You won't catch your female dog with a midnight craving for pistachio ice cream and potato chips on the side. You won't find her eagerly reading pregnancy manuals, either. If you want to determine whether your pooch is indeed pregnant, you can look at her vulva for changes. An appointment with the veterinarian can also confirm your inkling.
Vulva Appearance Changes
Female dogs' vulvae do change in appearance when they're pregnant, but often not until the final week of gestation. If you think that your dog is pregnant by looking at her vulva, she might be less than a week away from giving birth. Female dogs are typically pregnant for roughly 63 days. If your dog is close to giving birth, her vulva might swell and appear bigger than normal. It also might have a slack, loose and soft appearance to it.
Swelling Right Before Birth
Many female dogs' vulvae become swollen when they're about a day away from whelping, too. If your dog's vulva is conspicuously swollen and she's behaving in an unusually antsy and fidgety manner, you might want to make some preparations for her upcoming birth. When female dogs are about to give birth, they often display nesting behaviors, too. Other signs that sometimes indicate that canine labor is near include throwing up, panting, trembling and digging.
Discharge During Pregnancy
Changes to a pregnant dog's vulva might not be limited to size and form, either. When dogs are pregnant, it isn't uncommon for their vulvae to produce transparent discharge -- mucus. The mucus sometimes can be pink, as well. Note, too, that pregnant dogs sometimes have discharge prior to miscarrying. This discharge generally isn't clear, however, but rather bloody. It also often consists of some pus. Notify a veterinarian as soon as possible if you think your pregnant dog miscarried. Discharge that has a greenish-yellow color can also be a sign of a problem that requires urgent veterinary attention.
Heat and the Vulva
Don't assume that all changes in your dog's vulva necessarily mean that she's pregnant. All healthy, unspayed, sexually mature female dogs regularly go into heat. This usually occurs about twice each year. If your dog is in heat, she might have a swollen vulva. She also might experience some bleeding from it, usually in the form of dribbles. If you don't want your dog to become pregnant and also want her to cease going into heat, talk to your veterinarian about spaying surgery. Spaying female dogs can be extremely beneficial for controlling the canine population. It also can offer health benefits, such as reducing dogs' chances of getting breast cancer.
- The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook; Betsy Brevitz
- ASPCA Complete Dog Care Manual; Bruce Fogle
- The Complete Book of Dog Breeding; Dan Rice
- ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs; Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld
- Quarry Hill Park Animal Hospital: Pregnant Dogs
- Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital: Care and Feeding for Your Pregnant or Nursing Dog
- Vetwest Animal Hospitals: Pregnancy and Your Dog
- Anicare Veterinary Group: Whelping (Giving Birth to Puppies)
- Symptoms and Solutions; Matthew Hoffman
- ASPCA: Spay-Neuter