Is your dog pregnant? There are some dog pregnancy signs and symptoms to help you find out if she is. The first question that should come into your mind is if she has recently been on 'heat.' Dogs reach sexual maturity as early as 6 months or as late as 16 months, depending on the breed and the individual dog. While this means that they are able to get pregnant, it advisable to know that a dog should not be no less than 18 to 24 months old before being pregnant.
The following list is the progressive signs of dog pregnancy. It is important to note that not every bitch will experience each and every symptom. It is usually the presence of a group of symptoms that gives owners a decent idea of whether their dog is truly pregnant.
1. Anything that deviates from your bitch's normal behavior might be an early indication of pregnancy. For example, a stand-offish bitch may suddenly become clingy, while a normally affectionate bitch may seek to be left alone.
2. Many bitches will experience a drop in their appetite during the first few weeks of pregnancy, becoming reluctant to eat anything. Eventually, their appetite returns with gusto and they will require nearly twice their normal amount of food to support the pups.
3. Some, but not all, bitches will vomit intermittently during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This can range from clear mucous to actual food. The use of the word "morning" can be a bit misleading since the vomiting can occur at any time of day.
4. Many females will show some level of breast development after a heat cycle. However, continued breast growth is a good indicator that a pregnancy is under way.
5. Many bitches will spend a good deal of their time resting, if not fully sleeping. This is mainly noticed during the early and final stages with the bitch rebounding a bit during mid-pregnancy.
6. This is natural and should only be cause for alarm if the discharge develops a foul odor or a brownish color. Green discharge, especially late in the pregnancy is usually a sign that a pup has defecated in uterus.
7. As the pregnancy progresses, the growing pups will naturally cause the bitch's abdomen to grow in size. This growth usually isn't noticeable until mid-pregnancy.
8. The continued breast development noted in early and mid-pregnancy typically leads to milk production during the last stage of gestation. However, some females won't produce milk until the puppies actually begin to nurse, so a lack of milk is nothing to worry about at this point.
9. Once the puppies reach decent size, they can be felt by gently laying your hand on your bitch's abdomen. You won't feel movement if the pups are asleep, so the best time to check is after your bitch has had some mild exercise, such as right after a walk.
The surest way to know if your dog is pregnant is to visit the vet. At 20-30 days post conception, an experienced vet will be able to feel the dog's abdomen and know if she is pregnant. 25 days after breeding, the vet will be able to detect fetuses with an ultrasound, and 45 days after breeding, the number of pups can be determined by an X-ray. A dog's pregnancy lasts, on average, 63 days. There is lots of room for variation in this, with some birthing as early as 54 days or as late as 74 days.
By Douglas Achachi