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Pregnant Dog Symptoms

What to Expect When Your Dog Is Pregnant

By Madeleine Burry. March 26, 2013 | See Comments

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Pregnant Dog Symptoms

If your dog is pregnant, she may experience some symptoms similar to those of a human's pregnancy. Learn what the symptoms of a dog's pregnancy are.

Is your dog pregnant? Her experience will not be the same as a human pregnancy, although some aspects, like morning sickness, are similar. One big difference is that a dog’s gestational period is a whole lot shorter than a person’s -- about nine weeks. Find out some of the symptoms you should expect to see your dog experience, and when those symptoms will hit.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

In the early weeks of your dog’s pregnancy, she will likely have a reduced appetite and may experience some morning sickness. Just as with people, her body will be experiencing an influx of hormones, as well as physical changes as her uterus becomes enlarged. She may also display behavioral changes, like being more distant than usual. Some dogs may show the reverse behavior, and become very clingy and attached. It’s also possible that your dog may have a lower energy level than usual.

The Middle Period of Your Dog’s Pregnancy

After the first month or five weeks of your dog’s pregnancy, her appetite will experience a vigorous return. Her belly will begin to grow, and she will weigh more. The change to your dog’s belly will be most noticeable in a smaller dog. It’s also possible at this point in your dog’s pregnancy her nipples will grow enlarged, and some hair may be shed around the nipple area.

The Final Weeks

In the final weeks of pregnancy, from around week six to eight or nine, when your dog will deliver her litter, you may notice her displaying nesting behavior. She will seek to find a comfortable, quiet space to give birth. Help her out by preparing a whelping box with towels or sheets -- that you’re willing to part with -- layered over waterproof plastic. Your dog’s abdomen will grow thick and firm. She may also be a bit moody in these final weeks of her gestational period -- if she is cranky or restless, that is likely the result of her discomfort and oncoming labor.

More on Dog and Puppy Care

Puppy Care Basics
What to Look for in Dog Food Ingredients
How Old Is My Dog?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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PREGNANT DOG SYMPTOMS at a glance

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  • 1Your dog’s symptoms will change over the course of her pregnancy.
  • 2Expect morning sickness in the early weeks of her gestation.
  • 3Your dog will have an increase in appetite and some physical changes.
  • 4Help your dog with her nesting behavior by creating a comfortable area for her to give birth to her puppies.