While a woman may display the glow of pregnancy well before it begins to show on her belly, your pregnant canine companion is not as forthcoming with news of her pending litter. The average canine gestation period is 63 days; in many cases, your dog may not display signs she is pregnant until 40 days into her pregnancy. Even if she does display signs, often the only ways to confirm pregnancy are ultrasounds, X-rays or abdominal palpitations performed by a veterinarian.
Pregnant or Under the Weather
In the few weeks of pregnancy, the only noticeable sign may be a slight increase in weight. If your dog experiences morning sickness, this typically occurs near the third or fourth week. Signs may include loss of appetite and occasional vomiting. You may also notice a slight mucus discharge from your dog’s vulva.
Body Changes and Birth Preparation
As your dog nears day 40 of the gestational period, physical changes may appear more noticeable. You may notice her teats appear darker pink and her mammary glands enlarge. There may be a milky discharge from the teats. Weight increases in the latter days of gestation, and you may notice abdominal swelling. In small-breed dogs or females with only one pup, abdominal growth may not be noticeable. While the gestating dog may have lost her appetite in the beginning, her appetite returns and increases. During pregnancy, often behavioral changes present, such as seeking isolation or becoming aggressive. As the delivery date approaches, you may notice nesting behavior.