Written & Discussed by Dr. Samina Parveen (Veterinary Officer in ARD Dept. Govt Of WB)
Reviewed by Dr. Ramiz Mondal (MVSc. in Animal Nutrition)
False pregnancy in a pet is the result of a rapid decrease in the hormone progesterone and an increase in the hormone prolactin. These hormonal changes occur normally in an unspayed female about 6-8 weeks after she’s been in heat.
The same hormonal changes can also occur in a female who was spayed during a part of the heat cycle when she had high progesterone. The spay causes the same rapid progesterone decrease as the normal heat cycle, and this can result in a false pregnancy within 3-14 days of being spayed.
How do I know if my dog is really pregnant?
The areolas also become somewhat rounded compared to their usual flatness. You may also notice your dog’s nipples turning a slightly darker red than normal, which would indicate an increase in blood flow. Later into the pregnancy, her nipples may occasionally leak milk, as well. Have you noticed your dog acting a bit lazier than usual, or perhaps eating less of her evening meals? These can be signs of pregnancy, and if she otherwise seems healthy and happy, you may have puppies on the way!
1. Decreased Activity
If your dog easily becomes exhausted or is spending more time napping, it may indicate that she is pregnant.
2. Changes In Appetite
A pregnant dog’s appetite can fluctuate in different ways, depending on the dog and the stage of her pregnancy. Early or midway into the pregnancy, she may eat less or even vomit occasionally (the canine equivalent of morning sickness). However, she may also eat more than usual and this is quite normal.
3. Unusual Behaviour
If your dog is pregnant, you may notice certain changes in her behavior. A pregnant dog might spend more time at your side, looking for extra attention. On the other hand, a pregnant dog may seek isolation and not wish to be bothered.
4. Enlarged Or Discolored Nipples
The areolas also become somewhat rounded compared to their usual flatness. You may also notice your dog’s nipples turning a slightly darker red than normal, which would indicate an increase in blood flow. Later into the pregnancy, her nipples may occasionally leak milk, as well.
5. Weight Gain And Enlarged Abdomen
As the puppies grow, your dog’s abdomen will expand in size. This can be one of the clearest indicators of a dog’s pregnancy, especially if your dog has no other reason for sudden weight gain.
6. Nesting Behaviours
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, you may notice your dog begin to shred bedding and other available materials to create a nest. She may also become irritable and reclusive during this time, so it’s best to limit her contact with small children.
When to visit Vet?
If your pet is displaying symptoms of pregnancy, the best thing to do is to take her to see a vet and find out if she is pregnant or not. Your vet can perform an ultrasound to check for puppies in the womb, a blood test to confirm a pregnancy, and a physical exam.
- If your dog is not pregnant, but is displaying signs of pregnancy, then it is likely that she is experiencing the symptoms of a false pregnancy.
- If you do not wish for your dog to become pregnant, talk to your veterinarian about a spaying procedure. This will eliminate the possibility of pregnancy and prevent your dog from experiencing false pregnancy symptoms as well.
Feel for puppies in the womb. If your pet is actually pregnant, then you may be able to feel her puppies in the womb. It is important to be gentle when you feel for the puppies because too much pressure can hurt them. If you have never done this before, then ask your veterinarian for a demonstration first.
- Between the 28th and 35th days of a dog’s pregnancy, you should be able to feel the puppies in your dog’s womb. They will feel like walnuts.
- In the last two weeks of a pregnancy, you may actually be able to see the puppies moving in the womb.
Dog Pregnancy Confirmation: What are the Symptoms?
There are a number of visible signs you can expect to see from a pregnant Dam. Note that these signs of pregnancy in dogs may only appear 3-4 weeks in the pregnancy so your first weeks can sometimes be frustrating as if pregnancy is not happening, you will have to wait for her next cycle in a few months to try to breed her again.
If you think that your dog is pregnant and you’re looking for indications of dog pregnancy confirmation, here are early symptoms that can be seen in their first week of pregnancy. Some of the early pregnancy signs that your dog may experience include the following:
- Slight weight gain
- Morning sickness
- Increased (or diminished) appetite
Later Signs of Dog’s Pregnancy
As time goes by, confirming your pet pregnancy will be a lot easier because of these later signs that you may notice, these are physical and behavioral changes of your pregnant dog towards you. Some of these symptoms include the following.
- Mood changes
- More weight gain
- Enlarged nipples
- Firmer abdomen
- Lethargy and overall tiredness
- Clear mucus discharges
- Frequent urination
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