Pregnancy signs in dogs

How to Know if a Dog Is Pregnant

Alice T Breeze
By Alice T Breeze. Updated: February 7, 2017
How to Know if a Dog Is Pregnant

Dog pregnancy can sometimes be hard to detect. A responsible dog owner should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of pregnancy to guarantee an adequate medical attention. The most precise way of knowing if a dog is having puppies is to go to the vets. A simple blood test and an ultrasound will give you the answer.

But if your dog isn't sterilized and you suspect she can be pregnant, there are signs and symptoms that you can detect by yourself. Keep reading this oneHOWTO article if you'd like to find out how to know if a dog is pregnant.

You may also be interested in: How to Know if Your Dog had a Miscarriage

Physical signs that a dog is pregnant

All mammals suffer various changes when pregnant on several levels, and dogs are no exception. Therefore, if you're asking yourself how to know if your dog is pregnant, you must pay attention to its physical symptoms as well as other changes she may experiment from the fist days of gestation.

Inflamed mammary glans

One of the most noticeable changes you'll see if your dog is pregnant is to pay close attention to your dog's nipples, as they'll be more swollen. If you detect that they're bigger than usual, your dog may be several weeks pregnant, as the animal's body starts preparing to feed their litter with their own milk.

Nipples change

Your pet's nipples will also experience changes , you'll notice your dog's nipples will go harder than usual, as hormones are preparing to lactate. In some cases, you may even detect a liquid that is not yet milk, coming out of her nipples. This is another sign of dog pregnancy.

Bigger stomach

If you think your bitch is pregnant, this is an irrefutable sign that she is in fact expecting puppies. Check your dog's stomach to see if it has grown or swollen. This symptom is visible halfway through pregnancy. You can even feel the puppies if you softly touch her stomach.

Vaginal discharge

You'll also notice changes in her vaginal discharge, as it increases and can even change in color and consistency, but should never have blood like the type that appears during her heat or estrus phase.

Apart from these physical signs, we must also know how often dogs are in heat, to make sure your dog is not just going through one of the heat cycles and check if she has been crossed with a dog or not.

How to Know if a Dog Is Pregnant - Physical signs that a dog is pregnant

Mood changes in pregnant dogs

Apart from the aforementioned physical changes that pregnant dogs experience, there are also several behavioral changes that can warn us your pet is pregnant. To be 100% sure that your dog is pregnant, let's take a look at some of the possible mood changes that your bitch may have if she in fact is pregnant.

Eating habits change

One of the symptoms you'll notice during the first days of pregnancy is a loss of appetite. If your dog has a low appetite and eats very small amounts, she can be pregnant.

This only happens during the first days of pregnancy due to hormonal changes in your bitch. Your dog won't be hungry but, as days go by, her appetite will increase once again and she'll constantly be asking for food. To feed a pregnant dog correctly, you'll need to give her enough quality feed to ensure the puppies develop properly. A good idea is to feed your dog puppy food, as it has more nutrients.

Energy decrease

If she's generally active, playful and unnerved, and now, she looks unusually tired and inactive she could be pregnant. If your dog looks startled or shows signs of general discomfort, they could also be revealing signs too.

Preparing her nest to give birth

Check for "nesting" signs. This is the way your dog has of preparing for delivery and the puppies caring once they're born. They may scratch the floor or blankets to make them more comfortable. This process usually lasts for two months after getting pregnant, and when due date is getting closer, the dog starts looking for the ideal place to deliver her puppies.

Other behavioral changes

When the pregnancy is advanced and not much time is left to give birth, the dog won't want to go out for a walk and you may even hear her do some sobbing noises due to discomfort and nervousness. Moreover, her attitude towards family members will become colder due to her survival instinct to protect her puppies.

How to Know if a Dog Is Pregnant - Mood changes in pregnant dogs

Other things to take into account during your dog's pregnancy

Now you know if your dog is pregnant, you must pay attention to other highly important things you should take into account that can help your pregnant dog:

  • If you suspect your dog is pregnant due to any of the signs mentioned above, you need to take her to the vets immediately so she can be tested appropriately to confirm she is expecting and so that the vet can follow her pregnancy so she is healthy and to make sure everything goes fine.
  • It's also important to know how long a dog pregnancy lasts, as it's always around 2 months, but only your vet will be able to say if it's a log pregnancy or not during the last phase of pregnancy.
  • You should also know how you can pay attention to your dog while she's pregnant. This is why we recommend you take a look at our oneHOWTO article how to care for a pregnant dog step by step.
  • Moreover, another very important thing is that you may doubt if your dog's pregnancy is real or just a phantom pregnancy. The only safe way of knowing if your dog has a phantom pregnancy is taking her to the vet.
How to Know if a Dog Is Pregnant - Other things to take into account during your dog's pregnancy

If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if a Dog Is Pregnant, we recommend you visit our Pets category.


  • Look for a vet's medical attention as soon as possible if your dog is pregnant. Your vet can give you the best advice regarding your dog's food and care.
  • If your dog looks ill and you're not sure if she's pregnant, take her to the vets as soon as possible. Apathy and loss of appetite can also mean other problems.
Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
Emily Arthurs
Should it be ok for the pups father to come visit after birth? Also my dog got attacked by his mom after we adopted him and we went to visit them
OneHowTo Editor
Make sure the father is careful with the puppy, but there should not be a problem if the father is supervised.
Hope this helps
Do the dog nipples get cold when she pregnant
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Chad, In general, a dog's nipples don't necessary feel cold when she is pregnant. If you know for sure she is pregnant, what you may feel is its breasts developing tissue so they can store and feed milk, which may result in a "cold feeling". If you don't know for sure, the sign you have to look for is the swelling of the nipple. Hope it was useful! OneHowto Team
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How to Know if a Dog Is Pregnant