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Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy in Dogs

In some circumstances, dogs may accidentally breed in an unplanned manner. In other cases, however, an owner may purposely breed dogs in hopes of a new puppy litter. No matter the situation, it is important that you are able to notice and identify the signs that your dog is pregnant so that you can take proper medical action. Here are some of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy in dogs.

  1. Change in appetite can happen on both ends of the spectrum during canine pregnancies. Not all dogs experience the same symptoms, but some will go through a dog version of morning sickness. They may eat significantly less food at first, but will make up for it during the term of their pregnancy. Don’t panic or try to force your dog to eat. She will regain her appetite with time. Offer 2-3 feedings each day so that she has ample opportunities to get something in her stomach. Others may experience a sudden increase in appetite almost right away. You may find that she quickly eats all the food in her bowl immediately. While it is okay to indulge her, just make sure she doesn’t overload her stomach and overeat.
  2. Decrease in activity and energy levels is common with canine pregnancies. Upon pregnancy, a typically energetic dog may become lazy and lethargic. Just like women, female dogs experience feelings of exhaustion as their hormone levels are changing to support the embryo they are carrying.
  3. Nipple growth and development is a very apparent and reliable way to determine if your dog is indeed pregnant. Normally the nipple region is flat and the nipples are small. However during pregnancy the flesh beneath the nipples will develop in preparation for milk production.
    4.Change in nipple color is also common in pregnant dogs. Not only will the nipples develop and grow, but also they will change slightly in color to a light pink color or even a slightly gray tone. This color change especially happens on the last 4 to 6 nipples closer to your dog’s hind legs.
  4. Finally, a common side effect of dog pregnancy is behavioral changes. At times female dogs may become more affectionate and loving, to the extent that they may even be clingy since they too notice their behavior changes and feel uncertain and unsure. At other times, pregnant dogs may become irritable and grumpy. They may prefer isolation and may try to seek their own private space where they can be alone.

As with any pregnancy, your pregnant dog will experience lots of bodily and mood changes that are out of character. Your dog may have a change in appetite, a decrease in activity levels, nipple growth and change in color, as well as a change in behavior. Once you notice these pregnancy signs, you will be able to care for your dog appropriately by taking her to a vet with top of the line Keebovet equipment, providing her with proper nutrition, and ensuring that she rests enough.

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