What to Expect When Your Dog is Expecting

You think your dog is pregnant, but you’re not 100% sure. What do you do? Have no fear, we are here to help!

How can you tell if she’s pregnant? Here are some signs and symptoms that she’s expecting:

1. Decreased activity- She may want to sleep more than usual and not play as much.

2. Appetite changes- At the beginning of her pregnancy, she may not want to eat much, she may even vomit occasionally (doggie morning sickness). Towards the end of her pregnancy, she may want to eat a lot. She may also get picky with her diet as her hormones change.

3. Unusual behavior- Some dogs may want to be with their owner more often, even becoming clingy. But some dogs may want to be left alone and become irritable when they get attention. Again, every dog is different and it’s because of changing hormones.

4. Enlarged or discolored nipples- If she is pregnant, you will notice that her usually flat areolas will become more rounded. You may also notice a change in color to her nipples, they become pinker, as blood flow increases to the area. Closer to delivery, she may even start leaking milk.

5. Weight gain and enlarged abdomen- If your dog starts gaining weight for an unexplained reason, she may be expecting. This happens later in the pregnancy as the puppies grow, so if you are seeing this, it is probably a good idea to schedule a veterinary appointment to have her examined.

6. Nesting behaviors- An expecting mother may start to shred bedding and other materials to create a nest. This is where she is planning on delivering puppies. If she is in this phase of her pregnancy, it’s best to keep her away from small children as she may be irritable.

Kubiak (6)
Here’s mom in her whelping box.

Dogs are usually pregnant for approximately 63 days and they have trimesters, just like humans. Their trimesters are about 21 days long, though. If you think she may be pregnant, it’s a good idea to have her examined by a veterinarian 2-3 weeks after she was bred. At this appointment, the doctor will answer any questions you may have and can tell you, in more detail what food to feed, behaviors she may exhibit, and what to expect on her due date. At about 45 days, your veterinarian may want you to bring her in for an x-ray. This will check on the bone structure of the puppies and the vet can count how many puppies she’s having.

When it’s time for your dog to whelp (give birth), it’s best to watch from the sidelines and let nature take it’s course. Your dog’s mama mode will kick in and she will know just what to do. It’s best to not interfere, unless an emergency arises. Signs of an emergency could include abdominal contractions greater than 30 minutes with no birth or greater than 3 hours between puppies.



If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s pregnancy, we are happy to help. Call to schedule an appointment at (603) 437-1010.

**The mom, Jada, in the pictures above had 10 puppies (6 girls and 4 boys), successfully.  They were born 12-31-2018, New Year’s Eve babies!  All of the puppies came in for their 8 week check ups with Dr. Kulhanek in February and have gone on to new homes. Thank you to Meagan K. for the pictures!!


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