When a dog is pregnant, owners typically do not realize it until the final few weeks of her nine-week gestation, when dog pregnancy symptoms become apparent. As with infants, however, the best way to prepare for the arrival of the new puppy is to get ready as soon as possible. So, here are a few early signs that should help you determine whether or not your dog is pregnant, and if so, how to make the most of the time you have to prepare for and welcome the puppies.
The sooner you know, the more effectively you can prepare
There are a few very early warning signs to watch out for. First, pregnant dogs are more patient, less active, and spend more time resting. Additionally, she will likely experience mood swings due to fluctuating hormone levels. These are the earliest indications of a dog’s pregnancy, the ones that should make you suspicious. However, these symptoms may also indicate health problems. A vet check will always provide answers.
Look For Physical Changes
In the latter stages of its pregnancy (which can last up to 60 to 65 days in dogs), your dog will undergo physical changes that leave no room for doubt about its condition.
Nipples get bigger
As with all pregnancies, the nipples of pregnant women will swell and change color, becoming noticeably darker. The hair around the nipples should also begin to thin in preparation for nursing puppies. You may observe milk dripping from the nipples during the final weeks of pregnancy, closer to the time of delivery. Pregnancy is generally clear and obvious at this point.
The body transforms
During pregnancy, it goes without saying that your female dog’s body shape will change. This, however, does not occur until the second half of the procedure. As early as the fourth or fifth week of pregnancy, the waist thickens and the abdomen swells. During the final third of pregnancy, the abdomen should become visibly full and distended, and the mammary glands will be visibly swollen and ready to produce milk.
You Can Feel the Puppies!
If you are still unsure, place your hand on your dog’s belly and try to feel the puppies. Do you detect any movement? Do you observe the movements of the puppies in her womb? If so, be prepared, as this indicates that your dog is nearing maturity.
Is Your Dog Behaviour Changing?
Pay close attention to your pet’s demeanor as a second method for determining if she is pregnant. Behavioral signs may be more difficult to detect than physical changes, but they typically appear earlier. However, they are also not very reliable because dogs’ attitudes can change for a variety of reasons. It is best to closely monitor both physical and behavioral symptoms.
During the first half of a dog’s pregnancy, sudden behavioral changes may indicate her pregnancy. As each dog responds differently to fluctuating hormone levels, it is difficult to know which changes to look for. Some may be more relaxed and exhausted, while others will be more defensive.
Change in appetite
Future canine mothers can experience morning sickness, similar to humans. Due to this, they may experience a loss of appetite during the first few weeks of pregnancy and eat very little until the third or fourth week of gestation, when the nausea subsides and they begin to consume more food until the puppies are born.
Close to the conclusion of the term, your mother dog’s nesting instinct will manifest. Approximately two weeks prior to giving birth, she will begin to collect blankets or clothing in a location of her choosing to create a safe, warm environment for her puppies.
Request A Professional Diagnosis To Ensure Accuracy
If you have serious concerns about your dog’s health and don’t want to pay for a full vet appointment, you can purchase a dog pregnancy test from your veterinarian that you can perform at home. It goes without saying that human pregnancy tests are unreliable for dogs.
However, if all of the aforementioned symptoms are present, it is best to confirm your assumption with the assistance of a professional. A visit to the veterinarian is the only way to know for certain that your dog is pregnant. First, the veterinarian will perform a physical examination by gently palpating her abdomen and listening to the puppies’ heartbeats with a stethoscope.
Using an ultrasound or X-ray, he may then confirm your dog’s condition. The latter will utilize radiation to produce images of the puppies. Be assured that X-ray radiation is completely safe for both your dog and the puppies.
The final way a veterinarian can confirm pregnancy is by measuring the Relaxin hormone level, which rises significantly during pregnancy. This can be performed as early as 25 days, making it the quickest way to confirm pregnancy professionally.
A Word On False Pregnancy
Similar to humans, dogs can experience false pregnancies. In this case, they will exhibit all the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, including lactation and a swollen abdomen, but will not be carrying puppies. After the sixth or seventh week of pregnancy, if you continue to feel no movement in the uterus, you should suspect a false pregnancy. Again, the best way to confirm your hypothesis is to have your dog examined by a veterinarian.
With this information, are you able to determine if your dog is pregnant?