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How to Know if your Dog is Pregnant? – 6 Signs Of Pregnancy In Dogs

Greeting new puppies in the house is a pleasant experience that every dog owner wishes to witness once in their lifetime. But breeding a dog is a stressful task in which the owner has to pay special attention to the dog during that period. It is a big responsibility, and you must learn a lot about dog pregnancy. But, how to tell if your dog is pregnant? There are several ways to know about it. You have to understand every piece of information related to the dog’s health conditions so that you can welcome healthy puppies into this world. Keep reading the guide to gather details about the early signs of dog pregnancy and the methods to analyze whether your dog is pregnant.

How to Tell If Your Dog is Pregnant?

Proper care of the mother dog is possible only when you get assurance about your dog’s pregnancy. Although dogs can’t go to a clinic and check for their pregnancy, the dog owner needs to look for methods through which you can determine if the dog is pregnant. so, how to know if your dog is pregnant? There are multiple ways of doing a dog pregnancy test, but diagnostic testing has been considered the most precise method to know about dog pregnancy. Here are complete details about the different methods available to know how to tell if your dog is pregnant or not.

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#1 Palpation Method

Palpation method works well if you remember the date the dog was bred. Knowing the breed date, you can take the dog to your veterinarian within 28-30 days. The vet will perform abdominal palpation to understand the condition of the puppies. During this pregnancy stage, the puppies look like grapes or small golf balls, depending on the dog’s size. These little structures are sacks filled with fluid and surrounding the fetus. 

An important thing to remember is that abdominal palpation has to be performed only with the guidance of your veterinarian and not earlier before that. It is because this method can lead to damage to the puppies if attempted without the vet’s assistance. Further, the sacks start losing their distinct structure after 30 days, so the proper timing of palpation is a must.

#2 Hormonal Test

It is one of the most accurate tests to check a dog’s pregnancy. After approx. 30 days of gestation, you can visit a veterinarian for a progesterone test for dogs. The vet takes the dog’s blood sample to measure the dog’s hormone levels. The primary purpose is to see whether the dog is producing relaxin hormones. Relaxin is a hormone produced during only the pregnancy period, and therefore, the possibility of obtaining precise results is very high.

#3 Ultrasound Scans

You know how to tell if your dog is pregnant? Ultrasound scans method is also used within 25 to 30 days of gestation. Your veterinarian can perform an ultrasound to check for fetal heartbeats, as it can help estimate the number of puppies the mother dog is carrying. It is an effective technique because puppies’ heartbeats are usually 2 to 3 times quicker than the mother dog’s.

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#4 X- Rays for Dogs

When it comes to how to tell if your dog is pregnant? X-rays are considered to be another effective method to determine the pregnancy of the dog. However, in pregnant dog Xray is usually performed after two months or 55 days of gestation. The reason is that the skeletal systems of puppies don’t develop before this period, and it gets difficult to conclude anything through x-rays for dogs. X-ray techniques can provide you with a precise number of puppies so that you can make your preparations accordingly.

What are the Signs of Dog Pregnancy?

Apart from diagnostic tests, there are also natural signs of dog pregnancy. Although tests are accurate and can help you in other ways, many dog owners prevent spending money on them. There are distinct signs of pregnancy in dogs that you can see if she is pregnant, including:

  • Swollen belly
  • Sudden increase in appetite
  • Increase in the size of the nipple
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  • Fatigue and avoiding tiring work
  • Nesting behavior and irritability
  • Increase in affection

In addition to the above signs, if your dog is vomiting or showing signs of decreased appetite, then also you can take your dog to a vet for diagnostic tests. Due to hormonal changes in the starting weeks of pregnancy, the dog’s appetite gets reduced. However, this is not a clear sign, as appetite changes can also occur in other conditions. Similarly, a swollen belly/abdomen and weight gain can be the symptoms of other health problems. It is advised that whenever you notice any of the above signs in your dog, you should take her to the vet for a medical checkup so that her health conditions can improve quickly.

How Long are Dogs Pregnant?

Once you get assurance about your dog’s pregnancy, the next thing you have to know is how long are dogs pregnant and when you can welcome puppies into the world. Dogs are pregnant for about two months or approx. 62 to 64 days. However, it is quite difficult to predict the exact timing of the delivery as the breeding date is different from that of the date of conception. Additionally, the pregnancy period can vary for different dog breeds and litter sizes.

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You can understand the complete pregnancy period to get a better idea of the delivery date. During the first month of dog pregnancy, the fertilized eggs start moving toward the uterine horn. At this place, eggs fix themselves in the uterine lining at around 15 to 18 days. Early pregnancy marks quick fetal growth, and these swellings double in diameter every seven days. The vet can observe a fetal heartbeat at the end of the first month of pregnancy. The development intensifies in the second month of pregnancy when the embryos change their shapes and evolve into recognizable puppies. At the end of the second month or the initial days of the third month, the puppies become ready to enter this world.

How to Care for Your Pregnant Dog?

To ensure that the mother dog and puppies remain healthy at the time of delivery, it is necessary to take steps to keep your dog healthy throughout her pregnancy. Here are some effective steps that you can take while caring for a pregnant dog:

#1 Proper Meals and Nutrition for Dogs

In order to provide proper nutrition for dogs, you must provide them with the necessary food. You have to ensure that your dog receives the timely meals and nutrition required for the growth of puppies. If your dog has maintained a healthy weight and you also provide her with premium-quality dog food, then there is no need to change the regular diet plan and routine. You can prevent changing the diet for the initial 35 to 45 days unless the veterinarian suggests it. Please don’t increase the food amount during this period, as it can harm the puppies.

A dog’s weight increases in the last few weeks of pregnancy, so you have to increase the food consumption gradually or as directed by a veterinarian. You can increase dog food intake steadily and provide her with frequent but small meals. A large meal can result in discomfort for the dog.

#2 Regular Visits to the Vet’s Clinic

Regular medical checkups conducted by the vet are crucial for maintaining the dog’s health during pregnancy. When the vet ensures your dog is pregnant, you can also go for further examination to check for anatomical reasons that may act as a barrier to a normal whelped litter. Also, you can discuss whether a cesarean is necessary with your veterinarian in advance. If the need arises, you can schedule it before the puppies’ birth. However, if it is an accidental pregnancy, you can consult your veterinarian about future precautions.

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#3 Daily Exercise Sessions

If you want your dog to breed, it is suggested to restrict the heavy exercise during the initial two weeks of the dog gestation period. It can improve the implantation of the embryo. Then you can resume your dog’s normal exercise routine until her belly size increases. The most beneficial exercise for dogs in this phase is frequent and short walking sessions so that the mother pet can retain her energy levels and transfer the appropriate nutrition to her puppies.

#4 Vaccination for Dogs

Vaccination is another step you can take for your dog’s good health. However, vaccination for dogs should not be done during the pregnancy phase. It is better to vaccinate your dog before its pregnancy so that your canine friend and puppies can remain safe from different ailments.


Pregnancy is a crucial phase in the life of a female dog, where she requires proper attention and care to deliver healthy puppies. In order to ensure that puppies are born healthy, it is important to know about pregnancy as early as possible. You can notice different dog pregnancy symptoms and also consult your veterinarian for conducting a pregnancy test. It will help you make the necessary changes to your dog’s daily routine. Also, you must understand the your dog pregnancy time properly so you can take your fur buddy to the vet’s clinic at a fixed time for delivery.