5 Common & Reliable Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs

Nothing is as exciting as welcoming life into the world, especially if that concerns a litter of newborn puppies. Unlike us humans, there isn’t a simple option, like an over-the-counter pregnancy kit, to test whether a dog is pregnant. Here are some common behavioral signs and health symptoms that you can look out for instead to determine whether a dog is pregnant.

1. A Change in Appetite

A change in appetite is a common sign of a pregnant dog. The appetite level will fluctuate depending on the stage of pregnancy. For example, a dog in the early stages of pregnancy may eat less than usual or vomit occasionally (this could be seen as the dog equivalent of morning sickness). Over time, the appetite may increase towards the end of pregnancy.

An optimal balance of nutrition plays an important role in the health of the mother and the newborn puppies. You need to pay special attention to the mother dog’s diet and ensure she is getting the right level of nutrients. The dog should also not be losing any weight throughout the pregnancy.

2. The Nipples Become Enlarged

One visual and fairly reliable sign to look for is the size of the dog’s nipples. During pregnancy, a female dog’s nipples will become larger and may also go through a change in color (you may notice a more pinkish appearance). However, do note that enlarged nipples aren’t a 100% sign that your dog is pregnant. There are other factors that may also cause this condition as well.

3. Lethargic or Inactive Behavior

The female dog will go through a lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy, which may cause her to become less energetic as she adjusts to the internal body changes. She will spend more time napping and will feel mor exhausted during walks. Once the pregnancy is confirmed, you should adjust the dog’s exercise to an appropriate level so that more stress isn’t being put on the body.

4. Your Dog is Showing Nesting Behaviors

In the latter stages of pregnancy, the mother dog may start to show some nesting behavior. She may start to pick up household materials, such as paper and cloth, in order to build a nest. Most of this may occur in a secluded area of the house.

It’s strongly recommended that you support the female dog in this process by building a whelping box for her in preparation for the newborn puppies. The whelping area serves a number of purposes such as providing newborn puppies enough warmth, and containing them in a safe area. A heating pad will also be an excellent addition to the whelping box.

5. Dog is Leaking Vaginal Discharge

A moderate amount of clear discharge is considered fairly normal for dogs, especially towards the end of pregnancy. The increase in hormone levels causes an increase in vaginal lubrication, which would be the discharge you see from the dog. There isn’t any major reason for concern unless the discharge has an unusual color, such as a milky or creamy appearance.

If you have the slightest of suspicions that your female dog is pregnant then we would strongly suggest to take her to the vet for checkup. A prenatal checkup will allow you to check the health of your dog as well as receive any necessary care tips from the veterinarian.

Common Questions About Dog Pregnancies

Here are some common questions that dog owners ask about managing dog pregnancies.

Are Pregnant Dogs More Thirsty?

Yes, part of the change in appetite level may also include a dog’s level of thirst. They may start to consume more water than usual, especially during the phase when they act lethargic. We would recommend placing a water bowl close to the female dog so she has quick access to drinking water.

Can I Walk my Dog While Pregnant?

Yes, you should still give your pregnant dog regular walks but definitely on the shorter side. Regular walks will give your dog strength and make her more capable of handling labor. Aim to give her short but frequent (three or five) walks throughout the day.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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