Pregnancy is something that is natural for female dogs. Just like all species, dogs are built to reproduce in order to ensure that they do not go extinct. However, just because this is a natural process, it doesn’t mean that pregnancy in dogs is without its complications.
That is why breeding dogs is so serious, and why it is not an action that you should take lightly. Dog pregnancies are stressful. Dogs almost always have a litter of multiple puppies, and it can be difficult to monitor the pregnancy because your dog cannot tell you how they are feeling.
In particular, it is often difficult to tell if your dog is pregnant. After all, it is not as simple as asking your dog to pee on a pregnancy test. So, if you are thinking about breeding your dog, it is incredibly important that you do your research, and find out the signs of pregnancy before you begin the breeding process.
In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at how to tell if your dog is pregnant. So, if you want to find out more, keep on reading.
How Long Does It Take To Notice That Your Dog Is Pregnant?
As you would expect, pregnancy in dogs is very different from pregnancy in humans.
The obvious physiological differences between humans and dogs aside, dogs also have much shorter pregnancies than human beings.
So, instead of being pregnant for 9 months, dogs only tend to be pregnant for around 9-10 weeks before they give birth.
Due to the fact that dog pregnancies are much shorter, you might expect that you will be able to notice that your dog is pregnant earlier on.
However, this isn’t the case. In fact, you usually will be unable to tell that your dog is pregnant until they enter the second trimester of their pregnancy.
That is because dogs typically show no signs of pregnancy until this time.
However, the exact length of time that it will take for you to notice pregnancy in your dog will depend on a number of factors, including their breed.
It is often easier to notice pregnancy in dogs with shorter fur because their nipples are easier to see, and enlarged teats are one of the early symptoms of pregnancy in dogs.
However, you will often be able to tell for certain if your dog is pregnant at around 30 days.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Pregnant
While you typically cannot identify pregnancy in dogs until they reach the second trimester (around 30 days), once your dog reaches this stage of pregnancy, it is usually easy to identify.
This is mainly because there are a lot of different symptoms that your dog will experience at this stage.
There are some early signs of pregnancy that you might notice before your dog enters her second trimester. These signs include an increased appetite, slight weight gain, and an increase in affectionate behavior.
However, most signs of pregnancy will not be perceptible until your dog enters the second trimester.
These symptoms include a swollen belly, noticeable weight gain, increase in nipple size, and a change in the color of the nipples. Your dog may also become more irritable. Their vagina might be swollen.
While these are all clear signs that your dog is pregnant, it is impossible to confirm that your dog is pregnant at home until later in the pregnancy.
This is because you will have to wait until the puppies have developed a heartbeat. However, you can get the pregnancy confirmed by a vet. Let’s take a look at how they do this.
Should You Confirm This With A Vet?
If you suspect that your dog is pregnant, then it is always a good idea to speak with a vet to confirm this.
Vets can confirm pregnancy in dogs using 4 different methods. These methods include ultrasound, palpation, x-ray, and hormone testing.
The most common method that vets will use to diagnose pregnancy in dogs is palpation.
That is because the majority of pregnancies that vets will confirm are planned pregnancies, where the dog was deliberately bred. In these circumstances, vets will complete abdominal palpation at the 28-30 day mark.
At this stage of the pregnancy, the puppies will be small balls around the size of golf balls. So, palpation allows the vet to confirm the pregnancy, and also allow them to give an estimate of how many puppies to expect.
If the pregnancy was not planned, then a vet might use any of the other three methods to confirm it. Both hormone testing and ultrasounds are usually done at the 25 to 30 week mark, which is why these are more common.
However, your vet might also complete an x-ray at the 55-day mark because this allows them to confirm how many puppies your dog is pregnant with.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is About To Give Birth
Once your dog’s pregnancy has been confirmed, you will quickly be counting down the days until the big day. However, just like human pregnancies, dog pregnancies do not always go to plan. Due to this, you shouldn’t expect that your dog will definitely give birth on a certain day. The only way to guarantee this is to schedule a c-section.
With that in mind, here are some signs that you should watch out for if your dog is nearing the end of their pregnancy. All of these are signs that your dog is going into labor, and that a new litter of puppies will be entering the world soon. They include:
- Loss of appetite
- Milk production
- Excessive panting
- Drop in body temperature
If your dog experiences any of the above symptoms when it is close to her due date, you should prepare yourself for the birth.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Pregnant – A Summary
In short, there are some signs that your dog is pregnant which will become obvious as she enters her second trimester (30 days). These include a swollen belly, enlarged or discolored nipples, and tiredness.
If your dog exhibits these symptoms, then you can have the pregnancy confirmed by a vet.
Vets can confirm pregnancy in dogs from around 25 days onward, so the easiest way to tell if your dog is pregnant is to speak to your veterinarian.