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Dog Pregnancy Signs

Dog Pregnancy Signs: A Comprehensive Guide


Pregnancy in dogs, also known as gestation, is a crucial period that requires proper care and monitoring to ensure the health of both the mother and her litter. Understanding the signs and symptoms of dog pregnancy is essential for responsible pet owners. This comprehensive guide will provide an in-depth look at the various signs of pregnancy in dogs, from the early stages to the final weeks.

Early Signs (Weeks 1-4)

  • Behavioral Changes: Dogs may become more affectionate, clingy, or protective.
  • Increased Appetite: The mother’s appetite may increase as her body prepares for the growing litter.
  • Weight Gain: A gradual weight gain is a common sign of pregnancy, especially in the later stages.
  • Nesting Behavior: Dogs may start collecting materials and creating a comfortable nesting area.
  • Vulva Enlargement: The vulva may become slightly enlarged and pinker in color.
  • Vaginal Discharge: A clear or slightly milky vaginal discharge may be present.

Mid-Term Signs (Weeks 5-8)

  • Abdominal Enlargement: The abdomen will start to expand as the puppies grow.
  • Fetal Movement: Around week 6, the mother may start to feel the puppies moving inside her.
  • Increased Thirst: The mother’s thirst may increase due to the increased metabolic demands.
  • Breast Enlargement: The mammary glands will start to enlarge and produce milk.
  • Weight Gain: Weight gain will become more noticeable as the puppies grow.

Late-Term Signs (Weeks 9-12)

  • Significant Abdominal Enlargement: The abdomen will be significantly enlarged and the puppies’ movements may be visible.
  • Frequent Urination: The mother may urinate more frequently as the uterus presses on the bladder.
  • Nesting Behavior Intensifies: The mother’s nesting behavior will become more intense as she prepares for labor.
  • Temperature Drop: The mother’s body temperature may drop 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit 24-48 hours before labor.
  • Weight Gain Slows: Weight gain may slow down or stop as the puppies descend into the birth canal.

Other Signs

  • Morning Sickness: Some dogs may experience morning sickness, similar to humans.
  • Lethargy: The mother may become more tired and lethargic as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Changes in Coat: The mother’s coat may become thicker and glossier.
  • Behavioral Changes: The mother may become more protective of her territory and her owner.

Confirming Pregnancy

While the signs mentioned above can indicate pregnancy, it’s essential to confirm it through veterinary examination. The veterinarian can perform a physical exam, ultrasound, or blood test to determine if the dog is pregnant and estimate the due date.

Duration of Pregnancy

The average gestation period in dogs is 63 days, but it can vary from 58 to 70 days depending on the breed and individual dog.

Care During Pregnancy

Pregnant dogs require special care to ensure their health and the well-being of their litter.

  • Nutrition: The mother’s diet should be adjusted to provide additional calories and nutrients.
  • Exercise: Moderate exercise is recommended throughout pregnancy, but avoid strenuous activities.
  • Prenatal Care: Regular veterinary checkups are crucial to monitor the mother’s health and the puppies’ development.
  • Nesting Box: Provide a comfortable and private nesting box for the mother to give birth in.
  • Emotional Support: Pregnant dogs need plenty of love, attention, and emotional support.


Understanding the signs of dog pregnancy is vital for responsible pet ownership. By recognizing the early and late-term signs, you can provide the necessary care and support for your pregnant dog. Confirming pregnancy with a veterinarian is essential to ensure proper prenatal care and estimate the due date. With proper care and monitoring, you can help your dog have a healthy pregnancy and a successful birth.

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