Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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5 Ways To Tell If Your Dog is Pregnant

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel
Aug 17 ·

Has your female pup been acting strangely lately? If she hasn’t been spayed and may have been around male dogs who are not yet neutered, then there is a chance she might be expecting puppies. Here are 5 ways to tell if your dog is pregnant.

5 ways to tell if your dog is pregnant

A dog’s pregnancy is much shorter than a human’s. So, symptoms will show right away, and you’ll be able to tell sooner rather than later. While some symptoms are subtle, others are not. Here are some ways you can tell before calling the veterinarian.

5 ways to tell if your dog is pregnant

1. Clear, odorless vaginal discharge

After the first month or so of pregnancy, your pup may have vaginal discharge. If it’s clear and odorless, then this is completely normal. However, if it’s green, yellow, or smells, there might be an unlying problem.

This discharge may also last until the end of the pregnancy. So regardless of whether it’s normal or not, it may be worth it to call your veterinarian. If your pup is pregnant, they’ll certainly want to know about it.

2. Swollen abdomen

Around day 20, about three weeks into the pregnancy, you may start to notice that your doggo’s abdomen is swollen. Of course, a little weight gain never hurt here or there, but you’ll be able to tell that their swollen abdomen is more than just weight gain.

If your pup is pregnant, then begin taking her for short walks each day. She’ll need to stay in shape for labor and delivery in a couple of weeks.

3. Milk secretions

Another way to tell if your dog is pregnant is that her nipples will slightly enlarge. In some cases, milk may start to discharge from her nipples. Should this occur, then it’s definitely a good time to call the vet to have her checked out.

4. Change in appetite

This may be a subtle change at first. Your pup may get an increased appetite. Eventually, her appetite will decrease. Then, when labor nears, she’ll lose her appetite altogether. On the other hand, every dog is different. Some may have a decreased appetite, and then it’ll increase again later.

5. Change in behavior

If your pup is pregnant, her behavior will fluctuate throughout the next couple of months. For example, within the first month of being pregnant, she may be more affectionate towards you and others. She may also have a decrease in physical activity. As the pregnancy goes on, she will become restless and begin to nest.

5 ways to tell if your dog is pregnant

What should you do if you notice any of these changes in your dog?

If you suspect your dog is pregnant, the first thing you need to do is call your veterinarian. You can explain the symptoms to them, and they may be able to help you determine if she’s pregnant or not. In fact, there are four different ways a vet can be sure your pooch is expecting.

First, your vet can test your doggo for the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is released only during pregnancy due to the placental tissue. It’s one of the most accurate tests to see if your pup is pregnant, but your dog needs to be at least 30 days into her gestational period, or it could have a false negative.

Another way your vet can determine if your dog is pregnant or not is through palpation. This is the cheapest method. Membranes around the fetus, as it develops, grow sacs filled with fluid. These sacs can be felt, some growing to be the size of tennis balls in medium to large dogs.

Third, an x-ray is another effective way. However, it won’t show the puppies until later on in the pregnancy. You’ll also want to be careful of the radiation of x-rays. You can get an x-ray done around the 55th day of pregnancy. Then you can get a solid headcount of how many puppies are in the litter.

Finally, your vet can give your pooch an ultrasound. You can do this early on in the pregnancy and as many times as you need to. Ultrasounds will detect pregnancy and also be able to tell you how many puppies are in the litter and detect their heartbeats to ensure they’re all alive and well.

5 ways to tell if your dog is pregnant

Is your pup pregnant?

Even though dogs are pregnant for a much shorter time than humans, there are some similarities. You can see a change in your pup’s behavior and other needs early enough. It’s always a good idea to call your veterinarian as soon as you expect your dog may be pregnant. They can help you figure out what you need to do to make the process smooth and safe for your dog.

Similar reading: learn more about puppies

Rachel Poli Author
WRITTEN BY
Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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