Signs The Family Dog Is Pregnant

By Jessica O'Neil 8 months ago

She’s looking a little round

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Just as with humans, the first indicator of a canine pregnancy is a bigger belly. Dogs tend to get wider instead of the forward distention human beings experience. She may also begin waddling or walking strangely because of the added weight. If your dog is usually on the thinner side and you notice her belly getting bigger by the day, take her to the vet for an ultrasound.

Her hunger is out of control

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Dogs usually aren’t just eating for two when they are pregnant. They’re eating for five or six, sometimes more! She will probably be super hungry, especially toward the middle of your pregnancy. If you weren’t sure by her shape, this telltale sign will absolutely confirm it for you. Be sure to feed your pregnant pup protein-rich food that will help her sustain energy throughout the day.

She’s sleepier than usual

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Pregnancy is taxing on any being. Dogs tend to be less active while pregnant. This is because they’re carrying around extra weight, and the constant influx of hormones affects their energy levels. Give your dog a comfy place to rest so she can get her beauty sleep throughout the day. Make sure she isn’t jumping on and off your bed every night either.

Little things aggravate her

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Normally your dog is a sweetheart, but lately, she’s been grumpy and easily irritated. What gives? This change in temperament could indicate pregnancy. Some dogs express agitation when they are hurt too, so always check in with your vet to make sure there is nothing wrong physically with your pet. She may be experiencing pregnancy complications or joint and muscle soreness.

She’s craving cuddles

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Pregnant dogs love attention, and they’ll probably beg for pets even more than they already do. Your dog is looking for comfort during this important time in her life, and it is crucial to give it to her. She must experience little to no stress in order to give birth to a healthy litter of puppies. Take time to give your dog some love throughout the day and make sure she feels nurtured and cared for.

She has an upset stomach

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Hormone changes can make dogs feel nauseous in the early stages of a pregnancy. Thankfully, this is a symptom that will go away within a couple of weeks. Pay close attention to her and try to serve wet food more than dry food. She needs to stay hydrated and kibble will likely leave her feeling thirsty and more sick. Though she may not want to eat, try to encourage her by serving her favorite foods and treats.

The food bowl is unusually full

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Your dog may suddenly develop a distaste for their food while pregnant. This is normal and may resolve itself once the puppies are born. If you’re unsure whether you’re dog is pregnant or not, keep an eye on her eating habits. Sudden changes indicate either health concerns or an expectant pup. Treat her to a variety of wet foods with healthy proteins and fats to keep her in good shape.

She likes to be around the kids more

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Your dog will likely start feeling more maternal right off the bat. She may even want to be around young children and feel protective over them more. This is nothing to worry about. In fact, this is a great opportunity for your kids to bond with your pet and to teach them how to be gentle and caring with your animal. Allow her to cuddle up with them and get all the attention she craves.

She’s nesting

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As your dog gets closer to labor, she will want to find a cozy place to give birth. You’ll find her in specific parts of the house more, especially places that are soft, padded, and private. Identify where she chooses to hang out the most and create a relaxing space for her to give birth. Line the area with old blankets and pillows and leave plenty of food and water there just in case.

Her teats seem swollen

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A large indicator of a dog’s pregnancy can be found on her abdomen. Your dog's teats may become large, red, swollen, and sensitive. This is because her body is preparing to produce milk for her babies. Approach her slowly and gently place a warm compress on her mammary glands to prevent mastitis and discomfort. She will appreciate the care in the long run.

She is panting more than usual

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Panting is a big sign that your dog is in labor. She may be walking around the room in one area and producing labored breaths. You can expect this phase to last about half a day as her body prepares itself for the whelping stage. Give her space but keep an eye on her and make sure she is not in an abnormal amount of pain. Remember, she is experiencing contractions, so try not to squeeze or hold her too much.

Her body temperature lowers

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About 24 hours before giving birth, your dog’s body temperature will drop. The normal body temperature of a dog is around 101 to 102.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The day before labor, your dog will have a temperature drop of about three to four degrees. You should move your dog to her nesting location at this time and allow her to get comfortable. Contractions will usually begin about twelve hours later, so try to make arrangements and be there for her in case any complications occur.

She doesn’t want to go outside

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Some dogs will prefer to stay close to their nesting site while pregnant. If it is hot or cold out, your dog may be resistant to encountering uncomfortable temperatures. Try to encourage regular exercise anyway with treats and rewards. She will need it to stay strong during and after labor when nursing will cause her to burn tons of calories and drain her energy.

She wants to be alone

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Some pregnant dogs are highly independent and prefer to be left alone during their pregnancy. This is especially true the closer she gets to labor. Do not force her to interact with the family or other animals if she does not want to. Be kind to her and show that you understand her needs. Dogs are receptive to emotions and energy, so keep that in mind when communicating with her during this time.

It’s harder to get her to go on walks

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Your dog may tire easily, and you’ll probably notice her panting more than usual on long walks. Don’t make her travel far if she doesn’t want to. Just like you, your dog knows her limits and will let you know what she can handle. Try reducing your walk by half or splitting the walk up into two phases if you tend to take longer strolls. Don’t forget to bring water along with you to maintain her hydration levels.

