While it is easy for humans to confirm pregnancy, thanks to the numerous pregnancy kits and blood tests, detecting the same for dogs maybe a different game altogether. This is because unlike humans, bitches do not always come with telltale signs of pregnancy, namely missed periods, morning sickness or strange cravings. Although a vet can confirm pregnancy in dogs, with the help of physical examination, x-ray and ultrasound around the sixth week of gestation, the hitch is that a dog’s gestation period is just about nine weeks, leaving it with little time to prepare for the impending birth and care. Thus, it is best left to dog owners to look out for some of the more obvious signs of pregnancy in dogs. Although the signs do not usually surface before fourth week of pregnancy, it is best to keep all tabs on any behavioral and physical changes of your bitch, to affirm pregnancy. If your dog shows symptoms of heat cycle or have mated with male dogs, then chances are that they will deliver puppies real soon. Here are some significant signs of dog pregnancy to watch out for. Read on for more.
Signs & Symptoms Of Dog Pregnancy
- One of the early signs of pregnancy in dogs is reduced appetite. If your bitch shows symptoms of decreased appetite or fusses while eating, chances are that she is ‘expecting’. Although not all bitches undergo this symptom, a small percentage of expecting doggies will consume less food in the initial weeks of their pregnancy, but are sure to make up for it during the later stages.
- Like women, dogs also experience fatigue and feelings of exhaustion when carrying. A sudden dip in their energy levels is a clear indication that your bitch is pregnant. Bitches too experience a change in their hormonal levels during this time.
- Another early signs of pregnancy includes development of the mammary glands. The nipples of an unbred bitch are usually modestly developed. However, with pregnancy, the breast starts to evolve, and the nipples flesh out to assist in milk production and suckling their young ones.
- Mood swings during pregnancy are common with bitches too. Dogs often tend to be either overly affectionate or turn recluse during gestation period.
- Your dogs are likely to show some positive changes after the first month of pregnancy. Increased appetite is the first noticeable signs during this stage, especially after the heat cycle is over.
- It is during this stage, that your bitch is likely to show some weight gain. The bitch's abdomen will inspissate, and gentle examination of the belly will reveal a firm, rather than fat feeling to the area.
Late Term Signs
- During this later stage, your bitch’s abdomen is likely to swell, giving a clear impression of impending birth. The size of the abdomen however will depend on the size or breed of the dog involved as well as the number of pups carrying.
- This is the time when puppy movements become more and more apprehensible. Puppy movement can be sensed during last weeks of pregnancy, with an increase in the swelling in the abdomen a few days prior to delivery, as the pups get into position for birth.
- It is during this last stage that milk production begins in earnest and colostrums. Milk can be expressed from the nipples. A light trickle of milk can also be noticed from the nipples as the time for delivery nears.
Signs Delivery Is Imminent
- As the time for delivery draws on, the bitch is likely to grow restless and will actively prepare the place where she intends to deliver her pups by squatting newspapers, blankets and sometimes even your precious couch.
- A drop down in body temperature to 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit and held for two readings taken twelve hours apart signals impending delivery within the next 24 hours.