How to Tell if Your Dog is Pregnant – Our Simple But Helpful Guide

Many a dog owner, have not been aware that their dog was pregnant, only to be surprised with puppies or to see their dog in labor.

This is made worse by the fact that the gestation period of dogs is short, just 9 nine weeks. In fact, while you are still pondering whether your dog is pregnant or not, the nine weeks will have elapsed. Your family will have new pups ready to take on the world.

Unfortunately, dog experts and researchers are yet to develop a home pregnancy test kit for animals. So how can you tell if a dog is pregnant or not?

Signs that Your Dog Could be Pregnant

It is quite easy to get fooled and not know that your dog is pregnant until the last moment. Some dogs don’t show any changes in their behavior or body at all. The good thing is that your vet can do a dog pregnancy test which uses hormone levels or alternatively do an ultrasound.

Both the ultrasound and blood test are best done three weeks into your dog’s pregnancy.

But before visiting a vet, there are various signs that you can use to tell if your dog is pregnant.

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Did You Realize When Your Dog Was on Heat?

If your dog was on heat, and then she got a male companion to meet her, she is likely pregnant. Therefore, you should monitor her from the time she was on heat.

You should actually write down her heat date in a notebook. If she got pregnant on that day, then her expected day of delivery should be about 63 days from the day she was on heat.

Initial Signs of Pregnancy

There are other ways of how to tell if your dog is pregnant apart from having been on heat. Since your dog’s hormone levels change during pregnancy, her behavior may change too. So, if you realize your dog behaving unusually, then she may be pregnant.

She may be more anxious or quiet or even louder than usual. Also, your pooch may sleep more especially during the first weeks of pregnancy and toward the end of the pregnancy.

Other pregnant dogs vomit a little during the first weeks of pregnancy while others increase or lose their appetite. So, maybe they get nauseated but they just don’t say it. So, you can be sensitive if they vomit after taking some foods by changing their diet. You can get your vet to recommend a diet if the vomiting persists. But most will overcome eating difficulties and will have a weight gain of about 50% above their usual weight.

Later Signs of Pregnancy

Worth noting, some dogs will have full signs of pregnancy at five weeks with a change in nipples and a full belly. Pregnant dogs may have slight mucous discharges, prominent teats, some teats may secret a semi-clear milk-like fluid. And just before delivery, some dogs have colostrums leaks through their nipples.

Pregnant Dogs Nesting Behaviors

Just before delivery, your dog will start preparing for the arrival of her puppies by nesting. She will want start looking for secluded places and collecting rags and clothes if they are available. You can help her by creating a nest for her. She will prefer a solitude place so find an appropriate place for her to nest her puppies when they get delivered.

Real Pregnancy vs a Phantom Pregnancy

What if your dog has all the signs of pregnancy yet they have a phantom pregnancy? There is no cause to worry about your dog having a phantom pregnancy.

If you are monitoring her from the day of her supposed pregnancy, then an ultrasound and blood test will reveal if she is pregnant. So, please wait for three to four weeks and then take her to the vet to establish if she is pregnant or not.

Usually, treatment is not necessary for phantom pregnancies because the symptoms will disappear within a short period.

Try to Identify with Your Pregnant Dog

If only dogs could talk, the pregnant process could be much better for them and their pet families. Since they don’t talk it will leave you wondering whether your dog has morning sickness like us humans and a preference for certain foods.

If your expecting dog could talk, they could have said "my pups just kicked" and maybe said, "You humans don't understand how it feels to get kicks from 7 pups which is an equivalent of 28 kicks, do you know what I am saying?”

Even though you don’t know what your dog is going through, try to be sensitive to her because this is a special time in her life. In fact, if you are not a dog breeder, this may be the only time she will be pregnant.

Number of Pups Expected

It is hard to tell how many pups your dog is expecting. Doing an X-ray is good because it will give you a rough idea about how many puppies you expect. However, X-rays are not reliable with quite many dog owners getting more pups than what the X-ray revealed.

The vet can also do a physical count of the pups but only when the pregnancy is advanced and over a month old.

Why You Need to Know if Your Dog is Pregnant

Knowing that Your Dog is Pregnant Will Help You Prepare Appropriately

Therefore, as a member of your family, it is quite important to know if your furry friend is expecting so that you can prepare appropriately. You also need to be ready for the day your dog will go into labor and whelping. You need to buy enough food for the dog mama and her new babies and prepare her nest too.

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Dogs have a fertile period which happens after about every eight months, the period usually lasts three weeks. During this time, she dog will get on heat and she can easily get pregnant during this time. If you are not ready to be a pet grandparent, then you should consider neutering your furry friend to avoid pregnancy.

Nurturing a pregnant dog and nurturing puppies requires dedication from both the pet family and the dog. It is also expensive requiring more frequent vet visits and special diets and vaccinations. On the other hand, it is a time of fun if you are ready for new pups to join your family.

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