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Is your unspayed female dog acting differently than normal? Does she seem to have low energy? Has she been gaining weight? These could be signs that a litter of puppies is in your future! Let’s talk about how to tell if a dog is pregnant and go over some pregnant dog care tips from the vets at Anasazi Animal Clinic. 

What are the first signs of pregnancy in a dog?

Dogs carry their puppies for a term of about 63 days. Like humans, a dog’s pregnancy includes three trimesters. However, with dogs, the trimesters only last 21 days each. On average, a dog usually carries between six to eight puppies at a time. 

Pregnant dogs may not show a lot of signs within the first few weeks. A few things to look for include: 

  • Morning sickness vomiting
  • Change or lack of appetite
  • Slight weight gain
  • Lack of energy
  • Behavioral changes, such as a social dog wanting to be left alone or a shy dog who craves more attention

If you suspect your dog is pregnant, your best bet is to take her to a veterinarian for a full check-up. At the clinic, a veterinarian can confirm pregnancy through blood tests and an ultrasound

As the puppies grow, your dog may experience some other changes as well, including: 

  • Enlarged belly
  • Additional weight gain
  • Increased appetite 
  • Discolored and/or enlarged nipples
  • Vaginal discharge
  • “Nesting” behaviors such as shredding blankets and other fabrics to create a nest for her puppies. 

How do you take care of a pregnant dog?

Proper care for a pregnant dog means monitoring their diet and exercise. Knowing what to feed them and how much activity is healthy will help you care for your dog when she is pregnant. Here are some of our top care tips for dogs who are expecting. 

Increase Calories

A pregnant dog is eating for more than one! We recommend switching to a food with higher calories, fat, and nutrients to help keep your dog healthy and energized during pregnancy. If you ask us for suggestions, we can make a recommendation based on your dog’s specific needs. After the puppies come into the world, the new mom should continue with the same nutrient-rich diet while nursing. 

Keep Her Active

Although pregnant dogs may have lower energy, keeping them moving is still very important. Gentle exercise like short walks helps the mom-to-be’s body stay limber and strong. Try to avoid overstimulation and energetic activities after four weeks into the pregnancy. 

Be Careful about Flea Treatments and Vaccinations

Whenever possible, a dog should get all their vaccinations before becoming pregnant. We do not recommend that pregnant dogs receive vaccinations. And, while some flea treatments are usually okay for expecting dogs, always consult your veterinarian before using them. 

Pregnant Dog Care in Gilbert, Arizona

Helping your dog bring a litter of puppies into the world is a joyful, wondrous experience. Between the magic of nature and the cuteness overload, it’s something you will never forget. Your veterinarian plays a crucial role in managing your dog’s pregnancy and ensuring both mom and pups stay healthy. If you believe your dog might be pregnant, call Anasazi Animal Clinic at 480-497-0505.   

Photo by Andrew Kota from Pexels

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