How to tell if my Dog is Pregnant?

Canine pregnancy is different from a human’s in many ways – we Online Pet Store in Australia – PetCare.com.au thought to write about the common signals about dog pregnancy signs  For one, the gestational period is much shorter – only two months – which makes early detection important to maintain optimal health for your pregnant dog.  Additionally, female dogs that have not been spayed have the ability to become pregnant as early as 6 months of age.  Knowing the signs, especially for these young puppies, is important to ensure a healthy delivery. 

The most common indications that your dog may be pregnant include swelling of the vulva, as well as bleeding or spotting from the area.  Around four weeks into her pregnancy, your dog will also develop a vaginal discharge.  If bleeding or discharge is profuse, she should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

Another common sign of pregnancy are changes in appetite.  In the early stages, your dog will have a decreased appetite and possibly stop eating altogether.  This typically occurs around three weeks.  However, later in the pregnancy she will have a greatly increased appetite as she begins to eat to sustain 4 – 10 puppies. 

One of the best telltale signs that your dog is pregnant is that her nipples will begin to enlarge.  Around three to four weeks, milk production will begin which will cause her teats to appear swollen.  Also in the last month of pregnancy her abdomen will rapidly begin to grow as the puppies continue to develop. 

Other, less obvious signs include decreased energy levels, increased urination frequency, and increased affection towards her owners.  As your dog’s body nourishes the growing puppies inside her uterus, her energy stores will be zapped in a similar manner as what during a human pregnancy.  As the uterus grows, more pressure will be placed on the bladder, which will cause your dog to need more frequent potty breaks.  Your dog will also be experiencing hormonal changes which can cause her to be more affectionate to those around her.  Beware, however, that once the puppies arrive her attitude will likely become protective of the puppies, especially towards other animals in the house.

If you suspect your dog is pregnant, it is recommended that she sees a veterinarian right away.  The doctor will perform a pregnancy test or an x-ray, and will advise you on preparations for the new puppies.  If your dog is more than 25 days pregnant, you may even be able to hear the heartbeats of the puppies.

The only way to prevent pregnancy in dogs is to spay and neuter your pets.  Females go into heat twice per year, typically in the spring and fall, and the heat cycle can last 2 – 3 weeks.  During this time, she is likely to become pregnant if in contact with any non-neutered male dogs.  Even if not planning to breed, a female in heat can quickly turn into an escape artist in order to satisfy the natural urges that her hormones are producing.  She will also attract nearby males who will stop at nothing to try to get to her.  If not planning to have puppies, the best course of action is to spay your female.    

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