Is my Dog Pregnant? or in Labor!?
Canine pregnancy can be difficult to detect, but here are some tips to help you figure out if your dog his having puppies.
If your dog is not acting normal, or is less then enthusiastic about what she normally is, it could be many things including pregnancy. There are some indicators that can help you tell whether or not puppies are in your future.
First make sure that your dog is a candidate for getting pregnant. Dogs do not reach sexual maturity until 18-24 months depending on breed of dog. Its a good idea to find out about your breed when you purchase a dog. Dogs will only get pregnant when they are in heat.
Shorty after a dog has become impregnated, the dog will generally become more cuddly, loving, and playful. During pregnancy a dogs nipples will grow, the increased hormone levels will lead to mood swings and may cause lack of interest in physical activities. Pregnant dogs will also start to show their mothering instints and will become more protective. If you think your dog may be pregnant, its best to see a veterinarian.
Like with people, the best way to detect a pregnancy is using an ultrasound. The untrasound will detect fetal heartbeats and determine if your dog is having a litter. Blood tests can also be done to look at hormone levels. During pregnancy dogs produce a hormone called relaxin.
A experienced veterinarian can detect a pregnancy by just feeling your pets abdomen as soon as 10 days after pregnancy. About a month after pregnancy starts, the dog's uterus will begin to noticably swell. An xray can show how many puppies will be in the litter.
So how do you know when its time for your dog to have her litter? About a day before having the litter, most dogs will show a large drop in body temperature. This is a great signal to get ready for labor. As labor starts, its very common for a dog to shiver and vomit. Just before labor dogs will lose their appetite and start looking for a place to give birth. Most dogs will want their owners close by as they are going into labor.
If your dog is starting labor, you should put her in a whelping box. Shaving your dogs belly prior to to labor will help the puppies find nourishment quicker after birth.
During labor the dogs cervix will become dialated to open the birth canal. It is normal that your do will pant, be restless and strained throught the labor. In general, your dog will not need human intervention with the labor itself, but will be seeking comfort from you.