Your little Susie is in heat, and you never leave her unattended when it's mating season. But, despite Susie being an obedient girl -- love is in the air. You're with her in the backyard as she walks towards the fence. You turn your back for just a moment, and that’s when you discover your little Susie is very fast digger.
Depending on how long they were together, as well as the personalities of the male and female involved, occasionally there are signs of wooing. The hair around her face and down her back may be wet or matted from his licking. Also, there may be an odor around her vulva that is more distinctive than that of her heat cycle. Other than those two maybes, there aren’t really any tried and true telltale signs. That is, until about 20 to 28 days later.
The first week or so, you may notice subtle changes in her personality. She may be more affectionate, less energetic or show signs of nesting by keeping her toys in order and close. By the third week, her fertilized eggs are now embryos within the uterus, and are large enough to be palpated by an experienced vet. If you wish to know how many are in the litter, however, you'll need to wait for the puppies to develop further to get a more accurate count.
During this time, you will see belly swelling and noticeable breast and nipple development. There will also be hair loss around the nipples and across the stomach or nursing area. With an ultrasound, a veterinarian can see gestational sacs and heartbeats. After 45 days, many vets recommend an X-ray to get a clear skeletal count and look for potential problems or deformities.
Dogs do not always conceive with a first or one-time mating. A female can mimic many true signs of pregnancy even when her pregnancy is false. The only way to know for sure is by seeing your vet approximately four weeks after the suspected conception. Otherwise, at around day 63 you will also have your answer as a sweet litter of little puppies enters the world.
Unfortunately, this may happen on your best bedspread.
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