How to Determine Gestation in Dogs

by Naomi Millburn

    Since your female pooch isn't going to purchase a pregnancy test on her own, it's up to you to figure out if she indeed is expecting a litter of puppies. You might be able to pick up on some of the signs of gestation after a while, but a veterinarian can tell you for sure what's going on.

    Step 1

    Look at your female dog's stomach area. Dogs don't show signs of pregnancy in the beginning; after a few weeks you might notice some subtle weight gain, specifically in her abdominal region. Some pregnant canines gain weight in general, too, not just in their bellies. If your dog looks "fuller" than usual, look into the situation.

    Step 2

    Monitor her for possible indications of morning sickness. Pregnant female dogs, just like pregnant women, experience the frustration and discomfort of morning sickness. In dogs, this usually occurs during the initial weeks of pregnancy. Throwing up, appetite loss and languor signify potential morning sickness in dogs.

    Step 3

    Check her mammary glands. If your pet's mammary glands not only look swollen but also appear to have taken on a reddish appearance, she might just be carrying a litter. Gland swelling and discoloration usually happens late in pregnancy.

    Step 4

    Look for discharge. The presence of vaginal discharge is often a big clue of canine gestation, usually showing up around the middle of pregnancy. This discharge often looks like mucus and is transparent. It sometimes even is a tad pinkish in coloring. If it is greenish-yellow or contains blood, contact your veterinarian immediately. That could point to complications in the pregnancy.

    Step 5

    Look for hints of nesting behavior. When a female dog is close to giving birth to a litter of puppies, she might start nesting. If she begins acting in an uncharacteristic antsy manner and is constantly looking to be alone, it might be a sign that she's preparing for parturition by looking for a suitable birthing spot. You might even see her ripping up papers, blankets and towels -- all in efforts to get her birthing site ready. Female dogs in this late stage of pregnancy also sometimes are easily agitated. Panting and zero appetite both are common at this point.

    Step 6

    Enlist the veterinarian. As soon as you think that there might even be the slightest possibility of pregnancy in your dog, call the vet for an appointment. Veterinarians can confirm doggie pregnancies in numerous different ways, including both ultrasound and abdominal palpation. Prenatal veterinary attention is a must for any pregnant canines.

    Tip

    • If your pet's whelping is right around the corner, you might see milk coming out from her nipples. Milk generally is a sign that the puppies are coming soon.

    Warning

    • If you think your pet might be pregnant, don't ever offer her any medicine -- prescription or otherwise -- unless you have the OK from your vet. This also applies to nutritional supplements.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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