Have you noticed your dog acting a bit lazier than usual, or perhaps eating less of her evening meals? These can be signs of pregnancy, and if she otherwise seems healthy and happy, you may have puppies on the way!
Some of these symptoms can also be signs of illness, so it’s important to have any marked change in appearance, appetite, or activity level checked out. Of course, if you think your dog may be pregnant, you have a much happier reason to bring her to the vet! Here are 5 signs to watch for:
1. Decreased Activity
If your dog easily becomes exhausted or is spending more time napping, it may indicate that she is pregnant. For dogs that are typically energetic, this decrease should be taken seriously. For dogs that already enjoy snoozing all day, it may be harder to notice a decrease in energy. If that’s the case, try paying closer attention to how quickly she tires during walks.
2. Changes in Appetite
A pregnant dog’s appetite can fluctuate in different ways, depending on the dog and the stage of her pregnancy. Early or midway into the pregnancy, she may eat less or even vomit occasionally (the canine equivalent of morning sickness). However, she may also eat more than usual and be dissatisfied with her meals. These fluctuations correspond with your dog’s changing hormones. Click here to learn more about feeding a pregnant dog.
3. Unusual Behavior
If your dog is pregnant, you may notice certain changes in her behavior. For instance, she may seek the comfort of her owner more often. A pregnant dog might spend more time at your side, looking for extra attention. On the other hand, a pregnant dog may seek isolation and not wish to be bothered; she may seem depressed or even irritable when given attention.
4. Enlarged or Discolored Nipples
While a female dog’s nipples are normally small, pregnancy causes her nipples to grow in size during the early stages of pregnancy. The areolas also become somewhat rounded compared to their usual flatness. You may also notice your dog’s nipples turning a slightly darker red than normal, which would indicate an increase in blood flow. Later into the pregnancy, her nipples may occasionally leak milk, as well.
5. Weight Gain and Enlarged Abdomen
As the puppies grow, your dog’s abdomen will expand in size. This can be one of the clearest indicators of a dog’s pregnancy, especially if your dog has no other reason for sudden weight gain. However, enlarging of the abdomen occurs relatively late into your dog’s pregnancy, meaning that if you notice this sign, along with others, it’s time to take her to the vet.
6. Nesting Behaviors
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, you may notice your dog begin to shred bedding and other available materials to create a nest. She may also become irritable and reclusive during this time, so it’s best to limit her contact with small children.
Compared with humans, dog gestation periods are a relatively short 56-70 days. As a result, acting quickly on signs of pregnancy is crucial to ensuring a comfortable, safe birth for your new puppies. After a proper examination, your local veterinarian can provide you with all of the instruction you need to properly care for your pregnant pet.
Do you think your dog may be pregnant? Please contact your veterinarian about the care she needs.