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How to know if your dog is pregnant

Whether or not you and your dog are looking forward to puppies, you want to know as soon as possible if she's pregnant. This will help you know when to go to the vet, and prepare for the day you can expect to hear the pitter-patter of puppy paws. A doggy pregnancy lasts for about 63 days. Pregnancies can be hard on your dog's health—and your wallet—so please consider getting her spayed after the puppies are weaned.

The first sign of canine pregnancy is that your dog will want to be left alone more than usual. She will feel really tired and lose interest in playing.

Check to see if your dog's nipples are getting bigger. This can be a sign of a real or false pregnancy. Either one needs veterinary attention.

Take your dog to your vet. The vet can do a non-invasive test called a "palpitation" when the puppies are 28 days old. An ultrasound would need to be done if the puppies are suspected of being younger than that.

Watch for changes in your dog's eating patterns. When the puppies are about one month old, their mother's appetite will become enourmous. Her nipples will also become large and stay large. She should start showing a bump at this time. These are telltale signs that puppies are on the way.

Watch her behaviour as time goes on. When the third month of pregnancy approaches, Mom will look for dark, quiet, warm corners of your home to try and choose a place to make her nest. She might even drag her favourite toys to these places. You'd best make a nest for her and encourage her to go there.

Take her temperature as the day gets close. Your dog will usually give birth (whelp) within 24 hours from when her temperature drops to 37.2 degrees C. (Her normal temperature should be 38.3 to 38.8 degrees C.)

Tip

Use an ear thermometer rather than the usual anal thermometer. (Your dog will prefer it, and so will you).

Warning

Do NOT use this article in the place of taking your dog to see the vet!

Things You'll Need

  • Veterinarian, preferably one with an ultrasound device
  • Dog thermometer (optional)
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About the Author

Rena Sherwood is a writer and Peter Gabriel fan who has lived in America and England. She has studied animals most of her life through direct observation and maintaining a personal library about pets. She has earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Delaware County Community College and a bachelor's degree in English from Millersville University.