Pregnancy in dogs is relatively short compared to the pregnancies of people. The canine gestation period lasts for just 55-70 days, and as a result it is important to quickly identify if your pooch is pregnant and get them the necessary help they need to have a comfortable and safe pregnancy and labor.
1. Exhausting easily
Dogs that become exhausted easily or that are spending more time than usual sleeping, could be displaying signs of pregnancy. If your dog is the kind of animal that always slept a lot, then it may be harder to notice this increase. If your dog does this, then pay closer attention to how quickly she gets tired when out on a walk.
2. Changes to appetite
When a dog is pregnant their appetite can change in several ways, depending on the stage of pregnancy they are in. During the early stages of pregnancy, you may notice your dog is eating less than they usually do. They may even occasionally vomit. This is due to the fluctuating levels of hormones flowing through their system, causing a similar feeling to when humans suffer from morning sickness.
Some dogs, however, have an increased and voracious appetite, and not feel satisfied eating the regular amount of food you give them at meal-times. If they ask for more, increase the food you give them just a little bit at each meal throughout the day.
3. Unusual Behavior
If your dog is pregnant, you may notice certain changes in her behavior. For instance, she may seek the comfort of her owner more often. A pregnant dog might spend more time at your side, looking for extra attention.
On the other hand, a pregnant dog may seek isolation and not wish to be bothered; she may seem depressed or even irritable when given attention.
4. Appearance of nipple changes
Early stages of pregnancy can often cause a dog’s nipples to grow in size. They may also present as more rounded compared to their usual flat appearance. The colour of the nipple area may also change, possibly appearing a darker shade of pink or red.
This is due to the increased flow of blood to the area. As the pregnancy progresses, your pooch may also begin to lactate and produce milk.
5. Weight Gain
As the puppies grow, your dog’s abdomen will expand in size. This can be one of the clearest indicators of a dog’s pregnancy, especially if your dog has no other reason for sudden weight gain.
However, enlarging of the abdomen occurs relatively late into your dog’s pregnancy, meaning that if you notice this sign, along with others, it’s time to take her to the vet.
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, you may notice your dog begin to shred bedding and other available materials to create a nest. She may also become irritable and reclusive during this time, so it’s best to limit her contact with yourself and especially interaction with small children.
7. Hormone levels
Dogs have higher levels of a hormone called relaxin when they’re pregnant. The vet may give your dog a blood test to check her hormone levels. If you don’t take your dog to the vet until her 4th week of pregnancy, the doctor can feel your dog’s belly to confirm puppies are on the way.