Have you ever wanted to have puppies? Or are you worried you waited too long to bring her to your Albuquerque vet to be spayed and she might be pregnant? How do you know if your dog is pregnant? Dogs are pregnant for 3 trimesters. Each trimester lasting about 21 days. In case you are doing the math in your head, that is about 63 days of pregnancy or roughly just over two months. Let’s look at some ways to know if your dog is pregnant.
Early Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs
It is pretty hard to tell if your dog is pregnant during the first few weeks. Very few dogs get morning sickness and if they do it is only for a few days during their 3rd or 4th week. It is pretty easy to just think they ate too much grass or just had an upset stomach. Some dogs will gain weight but unless you weigh your dog regularly you are not likely to notice. If you do think your dog is pregnant you should bring her to your Albuquerque vet for a prenatal checkup. Your vet will be able to do a blood test to check for elevated levels of relaxin, which is a pregnancy hormone. If you take your dog to the vet after their 4th week, or in their 2nd trimester, she will be able to feel her belly and confirm if she is with puppy.
If your vet confirms that your dog is pregnant she will help you set up good prenatal care, such as what her diet should be. She may also test your dog for parasites to make sure that none are present that could put the puppies at risk. Some vets may give your dog an ultrasound to look at the puppies and check how they are growing and see how many there are. Most vets don’t do this unless specifically requested.
Later Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs
As your dog approaches her third and final trimester you will see that her belly starts getting bigger. This is when she will start to look pregnant. By about day 40 her nipples will get darker and bigger. As she gets closer to her due date her milk may start coming in and some milky fluid might start trickling out of her nipples. Some vets like to give your dog a third-trimester checkup around day 45 to make sure that everything is coming along and that there are no complications. By this time your dog’s belly may start to sway as she walks.
In the last two weeks of pregnancy you may be able to see the puppies moving and kicking in her belly, or feel them if you rest your hand gently on her belly. Some vets like to check your dog again to verify the size of the puppies. If the puppies are too big your dog may need a c-section, where they surgically remove the puppies. C-sections are not very common. Most dogs are able to birth naturally.
It is a good idea to set up a nice birthing area for your mama dog, where she can give birth and take care of her newborn puppies. Your Albuquerque vet will be able to guide you in setting up a nice birthing room.
Puppy care is a whole other chapter of pet care adventures. Your puppies will need their first set of shots at 8 weeks and that can also be a good time to get them checked out by the vet. Some vets may want to look at your puppies shortly after they are born, or examen at the mama to make sure she has no post-pregnancy complications. Check with your vet about when you should bring in the mama and puppies for their first checkup