How Can You Tell if Your Dog is Pregnant?
Picture this: Fido has lost her energy; she no longer wants to go outside to play. She’s been avoiding her food bowl and her stomach seems to be larger than normal, but you’ve been feeding her the same.
It seems like Fido is little out of sorts, and she may have a very good reason –carrying a new litter of puppies!
Here are some signs your pup might be pregnant:
- Morning Sickness.Yes, dogs experience this feeling just like humans do during pregnancy! During the first 2-3 weeks of the gestation period, dogs will feel nauseated, avoid eating, and may even vomit. This can cause your dog to lose a little weight at first. Not to worry – she will gain it back later during the pregnancy.
- Lower Activity Level. A sluggish dog may be a pregnant dog. Her activity level will likely plummet when little ones are on the way. She may appear more lethargic than normal, sitting and lying down more often than wanting to go outside to play.
- Large, Pink Nipples. A pregnant dog’s nipples appear bigger than usual as she approaches the end of her pregnancy. She will begin to produce milk, and may even lactate before the babies arrive.
- Baby Bump. Is your dog’s belly sagging a bit low? If her diet hasn’t changed, this may mean she is carrying puppies in that extra bulge. You can touch her stomach to try and figure out what what’s causing her belly to sag. If you feel several small lumps, she’s most likely pregnant!
- Mood Changes. At the very end of the 60 days, your dog’s mood will change, and rightly so – since she’s so close to giving birth, she is ready! Depending on her personality, she may wish to have more attention or avoid interaction altogether. If Fido seems a little testy, that’s normal and she’ll be back to herself in no time. Whatever the change, it’s telling you she is close to the delivery date.
Dog Pregnancy Testing
If you think your dog may be pregnant, you can take her to the vet, where the following can be used to confirm the pregnancy:
- Blood Test. A blood test can be given to your dog to determine whether she is pregnant or not. A veterinarian can administer the test, or you can choose to use a canine pregnancy kit. While a vet may be more accurate, a kit may be more convenient. If she’s pregnant, her blood will contain a compound called relaxin. Relaxin shows up in the blood after 3 weeks of gestation, so if you administer the test before then, you may get a negative reading.
- Stethoscope. 45 days into the pregnancy, you can actually hear the puppies that are developing in your dog’s belly! This is done by using a stethoscope. A veterinarian will place the stethoscope onto the pregnant dog’s stomach. Listen close and you can hear the lub-dub of the puppies’ little heartbeats!
- X-ray. Besides the stethoscope, an x-ray can also be used to detect puppies after 45 days. An x-ray will be able to take a picture of the puppies, so you can see them inside your dog’s belly. How fun! I wonder if you’d be able to count how many are in there.
All of these signs and tests are great ways to figure out if your dog is expecting. The most accurate way is to make an appointment with your veterinarian, who will perform one or more of the last three tests mentioned.