A pregnant cat is lying on the white background.

Cat and Dog Pregnancy: When Can It Happen?

7 min read

The time when your dog or cat can get pregnant may vary from case to case but as a rule, dogs can become pregnant at the age of five months, while cats usually get pregnant as early as four months of age. No doubt, there is nothing better than to expect the birth of puppies and kittens. However, it is also true that it can be a stressful and difficult time for the pet’s caretaker. That’s just because you need to know so many things about your pet’s pregnancy that it might be confusing if you’re not equipped with proper knowledge.

If you too feel confused as for when cats and dogs can become pregnant, be sure – you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out more about the pregnancy of dogs and cats and you’ll soon realize that welcoming a new life is not always a complicated process.

Basic things you should know about cat and dog pregnancy

A pregnant cat is standing in front of e colorful wall.
The best way to check if a cat or a dog is pregnant is to use diagnostic testing.

When it comes to cat and dog pregnancy, such an option as taking a pregnancy test is definitely not a way out. However, there are many other methods to identify if your dog or cat is pregnant. The best way to do it is to use diagnostic testing.

Simply because you should thoroughly prepare for your pet’s pregnancy, you should do some planning in advance so that you know all about the dog and cat pregnancy and labor.

Length of pregnancy

As a rule, pregnancy of cats and dogs takes around 61-65 days on average. This implies that after this period of time, your cat or dog will be ready to give birth to the new life. Just like humans, dog and cat pregnancy is divided into three parts known as trimesters which usually last for 21 days each.

Remember that breeding of small dogs slightly differs from the breeding of large dogs. As a rule of thumb, the small male dog should be bred with a larger female pup. This will ease your pet’s labor so that the puppy or kitten will come out into this world without unwanted complications.

How early can pregnancy occur?

This is a widespread matter of concern for many owners of cats and dogs. In fact, cats can become pregnant at the age of four months or more. They usually have a litter when they reach the age of six months.

Many cat owners think that if their pet is constantly kept inside the house, it might not be necessary to spay it. Nonetheless, this is not always beneficial for the cat as it can lead to intense frustration that might provoke aggression, biting and other unwanted behaviors in your pet. In addition, if the cat is kept indoors, it can still get pregnant accidentally.

As for dogs, the situation here is a bit different. The age at which your dog can get pregnant depends on many factors like the size and breed of your pet. As a rule, most dogs get pregnant at the age of five months.

Early signs of pregnancy in cats and dogs

You might now be wondering how to tell if your dog or cat is pregnant. In fact, there are several ways to identify whether or not your pet has become pregnant. During the first several weeks, you may notice the early signs of your dog’s or cat’s pregnancy. Let’s find out what these signs are. 

Dogs

  • One of the early signs of dog pregnancy is sickness felt in the morning but it usually lasts only for a couple of days. As a rule, it’s caused by hormonal changes.
  • One more symptom is tiredness due to which your dog may eat less food. 
  • Your dog might also suffer from nausea and vomiting. If this happens to your pet, try to give less food to your dog throughout the day. 
  • You may also notice that your dog has an increased appetite. As a result, rapid weight gain is possible. 
  • Finally, the sign of the dog’s pregnancy is the growth of nipples. 

Note that the abdomen of your dog will also grow in size so it may feel dizzy and sway a bit while walking. When pregnancy is about to end, you might notice how the small puppy is moving inside your pet. 

Cats    

  • Just like nausea in humans, your pregnant cat may also suffer from vomiting during pregnancy. If you have noticed that its nausea has become too frequent, get in touch with the vet doctor as soon as possible.
  • In around 15-18 days of pregnancy, you may also notice that your cat’s nipples have become larger. This is usually referred to as ‘pinking-up’ and is completely normal for cats during this stage of pregnancy.
  • In addition, you may notice swelling of your cat’s stomach but try not to touch it so as not to harm the mother and its kittens. If the stomach swelling is caused by a different reason, watch out for other symptoms of disease and consult the veterinarian if they don’t disappear.
  • Be prepared that your pet will gain several kilos in weight (it depends on the number of kittens it is carrying). This is yet another sign that your pet has become pregnant.
  • Your cat’s appetite may increase during pregnancy which is another cause of weight gain that usually happens during cat pregnancy. Check with your vet doctor if you are worried about the problem of increased appetite in your pet.
  • Besides, pregnant cats usually show the signs of maternity by purring more than usual and seeking the attention of its owner.

Note that some vet doctors diagnose pregnancy in cats using ultrasound examination which is possible after 15 days of pregnancy. Such diagnostics may also help you identify how many kittens can be expected at the end of pregnancy. Remember that during cat pregnancy, smaller kittens may not be visible in the womb if there is a larger kitten inside your cat’s body. As a result, you might expect more kittens by the end of your pet’s pregnancy. 

Taking care of a pregnant dog or cat

A pregnant dog is lying on the sunbed.
It's good to give your dog food full of useful nutrients during the pregnancy period.

As soon as you find out that your pet is pregnant, there are a few steps you must take to guarantee that its health is in good order throughout the period of pregnancy. Here are some of them:

Proper dietary regime

Among the most essential things you can do for your pregnant pet is to guarantee that its dietary regime provides it with all nutritious substances required during pregnancy. If your pet already receives high-quality food and its weight is normal, you’ll hardly need to change its dietary habits during the first term of pregnancy but you should still follow the recommendations of your vet doctor. 

It’s better to give your pet canned food 2-3 times a day but you should try to avoid giving it dry food throughout pregnancy. As soon as it gains more weight during the last few weeks of pregnancy, it’s worth giving your pet more food so that it eats more than usual. Try to increase the food intake of your pet gradually and feed it in small portions as too large meals may provoke unwanted discomfort. 

Regular vet checkups

If you visit the vet doctor regularly, your pet will stay in good health throughout the period of pregnancy. The veterinarian will examine your pet to identify any undesired symptoms of disease or signs of discomfort and will also help to monitor fetal development

If your cat or dog becomes pregnant accidentally, you should also visit the vet doctor to take the necessary measures like spaying so as to avoid unwanted litters. During vet checkups, you may also ask the vet doctor what you can do in the case of emergency and arrange pregnancy planning in advance. 

Vaccination

It’s also important to ensure that your cat or dog is vaccinated prior to getting pregnant so as to improve the immunity system of the future mother. It will also protect kittens from illnesses.

Key Takeaways

The age, at which your dog or cat gets pregnant, depends on the breed and size of your pet. You should also keep in mind that it may be too expensive to delay the spaying of your pet if you don’t want it to become pregnant.

Surely, cat and dog pregnancy is not always an easy time for both of you. Therefore, you need to take a few steps that will let your pet stay healthy throughout this period. This includes proper nutrition, vaccination, and timely vet checkups. If you take all the precautions timely, the period of your pet’s pregnancy will not be as stressful as otherwise.

by GetESA

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Pet Care