She seems sad or down

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A depressed dog isn’t necessarily a sign of pregnancy, but it could be a sign that your dog has miscarried or is about to. Watch out for other signs of a miscarriage, like unusual discharge or sudden bleeding. Take your dog to the vet immediately if any of these signs pop up. Some dogs may pass the tissue at home, but others may need surgery to rectify the issue.

Her hormone test is positive for relaxin

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Relaxin is a hormone that your dog’s placenta produces over the course of the pregnancy. About a month after conception, your dog’s relaxin levels should be high enough to determine pregnancy. A vet will be able to test your dog’s blood and let you know for certain whether she is expecting. This blood test can be performed a little over three weeks after breeding occurs.

She’s losing her fur

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Fur loss can be an indicator of pregnancy in dogs. Increased hormone production or stress are two reasons why her fur could be falling out. This hair loss is temporary and should cease once your dog stops nursing. When a dog nurses, it loses a good amount of calcium and other necessary minerals, which affects the state of its coat. Many vets can prescribe supplements if this becomes a persistent issue.

She wants to spend more time with you

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You are your dog’s best friend, and you are the main person in her life she looks to when in need of comfort. Pregnancy is hard for any animal, and she may want to stay close to you because she understands you will be there for her if anything goes wrong. Be sensitive during this time. Your dog isn’t pregnant often, and giving her an extra dose of kisses and attention never hurts.

Her coat is soft and glossy

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Though pregnancy can cause hair loss, some dogs experience hair growth that is shiny and soft. Humans also experience this hair growth in the first trimester of their pregnancy. This is a sign of healthy hormone production. As progesterone rises, your dog’s coat will gain a visible luster. You may need to groom her more often, so schedule your appointments in advance.

Her stomach feels hard to the touch

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A dog’s stomach will no longer feel pliant when they are pregnant. Their abdomen will become swollen as the babies grow, and their mammary glands will become full of milk. Try not to fuss with your pup too much and pet her in a way that acknowledges her sensitive state. She may not want you to touch her belly anymore, so focus on her head and back instead. Refrain from putting restricting clothes and vests on your dog as well.

Her behavior is unpredictable

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One day your dog is the sweetest little baby in the whole world. The next she couldn’t be bothered with you. Don’t get offended, and definitely don’t punish her for her behavior. This is a sign that she may be at the beginning of her pregnancy. Help her feel less anxious by leaving her in a calm, quiet environment, such as a designated bedroom with a closed door.

Her gums turn from pink to white

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Pink gums indicate pristine oral health in dogs. However, if your dog is pregnant, her gums may turn white instead. Her gums will change color about three to four weeks after conception. Be warned, though: white gums are also a sign of heart disease and blood clotting disorders. Look out for the other pregnancy symptoms above to make an informed decision about how to proceed with caring for your dog.

She is no longer in heat

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A dog that is not spayed will go into heat twice per year. Signs of this range from discharge and bleeding to extra affectionate behavior. If your dog does not exhibit these symptoms and it has been a while since her last cycle, you may want to check if she is pregnant. Reach out to a vet to determine whether it is an appropriate time for a blood test.

She prefers different meals

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Pregnant humans have prominent cravings that they may not enjoy after giving birth. Many have claimed they were really into salty foods, like pickles or potato chips. Your dog may become partial to certain dishes during her pregnancy. More commonly, though, your dog’s general appetite will fluctuate. Feed her high-calorie meals during the pregnancy and while she’s nursing, since growing and feeding her pups can take a lot out of her.

The water bowl is always empty

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A dog that is more thirsty than normal could very well be a pregnant one. A water bowl that is nearly licked dry every day is a common sign of pregnancy. You can tell if your dog is dehydrated based on a few different factors, like panting, a dry nose, sticky gums, and flaky skin. Add extra water to their wet meals to make sure they’re getting enough fluids throughout the day.

She’s more itchy than usual

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Pregnancy hormones affect the body in many different ways. Your dog’s skin may appear to be dry, irritated, or itchy during her pregnancy. Some vets will prescribe a topical cream to prevent her from scratching too much and damaging her skin. The itching could be a stress response as well, so try to think about if there is anything that could be worrying your dog or causing constant anxiety.

She’s using the bathroom more

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The added weight combined with the extra food and water intake can make your dog request more bathroom breaks throughout the day. When you first notice her pregnancy, make sure to organize more time to take her outside to pee. If you are not home often, place bathroom pads around the house to prevent her from expelling her bladder on the carpet or floors.

She’s more territorial

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When her maternal side comes out, so will the claws in some cases. Your dog may not want you around her nesting area very often. She also may be more wary of strangers and not be as welcoming to guests in your home. Accommodate her feelings during this period and reduce the amount of unfamiliar folks in your house. This means you should likely not schedule a home remodel or any family parties until your dog gives birth.

She is leaking milk

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Your dog will begin to produce milk to feed her puppies early in the pregnancy. Leaking milk is common as your dog approaches the day of her labor. Watch out for mastitis in dogs, which is inflammation of the mammary glands. Key signs of mastitis are fever, swelling, discharge, and lethargy. Always take your dog to the vet immediately should any of these symptoms occur either during or after her pregnancy.