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Is My Dog Pregnant

Updated on August 9, 2010
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing and dog healthcare.

Pregnant Female Dog

A dog can only become pregnant when she's going through her heat cycle, which can last about 60 days a few times a year. During this time, you want to keep her confined and separate from any other male, unless of course you're trying to breed her. If you're not trying to breed your dog, then you want to keep her away from all other male dogs, even your own, while she's in heat. When you think that you've got her penned up, think again, as male dogs are very smart and determined when it comes to a female in heat; they will find a way.

If you think that there's a possibility that your female dog may be in heat, then you want to take the proper precautions to ensure that she stays healthy throughout the pregnancy. If the dog is not healthy enough, the delivery may kill her, so it's important to ensure that your dog is healthy before and during the pregnancy.

There are cases, in which the vet will determine a female dog unfit to carry out the pregnancy and the delivery, and he may suggest terminating the dog's pregnancy. That is your choice, and in many cases, people to opt for this option, as it can be healthier for a dog that is ill or malnourished.

If you are expecting a litter, have your vet check after 3 weeks of conception, otherwise you probably won't see an signs until about 6 weeks. If you think that your dog is pregnant, you want to have a vet determine this by performing an x-ray or feeling around for the pups.

The sooner that you know, the sooner you can make a decision to terminate the pregnancy or carry it out. If you opt to continue the pregnancy, you want to get your dog on proper care.

No matter what you do, you want to make sure that you know what the signs of a pregnant dog are. It is very important that everyone who has a female dog that is not spayed be aware of what to look for.

Signs of a Pregnant Dog

It can be hard to determine if your dog is pregnant right away, but there are a few things that you can look for. If you think that your dog is pregnant, you want to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible, as your vet will be able to prescribe any changes to your dog's diet and schedule to ensure that your female dog and the growing pups are healthy.

  • Swollen nipples in preparation for suckling
  • In later stages of the pregnancy, milk will start to produce and may leak
  • Eating less or not at all, and then about 2 weeks later, the dog will seem to have unsatisfiable appetite
  • Weight gain will be associated with the large appetite as the puppies start to develop
  • The stomach will start to extend
  • Morning sickness may occur early in the pregnancy (typically only lasts about 2 weeks)
  • Due to the extra weight and the extended belly, some females may have trouble walking and may experience trembling
  • The vulva may be red and inflamed
  • Some vaginal secretions
  • In later stages, you may see puppies moving around, getting into the birthing position
  • Pregnant females may experience behavioral changes, such as more affectionate and needy, aggressive, or stand-offish 
  • Females will also start to nest when it's getting close; they may start moving rugs around, taking blankets or clothes and bunching them up.

During pregnancy, female dogs may experience a variety of changes as hormones are in an overabundance.

How Long is a Dog Pregnancy

A typical pregnancy in a dog will last between 8 to 9 weeks.

The gestation for most dogs is about 63 days, but that will depend on the size of the litter. Larger litters may deliver around 58 days, whereas smaller litters may deliver around 67 to 72 days.

Care for a Pregnant Dog

When you are caring for a pregnant dog, you want to make sure that the momma dog stays healthy. You also want to make sure that her pups are healthy. In order to do that, you want to follow the following tips.

  1. Feed the female dog a high quality puppy food before, during, and after the pregnancy. Just make sure that you don't over feed her, as you don't want an obese pregnant dog. The closer towards the middle and end of the pregnancy, your dog will have an increased appetite, as the pups are getting larger; you'll find that you should be feeding the dog about 1.5 times her regular portions before she gives birth and about 3 times the portion while she's nursing. You should expect an average weight gain of 15 to 20 pounds for medium to large sized dogs. Keep her on the puppy food until she has fully weaned the pups.
  2. Keep exercising the pregnant dog. You want her to be in shape, but you want to keep her inside for the last 3 weeks of the pregnancy, as you don't want her to catch a bug or virus.
  3. You want to provide plenty of love an affection, as a strong, alert, and happy dog will enhance her psychological well-being.
  4. Consider giving your pregnant dog supplements. You want the supplements to be approved by your vet before starting the dog on the regime, but supplements will help the female dog get all the nutrients that she needs, as the puppies starve her body, so to speak. You just want to avoid calcium supplements, as it can predispose the dog to uterine inertia, which can cause complications during delivery.

Book of the Bitch: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Caring for Bitches (New Edition)
Book of the Bitch: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Caring for Bitches (New Edition)

This book provide thorough, in-depth coverage of every aspect of caring for and understanding the canine female. For those interested in breeding a litter, the procedure for whelping and puppy rearing is carefully explained, while detailed advice is given on how to recognize signs of sickness, and, in particular, those diseases to which bitches are prone.



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    • profile image

      diana 3 years ago

      my dog is in heat and is experiencing a heavy blood flow , is this normal for an older dog, she is 7 years old and she never really bleed a lot all the other times she went into heat.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 5 years ago from Georgia

      Male dogs can be sexually active as early as 6 months, so it is possible.

    • profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago

      I was wondering .my female cocker spaniel. Went Into heat my neibouRs dog is only 5/6 months old he got inmy yard and was in my house he went in dog doors could he get my female pregnant. Or is he to young

    • profile image

      b1gobby 6 years ago

      I think my dog may be pregnant, i wrote a question, (i didn't realize the rules) but would like it if you could take a look at it and advise me. your hub was brilliant and well informed, but my dog is showing odd signs, thanx

    • profile image

      Elipaws 7 years ago

      JAnls couldn't have said it better. PLEASE SPAY/NEUTER. PLEASE.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      I agree with JanIs, life is not fair, but we do not have to contribute to the mistreating and abandoning animals. Thanks for sharing information.

    • profile image

      JanIs 7 years ago

      To get a better idea of how breeding a dog is helping other dogs, I invite you to go to your local animal control service branch and see for yourself how many dog are being euthanized on monthly basis. According to statistics, 4 million pets are killed every year because people just don't want them anymore. I love animals, and having a puppy is one best feelings ever, but PLEASE let's stop this killing spread. Adopt a shelter are saving a life. And PLEASE spay and neuter your fury friends.

    • lamincome profile image

      lamincome 7 years ago

      One of my dogs was pregnant. Its good to know the above information!

    • soheilr profile image

      soheilr 7 years ago

      I'm always learning something new about dogs with each of your articles. Good job on the details too.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      I always find your information so on point and applicable. Thank you for another good hub.