A pregnant dog is sitting near the door.

10 Signs that Will Help You Recognize the Dog Pregnancy

5 min read

Recognizing human pregnancy is quite easy as there are several clear signs that will make you call for a doctor’s appointment. But what should you do when it comes to your dog who can’t just text you “my period is late; I think we need to talk”? The good news is, there are at least 10 signs of the dog pregnancy — read them and check whether you are going to be a lucky puppy parent soon.


Morning sickness is the first sign of human pregnancy, or at least that’s how they show it in all the Hollywood movies. And it’s something most of the doggies are experiencing too, even though some are lucky to skip this symptom. Those throws up might appear on the 3-4 weeks of pregnancy and should stop in a few weeks so don’t be worried unless the vomiting is excessive and significantly interferes with the dog’s usual eating regimen.

Decreased Appetite

One of the earliest signs of dog pregnancy is a lack of appetite. Your pregnant dog might start refusing food or start eating much less than she did before, even when it comes to her favorite treats. Don’t force her to eat and make sure to prepare some comfort food like boiled rice and beef. Contact your vet if the dog hasn’t been eating for more than 2 days. 

Low Energy 

A tired dog is lying in bed.
If an active dog suddenly gets tired and tends to lay down most of the time, it may be pregnant.

This symptom is not the case if your dog is usually calm and prefers spending most of her time napping on the couch. But if you are the owner of an energetic dog who is always ready to play or go for a walk, a sudden decrease in energy might be an early sign of pregnancy. The future mother’s hormones level changes to support the puppies so she might feel tired more than ever — so let her rest and cut down your morning runs together. 

Breasts Changes 

When your doggo is pregnant, her breasts will start to change and it’s a good sign. On 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, they will start getting bigger and look swollen. The nipples will start getting ready for feeding the puppies and thus grow. You might also notice them getting darker than usual — it’s a common thing that should not arouse any concerns. 

Body Curves 

Not only the dog’s breasts will start changing but her whole body as well. She might gain a little weight — from 20% up to 55% of her weight before pregnancy. As her tummy needs to fit at least a couple (and sometimes many more) of puppies, it will also start to grow. 

Vaginal Discharge 

Vaginal discharge is a typical sign of dog pregnancy. In most cases, it starts to appear not earlier than the 4th week and should be clear and have no smell. If you notice blood or mucus of any other color than clear/white or having some unpleasant smell — don’t hesitate to contact your vet as it may be a sign of an infection that can lead to pregnancy complications. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. 


A dog is hiding in the bed.
A pregnant dog is doing its best to create a comfortable place for the future puppies.

Nesting is a popular sign of pregnancy for dogs and other animals though it usually appears closer to the due date — sometimes 2-3 weeks but in most cases 2-3 days before giving birth to the puppies. When nesting, a dog starts to gather clothing or blankets in one place to arrange a warm comfy place for her upcoming babies.

Behavioral Changes

Mood changes are the inevitable part of any pregnancy and dogs are not an exclusion. You never know how it’s gonna be. Some dogs become more affectionate and try to spend as much time with their humans as they can, preferably cuddling. Some become grumpier and prefer being alone in a quiet place. Be attentive and try to understand your pet’s needs as her comfort during pregnancy will help her deliver healthy and happy pups.

Puppy Movements

It’s not something you can notice in the early stages of pregnancy but the closer is the delivery date, the more movement you’ll feel in the dog’s tummy. Some puppies are more active so the movements can be felt better, some are quiet, and sometimes you can’t feel them moving at all — it’s not necessarily the sign of something going wrong.

A Test at Vet’s

A vet is holding and hugging the dog.
The most accurate way to find out if the dog is pregnant is to visit the vet.

Even though all those things can be signs of pregnancy, the best way to recognize one is to get your dog an appointment at the vet’s. To verify pregnancy, the doctor might use several measures:

  • Dog pregnancy test. Be aware — human pregnancy tests don’t work for doggies. You can also buy one at a vet pharmacy and perform it at home.
  • Ultrasound. Ultrasound scan is one of the most accurate ways to tell whether a dog is expecting or not, even in the early stages (but not earlier than 4th week).
  • X-Ray. It’s not something we usually do with pregnant humans but dog’s pregnancy can be detected with the X-Ray as after 49-50 days the puppies skeletons will start to show up.
  • Relaxin test. This test allows recognizing a dog’s pregnancy as early as 21-25 days after mating. If the amount of this hormone in dog’s blood is increased — she is definitely pregnant.

Unlike humans, dogs’ pregnancy doesn’t take long, usually around 63 days only. So, it’s important to detect one as early as possible to ensure the maximum level of comfort for a future mother and do everything to keep her healthy. It’s best to take her to the vet as soon as you notice on of the signs we mentioned above and carefully follow their recommendations: pregnancy is not an illness but this special time requires some special attention.

by GetESA

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Pet Care