I mean sure, all of us know that the most obvious sign of a dog, or any creature for that matter, being pregnant is their increased belly size. But is that the only way on telling if a dog is pregnant or not? It isn’t, in fact. There are many simple ways in which you can assess the condition of your dog. All you have to do is to keep an eye out for the signs. Now, what exactly are those signs? Keep on reading to know more!
How to Tell If a Dog Is Pregnant
Development of her breasts
This is one of the more obvious physical developments of pregnant dogs. Much like the body of a woman, the body of a dog undergoes changes in order to accommodate the birth of her babies. And in both species, a noticeable growth in the size of their breasts occurs. Usually, the breasts of a dog are tiny, with the skin beneath them being flat. However, during pregnancy, you will notice not only bigger nipples, but also the swelling of the skin beneath them.
Changes in her nipple color
Now, this one isn’t definitely very easy to notice because who pays attention to the color of their dog’s nipples right? But in case you did notice their color beforehand and now see that they’ve become more pinkish in color especially the nipples that are closest to her hind legs, then your dog is pregnant.
One of the easiest ways on how to tell if a dog is pregnant is to keep an eye out on her weight. From around 1 month after her pregnancy, you will notice that she’s steadily been putting on more and more weight with the passage of time. Some dogs can gain as much as 50% of their existing weight during pregnancy. However, this might be difficult to assess in the case of fat/obese dogs.
Needless to say, a pregnant dog needs to eat more in order to feed the fetuses developing in her abdomen. This is directly reflected in an increased appetite. However, make sure you don’t over-feed her, because that is not good for her. Instead of giving her 2-3 big meals a day, shift to smaller portions spread 4-5 times throughout the day.
Generally speaking, if a dog has to lose her appetite, it occurs around the three-week mark. It’s nothing to worry about – in fact it’s very normal and usually within a few days’ time, she will be back to eating normally. But if she doesn’t eat food 3 days in a row, take her to her vet.
Around 4 weeks after being pregnant, dogs usually start having vaginal discharges. This of course, is their bodies adjusting to being pregnant. If, however, the discharges smell or have blood in them, take her to the vet immediately.
How to tell if a dog is pregnant? Simple. Pregnant dogs often become lethargic and/or less active and prefer to spend their time resting or sleeping in a quiet corner of the house. This is because much like pregnant women, dogs too get exhausted quickly during pregnancy because their hormones are at play. This starts happening around the 15-day mark, and within a few weeks’ time after she’s adjusted her body to these changes, she might start becoming more active!
Changes in behavior
When pregnant, the hormones of a dog bring about drastic changes in their behavior. The most noticeable change would be their sudden motherly urges – If you have a child in your house, for example, she will become intensely protective/possessive of them. Otherwise, she might shower you with a lot of love and affection (sometimes bordering on being clingy). Some dogs, however display the exact opposite behavior – they will become distant, angry or even aggressive.
At home physical examination
Now this one can only be done in the later stages of a pregnancy – more specifically, in the last third of gestation. The fetuses in her womb are no longer fetuses but growing puppies, and it would be fairly easy for you to feel their presence by simply placing your palms against your dog’s underbelly. However, this is a hit and miss way of assessing her condition as several times, one may be unable to feel the presence of the pups, owing to how deep they are inside her abdomen.
One of the most obvious ways on how to tell if a dog is pregnant is to note her nesting tendencies. Anytime between 3 days to 3 weeks before her delivery, your dog will begin her nesting phase. Here, she will find the quietest corner of the house with the least footfall, grab some of her blankets and clothes, and create a little nest of her own where she can give birth to her pups.
Help from the vet
If you aren’t sure of yourself, then you can always take your dog to the vet. She can perform one or more of the tests mentioned below to ascertain the condition of your dog. These tests include:
A physical examination which includes listening to the heartbeats of the pups via a stethoscope;
An ultrasound which will also tell you the delivery date;
An endocrinological test to detect the presence of relaxin, a substance produced only by pregnant dogs.