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What to Know if Your Dog Is Pregnant

How to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy for Your Dog

By Madeleine Burry. March 26, 2013 | See Comments

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What to Know if Your Dog Is Pregnant

If your dog is expecting puppies, you'll want to know how to see her through a healthy pregnancy. Here's what you'll need to know.

If your dog is pregnant, congratulations! It’s going to be an exciting -- if quick -- nine weeks until she gives birth to puppies. You’ll want to know what to expect, be prepared for her eventual labor, provide her with appropriate amounts of food and exercise, and make sure that her pregnancy is a happy and healthy few months.

Health and Veterinary Care for Pregnant Dogs

Ideally, even before your dog becomes pregnant, she will be in good health -- fully vaccinated, up on her shots, and free of any parasites. If she isn’t, make sure to visit the veterinarian to find out what treatments are required before she gives birth. Several visits to the vet will be necessary throughout her pregnancy and just after the birth of her puppies to ensure her health, help you know how many puppies to expect, and to anticipate any potential health problems or labor challenges.

Pregnant Dog Symptoms

In the early weeks of your dog’s pregnancy, her interest in food may decrease and she may become a bit withdrawn from you and others. As pregnancy continues, some common changes you’ll be able to spot are a growing belly, an increase in her weight, an enlargement to her nipples, a loss of hair around her nipples, and a hearty appetite. Read on for more signs of your dog’s pregnancy.

What to Feed a Pregnant Dog

The nutritional needs of dogs are slightly different when they are pregnant (much as they are for people). While your dog may be eating less food during the early weeks of pregnancy, she will start to need more food as the pregnancy continues. The size of her meals may also change, as she starts to have less space in her stomach due to the growing puppies within her. Learn what food your dog needs during pregnancy, and make sure you satisfy her nutritional needs.

Dog Pregnancy Tests

Finding out if your dog is pregnant is not so simple as having her pee on a stick. In all likelihood, a visit to the vet will be required to know for sure if she’s expecting. While tests are available for purchase, they will necessitate that you take blood from your dog, which may be a challenge at home. At the vet’s office, they can perform sonograms, x-rays, and palpate your dog’s stomach to determine the number of expected puppies.

Dog Pregnancy Calendar

Where human pregnancy is discussed in terms of months and trimesters, a dog’s quicker gestational period is measured out in weeks. In the early weeks, your dog may not seem very different at all, although her affect and behavior may shift due to hormones and morning sickness. In later weeks, physical changes will occur and your dog will need different amounts of food and exercise. Discover what to expect each week.

More on Dog and Puppy Care

Your New Puppy: Everything You Need to Know
Your Dog Food Questions Answered
Is Your Dog Sleeping Enough? 

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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