Is my dog pregnant?
Being a first-time dog breeder can be really exciting. Welcoming a litter of puppies is an incredible moment to be a part of, especially when you get to see a proud mama and her pups! However, the pregnancy process can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what pregnancy looks like in dogs.
Understanding the physical and behavioural changes that occur during pregnancy is crucial for a smooth and successful breeding experience. Let’s look at the signs your dog might be pregnant, so you can know what to expect during this exciting time.
8 signs of a pregnant dog
The gestation period for dogs is around 61 to 65 days, much shorter than the 280 days for humans. With such a fast pregnancy, spotting if your dog is pregnant versus just a little under the weather can be difficult. There are no at-home doggy pregnancy tests, so being able to spot the signs early on will help you prepare for a safe birth.
Changes in appetite
You’ll likely notice your dog is eating less during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is a typical sign that something isn’t quite right with her. Don’t worry, though. Her appetite will improve fairly quickly as she starts to eat more to sustain her puppies.
Much like humans, dogs also suffer from “morning sickness” when pregnant. Of course, a dog that keeps throwing up is normally something to be concerned about, so it’s a good idea to consult a vet. But vomiting, along with some of the other signs we’ll go through, can point to pregnancy.
As you’d expect, your dog will start gaining weight around day 35 of pregnancy. This is perfectly healthy and not a sign she needs to lay off the kibble — her puppies are beginning to grow. You can expect her weight to increase by up to 50%.
Decreased activity and energy levels
Pregnancy uses lots of energy, even when you’re not doing anything. It may seem as if your dog is getting lazy, but in reality, she’s just tired from the pregnancy. Again, this is a perfectly natural response to pregnancy and nothing to worry about.
Acting more affectionate
It’s exhausting and a little stressful being pregnant, especially for the first time. Your mother-to-be has no idea what to expect from pregnancy and may not know how to handle it.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that dogs become more affectionate towards their owners during pregnancy. They’re just looking for some attention, love, and reassurance.
Almost every expectant mother will have an uncontrollable urge to start nesting, regardless of their species. They want to make sure their babies have the best possible conditions when they enter our world. For a pregnant dog, this means lots of soft blankets and a quiet, safe space for them to look after her puppies.
First-time breeders are often concerned by how swollen their bitch’s abdomen gets during pregnancy. This is completely normal, especially for breeds known to have large litters. Pregnant dogs start to show abdominal enlargement by mid to late pregnancy.
Visible puppy movement
Possibly the biggest giveaway that your dog is pregnant is seeing her litter wiggle around in her belly. Give her a little belly rub, and feel those puppy kicks for yourself!
How Paws in Work can help
Knowing the signs your dog might be pregnant is just the beginning. To learn more about preparing for your first litter, head to the Paws in Work blog.
Once your litter arrives, Paws in Work’s events can help socialise your puppies and give mum a break. This is especially helpful for letting your bitch recover in cases of infection like mastitis.
Contact Paws in Work's breeder team at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.