How To Tell If Your Dog Is Pregnant


Possibly one of the most frequent things we are asked here at Animal Hub is how to tell if your dog is pregnant.  This can be a surprisingly difficult thing to do, as unlike humans, dogs often do not show visible symptoms (like a big belly) until 6-8 weeks of their 9 week gestation period.   If you choose to let your dog have puppies, it is a very beautiful thing, but it is also very important to stay informed and ahead of the pregnancy to make sure the mom is as safe as possible in delivering her puppies.  Of course, if you really think your dog is pregnant, you should take her to the vet.  This article is intended to help you find out if your dog is pregnant, not to help you deliver the puppies on your own.

 One of the first signs any dog will show if she is pregnant is a change in appetite.  Just like in humans, this can be an increase or decrease, but is usually a marked and significant change near the beginning of the pregnancy.  Likewise, many dogs will also show a significant change in attitude, one of the easiest ways of how to tell if your dog is pregnant is to just watch her behavior.  Most doggy moms will become increasingly sluggish and have a marked lack of energy, due to the litter she is carrying insider her.  This is not dangerous. It happens to both dogs and humans, but it is a very strong indicator that you will soon have puppies on the way.  Many dogs will also have a marked increase in affection, an increased desire to snuggle and be petted; although sometimes dogs will do the exact opposite and prefer to be alone during the pregnancy.  And of course, her nipples will grow extra tissue and start to get larger in size, but this will usually be very subtle until the last few weeks of the pregnancy.  Also, during the last few weeks, she will be eating much more food than she was before, as she must provide nutrition for the puppies.

So how to really tell if your dog is pregnant?  Well, you should most certainly take her to the vet.  They will be able to tell for sure very early on in the pregnancy that your dog is pregnant, via testing for a hormone called relaxin.  Dogs produce this for the puppies when they are pregnant, and it is a positive indicator that you have puppies on the way.  Many vets will also give an ultrasound later in the pregnancy, so you will be able to see the litter, just like you would see a human baby due to be born!  A proper vet will be able to set you up with all the materials and knowledge you need to help your dog be as comfortable, safe, and healthy as possible during her pregnancy, so that there are no complications.  Although it is not very hard to help a dog through pregnancy, they will teach you some very valuable and important techniques and diet modifications to have a happy mommy with a litter of brand new puppies!