If you’ve bred your dog on purpose, then you likely already know to watch her for the early signs of pregnancy, but if your female pup is not spayed, you could be in for a surprise. A female dog in heat can be detected by intact males up to three miles away, thanks to their superior sense of smell. If your female was in the yard alone and encountered a male dog, you may not know until you realize puppies are on the way. Being able to spot the signs of pregnancy in your dog ensures she gets prompt medical attention and the support she needs to stay healthy. Here are some of the most common signs your dog is pregnant:

Changes in Behavior: A female that seems to need more sleep than usual and that spends more time lounging and less time playing may just not be feeling her best — or she may be expecting. Note any behavior changes; in the absence of an injury or illness, she could be in the early stages of pregnancy.

Nesting: It’s early, but your dog  may already be creating nesting spots in her bedding — or yours. This natural behavior is a sign that she could be preparing for puppies. Watch for shredded bedding and attempts at creating a den if you are concerned about pregnancy.

Changes in weight or body: Gradual weight gain, a thickening around the waist and overall heavier appearance may be signs of pregnancy. Since pregnancy increases appetite, weight gain is common. You may also notice her nipples become darker or more prominent as her pregnancy progresses.

The best way to determine if she is pregnant is to schedule a vet visit. One of our vets can perform an exam to see what is going on and either diagnose pregnancy or check for other issues that could be causing the changes. If you discover with relief that your dog is not pregnant, it is time to talk to your vet about spaying her; this false alarm could be a wakeup call that it is time for this safe and effective procedure.

Stop by or schedule an appointment to bring your pup in and have her seen; we can uncover exactly what is going on and give you peace of mind about your dog’s health and well being.

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