Learning all about your dog’s behavior and how to best care for them is a rewarding part of pet ownership. If you have a female dog to care for, there may come a time where your dog becomes pregnant.
Knowing how to spot the signs of a pregnant dog can help you not only understand your dog’s behavior better but how you can help your dog feel comfortable and loved during this time.
Read on to discover some of the common signs of a pregnant dog.
- A Decrease in Activity
If you notice that your dog seems exhausted lately and is spending extra time napping, it might be a sign that she’s pregnant.
If you have a dog that’s usually energetic and loves to play, take a significant decrease in this energy seriously.
If you have a dog that typically snoozes all day, it might not be as easy to notice a decrease in her energy. Try instead to take note of how quickly she gets tired when you take her for a walk or attempt to play with her. If she doesn’t seem as interested or excited, she might be fatigued due to pregnancy.
- A Pregnant Dog Experienced Changes in Appetite
Pregnant dogs have significant fluctuations in their appetite. Depending on the stage of their pregnancy, they might eat less or eat a lot more than what’s typical.
Early on in pregnancy, you might notice that your dog eats a lot less and sometimes vomits afterward. This is akin to the morning sickness that pregnant women experience.
As the pregnancy develops, you may notice your dog eating more than usual and perhaps even becoming pickier about what she eats. These fluctuations are due to your dog’s changing hormones.
- Unusual Behavior
A pregnant dog undergoes some changes in her behavior. You might observe that she’s seeking you out more often and spending extra time at your side looking for affection and attention.
On the flip side, she might retreat to her bed more often or to places where she can be alone and unbothered. Some dogs even seem depressed and agitated when they’re given attention while pregnant. They want some space and some quiet.
Behavioral changes can begin as early as a few days into the pregnancy.
Though these changes in behavior don’t necessarily indicate pregnancy, they point toward the possibility, so take note.
- Nipple Changes
Female dogs usually have small nipples that don’t stand out much when they aren’t pregnant. However, a pregnant dog’s nipples will grow considerably in the early stages of pregnancy. The areolas will also become more rounded and noticeable when compared to their normal flat appearance.
You might also notice that your dog’s nipples are turning darker and redder than usual. This is indicative of an increase in blood flow to the area.
Your dog’s breasts might also grow in size when she is pregnant, which is a sign that her body is preparing to nurse her young puppies. In the latest stage of pregnancy, your dog’s nipple might even leak milk. If this happens, it’s a pretty good indicator that your dog is, indeed, pregnant.
- An Enlarged Abdomen or General Weight Gain
Another noticeable sign of a pregnant dog is, of course, weight gain. If your dog is pregnant, she will continue to put on weight, and her abdomen will expand in size as the puppies inside her grow.
The enlarged abdomen doesn’t usually occur until late in the pregnancy, so if you notice your dog’s stomach has grown significantly, it’s a sign that you need to take her to the vet as soon as you can.
- Your Dog Begins Nesting
Dogs that are pregnant and preparing to give birth will start to get ready for their puppies in the last few weeks of pregnancy. They do this by shredding up bedding and other materials to create a comfortable “nest” for their young.
If your dog is focused on creating a nest and making things extra cozy, she’s probably doing so to get ready for the arrival of puppies.
- Your Dog is More Easily Agitated
In the later stages of pregnancy, your dog will focus on what she feels she needs to do to get ready, including the nesting mentioned above. She’ll likely be reclusive and irritable a lot during the last weeks of pregnancy. Because of this, it’s a good idea to limit her time with young children as she won’t want to be bothered.
Pregnant dogs become more easily agitated, so this is something to be aware of if you suspect your dog is pregnant.
Be extra patient and loving toward your dog if you suspect that she’s pregnant and give her either the extra space or affection that she seeks.
Your Pregnant Dog Needs a Vet
If you suspect you have a pregnant dog on your hands, you should take her to see a vet as soon as you can.
Pregnancy is natural, and your dog instinctively knows what to do to get ready and to give birth. But an experienced vet can help your dog feel more comfortable and monitor her to make sure the puppies are healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Your vet can also give you sound advice on how to help your dog through pregnancy and after the puppies are born. Your vet can provide resources to find out more about how to care for your pregnant dog.
Learn more about how to care for a pregnant dog and tips to care for your pet by browsing through our many articles.
You’ll find lots of excellent health information on caring for your dog, but also lots of fun resources for all animal lovers who treat their pets as part of the family.
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