in Appetite
Similar to human pregnancies, pregnant dogs often experience changes in their eating habits. In the early stages, a dog might eat less, leading to a small weight loss. However, as the pregnancy goes on, many dogs develop a bigger appetite to support the needs of the growing puppies.
Watching your dog’s eating habits is crucial during this time. It’s recommended to feed her high-quality, nutritious food designed for pregnant or nursing dogs to ensure she gets the right nutrients for her health and the health of the puppies.
Enlarged and Sensitive Mammary Glands
Around three weeks into the pregnancy, your dog’s nipples might undergo noticeable changes. They could become swollen and pink, and the area around them may get more sensitive. This indicates hormonal changes as the body gets ready for milk production. Gently feeling the mammary glands can help identify any changes in size or tenderness.
It’s important to be gentle and avoid putting too much pressure on the mammary glands, as excessive handling can make your pregnant dog uncomfortable. Regular monitoring, however, helps notice any unusual developments early on.
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Similar to human pregnancies, hormonal changes can affect your dog’s bladder, leading to more frequent urination. If you see your dog needing to go outside more often or having accidents indoors, it might be an early sign of pregnancy.
Giving your pregnant dog plenty of opportunities to relieve herself is crucial. Proper bathroom breaks help prevent discomfort and ensure a clean living environment for both your dog and her growing family.
Changes in Physical Appearance
As the pregnancy progresses, you’ll notice visible changes in your dog’s appearance. Her belly will start getting bigger, indicating the presence of developing puppies. The weight gain is gradual, and the expansion of the belly becomes more noticeable in the later stages of pregnancy.
Additionally, a pregnant dog might experience a change in the color of her vulva. It might appear more swollen and darker, another sign of hormonal changes linked to pregnancy.
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While observing these signs at home can give you important clues, the most dependable way to confirm pregnancy is by visiting the veterinarian. Veterinarians can perform various tests, including ultrasound and hormone level assessments, to accurately determine pregnancy.
Early veterinary care is crucial for monitoring the health of the pregnant dog and her developing puppies. The vet can offer advice on nutrition, exercise, and potential complications during pregnancy.
How to take Care of a Pregnant Dog
The first step if you think your dog might be pregnant is to call your vet. Around four weeks into the pregnancy, your veterinarian can perform an ultrasound to confirm if your dog is indeed expecting. By the 35th day, blood tests may also help determine pregnancy. Once confirmed, there are a few essential steps to keep your pregnant dog healthy. Keep reading this post on “Symptoms of Early Pregnancy in Dogs: How to Know When a Dog is Pregnant” to see them!
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Provide Proper Nutrition
Around four weeks into the pregnancy, switch your dog to a high-calorie diet that includes all the necessary nutrients for her health. Some dog food brands are specifically designed for pregnant dogs, and your vet can recommend the one that suits your dog best. Avoid feeding large breed puppy foods as they might lack essential nutrients like calcium and phosphorous crucial for a pregnant dog.
Since your pregnant dog won’t have as much space in her belly, it’s a good idea to feed her smaller meals more frequently. This ensures she gets the nutrition she needs without feeling too full.
Visit the Vet
Make sure to take your dog to the vet during her pregnancy to ensure she’s healthy and doesn’t have any conditions that could affect her puppies. A fecal exam, checking for intestinal parasites, is important. Avoid using over-the-counter dewormers, as they might be harmful to both your dog and her puppies. If the pregnancy is planned, ensure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and parasite prevention before she becomes pregnant.
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Create a Cozy Nest
As your dog’s pregnancy nears its end, provide a warm and comfortable nesting place away from excitement and other pets. Make sure there’s enough space for her to move around comfortably.
Isolation from Other Dogs
Keep your dog isolated from other pets three weeks before and after giving birth. This prevents the risk of her contracting the herpes virus, which might not be severe for adult dogs but can be life-threatening for puppies.
You can predict when your dog will give birth within the next 24 hours by checking her rectal temperature. When this time approaches, her temperature will drop below 100°F.
What to do when your Dog is in Labour
When your dog is about to give birth, she’ll experience mild contractions for 6-12 hours, making her a bit restless. During this time, she might wander around her nesting area, dig, pant, and even vomit. Afterward, stronger and more frequent contractions will follow, leading to the birth of the puppies.
Your dog will strain for about 10-15 minutes just before each puppy arrives. Usually, there should be a puppy every 45-60 minutes, but sometimes your dog might take a break and wait up to 4 hours between puppies. It’s normal for dogs to give birth to puppies either head or tail first – both are okay.
After each puppy is born, your dog will pass greenish-black colored masses called fetal membranes.
Keep a close eye on your dog, ensuring she doesn’t strain for more than an hour or take breaks longer than four hours. If this happens, it’s essential to take her to the vet right away.
Possible Complications your Dog might Experience during Labour
During your dog’s delivery, there can be complications. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to call your vet:
- If your dog’s rectal temperature dropped over 24 hours ago, and labor hasn’t started.
- When the mother seems very uncomfortable, or if she hasn’t delivered the first puppy two hours after contractions, especially if she passed green discharge.
- If more than 2 hours pass between delivering puppies, or if your dog has strong contractions for an hour without giving birth, or if the mother appears very tired.
- When your dog is trembling, collapsing, or shivering, these are signs of serious issues that could risk both the mother and the puppies.
- While it’s normal for dogs to release dark green or bloody fluid after the first puppy, if this happens before the first puppy, call the vet.
- If your dog shows no signs of delivering 64 days after her last mating.
- When all the placentas aren’t delivered.
- If the puppies aren’t nursing.
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In conclusion, recognizing the symptoms of early pregnancy in dogs is essential for responsible pet ownership. Being attentive to behavioral changes, appetite shifts, and physical transformations ensures that your dog receives the care she needs during this unique phase. Regular veterinary visits provide confirmation and professional guidance. Thus, contributing to a healthy and happy pregnancy journey for both your dog and her soon-to-arrive puppies. We have finally discussed “Symptoms of Early Pregnancy in Dogs: How to Know When a Dog is Pregnant”. Let us know in the comments if you found this helpful.