4 Ways to Know if a Dog is Pregnant

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4 Ways to Know if a Dog is Pregnant
4 Ways to Know if a Dog is Pregnant

It is sometimes difficult to know if a female dog is pregnant or not. Pregnancy is only obvious in the last weeks (in all, there are nine) of pregnancy. It is at this stage that the belly reveals the presence of several puppies about to be born. The ideal is to take the dog to the vet, but it is possible to identify certain physical symptoms and changes in her behavior. These signs vary according to the stage of pregnancy - the early, intermediate and advanced stages.


Method 1 of 4: Observing Physical Changes

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 1

Step 1. Watch for changes in nipple color

One of the first indicators is when the nipples are more pink, swollen and protruding (“like “bouncing”) than usual. This transformation usually takes place two to three weeks after conception.

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 2

Step 2. Notice changes in the body

It can remain pretty much the same until the second half of the pregnancy. Between about 4-5 weeks, the waist starts to thicken and the belly to visibly grow.

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 3

Step 3. Avoid increasing the amount of feed ahead of time

This care is only necessary in the last 3 weeks. What usually happens with a certain frequency is that the owners start to give more food as soon as they start to suspect that the bitch is pregnant. As a result, she accumulates fat in her abdomen and gives the impression of having several puppies in her womb, even without being pregnant.

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 4

Step 4. Keep noticing changes in the body

In the final stretch (Friday to Ninth week), the belly is well rounded and distended. The mammary glands begin to develop and become more visibly swollen as they are preparing to produce milk.

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 5

Step 5. Try to feel the movement of the embryos

For the past three weeks, you can feel the sides of her belly moving due to the pups writhing in her uterus. Just place the palm of your hand close to the side of the belly to see the puppies moving.

But don't be disappointed if you can't feel anything. It could be that babies are very well protected by the placenta, well embedded in the belly. Therefore, it is impossible to feel their outline or their shapes (at best, you can check their movements)

Method 2 of 4: Behavioral Changes

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 6

Step 1. Don't expect drastic changes

Every bitch reacts differently to pregnancy. Some are tired and more reserved early on (although these signs also show up when the animal becomes ill), while others hardly change until the sixth week.

In the past 3 weeks, she may have difficulty moving around due to the size of her belly and feel more sleepy

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 7

Step 2. Prepare for variations in her appetite

As the home stretch approaches and the puppies take up more belly space, she will no longer be able to accommodate large meals in her stomach. As a result, she will start eating a little at a time and more often.

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 8

Step 3. Note that she is not starting to assemble the nest

When the day of delivery is about to arrive, she will feel the need to gather pieces of cloth and take them to a secluded spot. This instinct fulfills the desire to provide a warm and safe environment to welcome the new offspring.

If this is the case with your dog, it is because pregnancy is already in the last three or two weeks before she gives birth

Method 3 of 4: Professional diagnosis

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 9

Step 1. See a veterinarian

If you suspect that she is pregnant, it is worth going to a veterinary clinic or a pet shop so that this professional can clear up your doubts. There are several methods that confirm pregnancy definitively if done at the correct time.

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 10

Step 2. Ask him to take an exam

In it, bodily signs are examined, especially in the belly. He will feel the side of the belly to try to feel the puppies. The problem is that you can sometimes confuse a puppy with the feces in the intestine. The opposite also happens.

The ideal time to have a touch test is 28 to 35 days after conception. Before that, there are not enough differences to confirm the pregnancy. And, after this time, the animals can be confused with food or feces, for example

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 11

Step 3. Ask him to check the heart rate of the sprouts

From the sixth week onwards, you can hear their hearts with a stethoscope against her stomach. The problem is that this method is much more difficult in dogs than in humans, due to the fact that the bitch's belly is rounded, unlike the flat bellies of women. Another factor that hinders this exam is the noise that the puppies' fur makes in the uterus.

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 12

Step 4. Request a blood test

It is relatively more reliable than the above methods as it detects the presence of a hormone called relaxin, which is present during pregnancy.

  • To avoid a false negative result, try to perform the test only after 28 days of pregnancy (ie, after the fifth week).
  • There may be false negative results, but if the result is positive, it is certain that the bitch is pregnant, regardless of the date the test was done.
Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 13

Step 5. Another option is ultrasound

Depending on the experience and qualifications of the radiographer, he can detect pregnancy when the embryos are only 16 days old.

  • If the animal is docile, the procedure can be done without the use of sedatives.
  • If the bitch is very hairy, the machine operator will have to cut the belly hair so that the probe is close to the belly.
Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 14

Step 6. An alternative is X-ray

It has lost space for ultrasound, but it is very useful to know how many pups are present in the uterus at the end of pregnancy.

Knowing the number of the offspring can save lives, as you can check if all the puppies were born safely. The x-ray result can reveal a puppy that is still in the uterus, even when the labor has stopped. In this case, it is ideal to have the supervision of a veterinarian close by

Method 4 of 4: Identifying Early Signs

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 15

Step 1. In the beginning, you need to be patient

Pregnant bitches suffer from morning sickness just like people. However, nausea will only appear 21 days after mating. Symptoms typically last one to two weeks. On day 21, look at the dog's gums. If she's mated, her gums will turn white. The color change is due to the fetus, which is attaching itself to the uterus, drawing blood from her body. Therefore, the bitch's gums will be white for a day or two. There's nothing to worry about. Call the veterinarian if the gums remain white any longer

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 16

Step 2. Keep an eye out for changes in the animal's disposition

There are those who start to suspect a pregnancy when the bitch is quieter than usual. There is no scientific evidence for this, but the fact is that, at this stage, changes in hormone levels affect each female differently.

For example, while some become more reserved, others become more affectionate and needy. There are still those who begin to isolate themselves in such a way that they even reject company

Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant Step 17

Step 3. Look closely for symptoms of illness

Although changes in behavior and nature can be attributed to a pregnancy, the possibility of a health problem cannot be ruled out. It is important to monitor it closely to check that there are no signs of malfunction, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing or vaginal discharge.

If she has mated and, some time later (days or weeks after mating), starts rejecting food, this is more likely to be a health problem that should be checked by the veterinarian than a pregnancy. Other warning signs include vaginal discharge (which is NOT normal when they are pregnant) or frequent vomiting


Try to be careful with the belly of the bitch, even if she is not pregnant. This way, you avoid hurting her or harming potential puppies


  • If the bitch giving birth isn't used to having a lot of contact with people (being touched, picked up, etc.), she may end up biting someone at that time. So be very careful! Keep children and strangers away from her "nest". Also, don't let them get close to the area where the puppies are staying.
  • A phenomenon known as false pregnancy is very common among dogs. A few weeks after coming into heat, they may begin to show signs of pregnancy such as nipple growth and an increased appetite. All this even without being really pregnant. That's why it's best to see a veterinarian.

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