Obviously, the most effective way of knowing if your dog is pregnant is to go to the vet for an ultrasound and a blood test, but it is also the least economical. Knowing if a bitch is pregnant is difficult to detect in the first days of pregnancy. Fortunately, there are a number of symptoms that can help you know if your dog is pregnant. Here, you can learn how to tell if your dog is pregnant without going to the vet.
How to Tell if Your Female Dog is Pregnant: Through Physical Changes
When mammals are in the first days of the gestation period, they present a series of physical changes in their body.
Bitches are no exception in this regard. So if you wonder “how to find out if my dog is pregnant?”, you have to pay attention to the following points that we explain to you since not all react the same to pregnancy:
1. Swollen Breasts
To know if your dog is pregnant, you must observe her breasts or nipples in detail. It is one of the most visible changes since in the first weeks they are usually somewhat swollen. This happens as the animal begins to prepare her body to be able to suckle the puppies that come on the way.
But be careful, since not always that you notice them bigger is a 100% symptom of real pregnancy. Sometimes female dogs suffer what is called a false pregnancy. This is when her brain thinks she is pregnant and has some symptoms, but the truth is that she is not. That is why you should check the following points.
2. Pink Nipples
When a bitch is in the first days and weeks of pregnancy, her nipples will be larger and turn a more intense pinkish color than normal. This is because your dog is preparing for lactation. It is one of the easiest and most obvious signs to detect.
Sometimes a kind of liquid can even come out of them. It is a kind of whey, it is not yet the mother's milk that will feed the litter.
So if the nipples are larger than normal, dark pink and if they secrete liquid on top… it is very possible that your pet is pregnant.
3. Bulging Belly
If you see the larger than normal belly of your furry pet, it is a symptom that indicates that it may be expecting offspring.
Of course, the change in the size of the belly can only be noticed after 4 weeks of gestation.
Over time, you will notice that your dog's belly continues to grow and is increasingly swollen. Even very carefully, if you feel it, you can feel the puppies inside. If you haven't already, it's time to go to the vet.
4. Vaginal Discharge
If your dog is pregnant, her body produces a light pink or transparent gelatinous liquid. The reason for creating this mucous is to protect the embryos that are inside.
It is perfectly normal for some of this fluid to come out or be expelled through the vagina. As long as it does not contain blood or is in an excessive amount, it is something common and you do not have to worry. She can also emit sobs or groans, but these are usually due to nervousness.
How to Find Out if a Dog is Pregnant: Through Behavioral Changes
Aside from the physical symptoms we've just seen, there are behavioral changes that can make you suspect that your canine pet is pregnant. No one knows better than you what is normal or strange behavior in your bitch, but some attitudes of female dogs in the early gestation period are:
1. Decreased Appetite
One of the ways to know if your dog is pregnant is to observe and detect abnormal changes in her desire to eat.
If she ate everything with great desire and suddenly eat much less or show no interest in food, it can be a clear symptom.
For example, if before when you took out the ‘treats' or ‘prizes', or when preparing the food to eat she went crazy and not now, you can begin to suspect. All this if you have also detected some of the other signs, of course.
2. Increased appetite
But you should know that this happens in the first days of pregnancy, due to the hormonal changes that the bitches undergo during this period.
Over time, her appetite will recover or may even increase much more than normal. You should ask your veterinarian what type of diet a pregnant dog should eat.
From the first month of gestation, your dog may experience a fairly strong increase in appetite. Baby dogs are growing and therefore need more nutrients and food from the mother.
3. A Pregnant Bitch Sleeps More Hours
Typically, bitches that are pregnant sleep longer than usual. It is as if they are tired, so they are usually lying resting in their bed or in their favorite place to sleep. It is one of the symptoms to know if your dog is going to give birth soon.
4. Less Active
In most cases, if a dog is pregnant, they are usually more listless or as if they have no energy. If before she did not stop still or was constantly moving, restless, playful and now you notice that she is more static, tired or standing, it may be that she is expecting puppies.
This is because the gestation process consumes a lot of energy and even if she is well fed, she may feel less energetic.
So, is for no apparent reason, she plays less than usual, is less cheerful, runs less or does not feel like walking as before… Be alert and look for coincidences with some of the other symptoms that we are explaining to you.
5. Not Interacting with Other Dogs
It is a common behavior of pregnant dogs that they do not want to relate or interact with other dogs, whether they are yours or strangers'.
It is common for pregnant dogs to avoid being in the company of their peers.
Many times, they want no one to disturb them and they like to be alone.
This is due to its instinct for survival and protection of future puppies.
6. Nest Preparation Syndrome
In pregnant dogs, it is common for them to start looking for places to ‘build their nest' after 5 or 6 weeks.
That is, they try to create a comfortable and suitable space for when the puppies arrive.
It is common for them to suddenly begin to remove cushions, blankets or scratch the walls or the floor. Anything that she considers to be a good place or something she can use to keep the litter safe when she gives birth.
7. A Pregnant Bitch Will Be More Cuddly
This change is one of the most frequent in pregnant dog pets.
It occurs when they seek pampering, attention and care by parts of their humans.
They constantly want protection, caresses, and physical contact.
That is why it is normal that they always try to sit, lie down or stay close to humans. They are noticing that something strange is happening inside them and they are looking for something that makes them feel better, more protected and relaxed.
8. A Pregnant Bitch Will Be More Surly
This is the opposite case to the previous one.
Although the relationship with their masters is excellent, full of trust and love, they can become very rough and shy away from all contact and interaction with human beings.
If your dog also has a suspicious or fearful character, this will be accentuated even more. It's not a bad thing, she just doesn't like your tummy stroking or touching now. She thinks that you do not know what is happening to her and her instinct may cause her to behave in this way.
Tips for If Your Dog is Pregnant
Well, now you know how to tell if your dog is pregnant without going to the vet. But for the pregnancy of your furry pet to develop properly, we explain a series of tips that you must take into account:
- The first and most important thing: if after checking the symptoms and changes that we have explained to you, you are sure that there is a pregnancy, you should go to the vet. They will perform the necessary tests to ensure the health of the puppies and the mother. They will also offer you the best advice for your dog's pregnancy.
- It is also very important that you are aware of how long your dog is pregnant. Since the gestation period is approximately 2 months. But in some cases it take a few days shorter or longer. Only the vet will be able to guide you on the exact day of delivery as it approaches.
- Remember that the symptoms that we have explained to you, as a whole, are clear proof that your dog is pregnant. But each of them, individually (apathy, change in appetite, etc.) can be symptoms of a multitude of diseases. Therefore, it is recommended that you go with your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
If you want to find out how to tell how far along your dog is pregnant, read our article on a dog's pregnancy timeline.
Important: This article is for informational purposes only. We always recommend that you go to a trusted vet with your pet first.