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How to tell if your dog is pregnant

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It can be tricky to tell if your dog is pregnant during the early stages, especially if this your first time dealing with a dog pregnancy. Symptoms will become more obvious as she becomes more pregnant, but it is important to know what to look for during the early stages to ensure she has a safe and comfortable pregnancy.

If you do not wish to breed your dog during her heat cycle, it is very important to be cautious with her for the next few weeks. Keeping your dog indoors and away from male dogs is very important during this time. If you do not wish to ever breed your dog, you should consider spaying her. This will prevent her from becoming pregnant as well as prevent any symptoms of heat.

Dog in heat symptoms

Increased urination: This is to spread her scent and attract males for mating.

Swollen vulva: The amount of swelling changes from dog to dog. Your dog will likely be licking this area frequently.

Discharge and bleeding: Bleeding will begin during the proestrus stage, and fade to an off-color discharge towards mating stage.

Male attraction: Your female dog will be releasing hormones to attract male dogs. The Male dogs may hang around your house, and may try to mount her at any time during her heat period.

Whining or groaning: Your dog’s hormones may be a little off, and your dog may have mood swings. It is important to be patient with her during this time.

Signs of dog pregnancy

Increased appetite: Some dogs will eat their food very quickly, and seem to linger at their bowl wanting more. It is ok to feed your pregnant dog a little extra, but be sure not to overfeed her as this may cause health problems.

Because of her increase in appetite, three small meals may be given throughout the day rather than one large meal once a day. This will keep her full and ensure she is getting extra nutrients for her unborn pups.

Decreased appetite: This may be known as the dog version of morning sickness. Not all dogs experience a lack of appetite, but some dogs may eat less during the first few weeks of gestation. It is important not to force-feed her.

You can try adding a bit of bland human food to encourage eating, but most dogs won’t skip too many days without eating anyway. If your dog refuses to eat for more than a few days, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away.

Behavioral changes: Changes in your dog’s behavior may be different from dog to dog.
Some dogs become extremely needy and crave attention and affection. Some dogs prefer to be left completely alone, unless they require your assistance, that is. It is important to cater to your dog’s behavior changes as best as possible.

If your dog is easily irritated, leave her be and avoid letting children or other animals near her until her behavior changes. If she is needy, pay extra attention to her and include soothing music and hair brushing or massaging.

Changes in the nipples: This includes growth and change in color. Nipple growth, or swelling, is a tell-tale sign your dog is pregnant. You should be able to see a growth in the nipples around two weeks after the mating process if she is pregnant. Breast material will develop beneath the nipples, which is preparation for future milk production.

The nipples will also change color slightly. Once your dog has become pregnant, the nipples will be a pink color and the area around the nipple may be flushed from increased blood flow.

Lack of energy: Much the same as pregnant women, dogs may experience fatigue during pregnancy. If you have an energetic dog who suddenly loses interest in activities, she may be pregnant. It is important to determine if your dog is actually pregnant, or if there is another illness in place.

Look for other symptoms along with lethargy to determine pregnancy. Always talk to your veterinarian if your dog has low energy for no apparent reason.

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