Pregnancy Diagnosis In Female Dogs - Physical and Behavioural Changes

Pregnancy Diagnosis In Female Dogs - Physical and Behavioural Changes

  • 15 Jun 2020

Pregnancy Diagnosis in the Female Dogs (Bitch)


Is Your Dog Pregnant? Know Everything about Pregnancy Diagnosis in Female Dogs

Having a family of your beloved pet is really different experience and gives a feel of parenthood. But, like for babies, in order to prepare is to get ready as soon as possible. So this article contains a few early signs that should help you to tell quickly if your dog is pregnant. If yes, then it will help you to make the most of the time you have to prepare and welcome the puppies at best.

Dog pregnancy period is normally between 58-62 days. When a female dog conceives, number of foetuses and health is main question. A pregnant bitch will not show many noticeable physical signs of pregnancy during the first month. However, during the second month of post mating, maximum changes are noticed changes. For example, increased food intake which may result into 20 to 50% weight gain, urinating a lot more often, decreased activity, changes in mood & behaviour, increased abdominal size and occasionally a clear vaginal discharge may be noticed. 


Early changes during pregnancy

The following are some signs changes of pregnancy in dogs, but these can differ from canine-to-canine in both the start of the symptom and the duration it lasts.

After First week (roughly 7 to 10 days) after mating - dog’s vulva remains swollen. Her mammary glands (aka nipples) may appear little enlarged and may change color from a light pink or gray, to a darker shade of pink. This is due to the increase in blood flow and development of mammary tissue due to hormonal changes.

After 3 to 4 weeks (21 days) after mating – partial or occasional anorexia (off feed) can be noticed for some time. This is normal phenomenon. It happens due to morning sickness. At this stage embryo plants itself in the uterus. Don't try to force feed as she will most likely resume her regular meals within two or three days. However, if it goes longer without eating any food or starts vomiting then may need to call or see your veterinarian. In some females an increase in appetite can be seen as soon as she becomes pregnant. If she is finishing quickly and looking for more then try to space her feeding out during the day. Increase in how much you serve her rather than regular quantity. Commercial diet / Starter food or puppy food can be given to meet out increased nutritional demand,

After 4 to 5 weeks (30 to 35 days) - more physical signs of pregnancy are visible. During this period i.e. 5th week onwards female dogs will often have vaginal discharge. If blood is seen with the discharge then a vet’s visit may be needed. Ultrasound can be performed during this period for confirmation of pregnancy.

Around 45 to 60 days - It is highly recommended period for visit to a vet to get it confirmed. An ultrasound or an x-ray may be needed for confirmative diagnosis of the pregnancy. During this time, the bones of fetuses get calcified and become visible. The abdomen will greatly increase in size during this period. Nesting behaviour is also commonly seen during this period and pregnant female dogs start to gather blankets or clothings in order to prepare a suitable and safe warm environment for puppies.

Finally, at around 58 days and onwards - puppies can be felt in the dog’s uterus very easily. During this time bitch will begin producing milk. Closer towards the due date of parturition / whelping / delivery changes in behaviour and a drop in her temperature can be noticed. Behavioural changes such as pacing, panting, shivering, and general restlessness are common But, these behavioural changes most often occur just before labour. If this occurs it indicates that she may give birth to her puppies with 12 to 24 hours.


The best way is to keep a close eye on both physical and behavioural symptoms of dog and consult a vet for better preparedness.



Que: Do female dog vomit during pregnancy like women?

Ans: Appetite changes are one of the signs of pregnancy in female dogs. This is somewhat like "morning sickness" for women except the dog doesn't usually vomit because of it.


Que: My pooch has increased mammary glands’ size and milk discharge, is she pregnant?

Ans: Check the history of mating and consult with your veterinarian to rule out pseudopregnancy / pseudocyesis. Pseudopregnancy is not real pregnancy and female dog has all the physical symptoms of pregnancy but actually do not carry any foetus or babies. 

To read about clinical methods of pregnancy diagnosis click here

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