Dog Pregnancy Symptoms

Do you suspect a dog pregnancy at your house? is happy to begin a 5-part series on pregnant dogs. This first installment deals with pregnant dog symptoms. Future installments will include a care guide for pregnant dogs and newborn puppies and a quick-reference FAQ on dog pregnancy.

Pregnant pooch
A pregnant Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Canine pregnancies are very unlike human pregnancies. For example, human females become fertile every month, while dogs typically go into heat only twice per year. Bitches (female dogs, not nasty female humans!) may start having heat cycles as early as 4 - 6 months of age for small breeds or at 12 - 24 months of age in larger dogs. Each individual fertile period lasts 7 - 10 days, depending on the breed of dog. Dogs never reach menopause, so you could experience a dog pregnancy even in a very old bitch.

Dog Pregnancy Test

There is no blood or urine dog pregnancy test that can be used, as the hormonal changes a dog goes through are relatively similar whether the dog is pregnant or not. Therefore, you have to rely on symptoms of dog pregnancy, at least initially. Knowing when the dog mated will help you a great deal, but if you did not see the blessed event, you can still use this guide to pregnant dog symptoms to get a good idea of if your dog is pregnant or not.

Dog Pregnancy Stages

For about the first month, you likely will not see many outward dog pregnancy signs, as the changes inside your dog are microscopic. About 2 - 3 days after mating, the eggs are fertilized on their way to the uterus. At 10 or 11 days, the fertilized eggs implant themselves in the uterine lining.

The first symptom of dog pregnancy you are likely to notice occurs at 14 to 15 days after mating. If you look closely at the dog's nipples, you will see that they are becoming larger and turning a darker shade of pink. At about 20 days, the fur around the nipples will begin to thin out to allow the pups easier access to them.

nursing puppies
A brand new puppy nursing.

One of the most visible symptoms of dog pregnancy is present from days 21 – 28, when the bitch goes through morning sickness, similar to what human mothers experience in early pregnancy. Although dogs don't typically vomit as much as humans, they often lose their appetites and refuse to eat.

By 25 days after mating, you can notice one of the most important dog pregnancy symptoms - heartbeats! If you have access to a stethoscope, press it gently against the dog's abdomen and listen closely. You probably won't be able to pick out how many puppies are in there, but it's exciting to hear the little thumps, nonetheless.

By 30 days after mating, the embryos are big enough to be felt through the dog's abdominal wall. They will be about walnut-sized and can be felt well enough to determine how many puppies are in your pregnant dog. A dog pregnancy ultrasound can be taken at this point to verify the pregnant dog's litter size. Symptoms at this point are pretty easy to spot, as the dog's abdomen is rapidly growing.

Other dog pregnancy symptoms are swollen nipples and restlessness. Your dog may spend a lot of time grooming herself and may wander around, sniffing for places that would make a good den.

After six weeks, the puppies will be large enough that they begin crowding each other and squirming around. If your dog will allow you to touch her stomach, you can feel them, just as you would a kicking baby. The abdomen will feel hard and will be extremely large and stretched. At this point, the bitch may lose her appetite entirely, as her stomach will be crowded with puppies, leaving little room for food.

Spitz puppies
Puppies are a lot of fun, so enjoy your new pack members!

When does a dog pregnancy end?

Most dogs deliver their litters about 54 - 72 days after conception. A few days before the delivery, the key pregnant dog symptom is that her nipples will leak a milky fluid when squeezed. She may also have a clear discharge from her vagina. You should begin taking rectal temperatures twice a day when you see discharge from either place. When the temperature drops from 101 to 98 degrees, the dog will begin delivering within 12 - 24 hours, and your dog pregnancy will be at an end.

Enjoy your puppies!

Read Part 2 Dog Births on the Way – A Care Guide here


Leave a comment on this article here!


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i breed my dog a week ago and they both locked for about a half an hour now she don't eat as much and she sleeps a lot and her vulva is still a little swollen could this be a sign that she is pregnant
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thanks alot... i hope there is an article about pugs... about pregnancy and pups... thanks
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my 11 month old female shepard isn't eating n my 10 year old shepard (father) won't lets us touch her without him being right next 2 her. . . . is this a sign of pregnancy???
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My English Springer Spaniel came into heat on May 12th. I took her to the vet for a Bruc. test on the 14th and got a negative a couple of days later. I then took her in for a vaginal smear on the 19th and the vet said the cells looked matured and that she should be ovulating within the next several days. I bread her on the 21st and they connected but did not lock butt-to-butt. She was flagging fairly well but not great. The males around seemed interested but not crazed. I took her back to her boyfriend on the 22nd and they locked for 20 mins. Flagging and interest was much better. I took her back again on the 24th and again they locked for 25 mins...with interest still high from the male and her flagging well. She had a mild transparent brownish discharge for a couple of days after breeding and then it stopped. Her vulva was still a little swollen for a few days afterwards, too. Depending on how things worked biologically, this puts her right around 13 days +/- after breeding. Immediately after breeding she seemed to sleep quite a bit, was very clingy and wanted to be with me all of the time. As of right now (13+/- days) there doesn't seem to be any noticable sign of pregnancy and now has been eating like a horse. Is it common or possible that enlargement or pinking of the nipples might happen within the next few days or so? Other than the appitite, there doesn't seem to be any symptoms of her being preggers...? I thought it would be pretty obvious but am not seeing anything that tells me it took. Any ideas?
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Thats Great But i havea Question(hopefully will be replyed Quickly) I bread My dog they locked up a good 3-4 times for around 20-27 minsMy dog acts and looks Really Pregnate But i cant feel anything much less she sit still for me to feel around..Dose this mean it was a fluke preagnacy she should be haveing them soon she even dug herself a den...
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is it possible for the puppies to be to big to be drlivered?
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oh new born puppies r the best they r cute and special little angels i think when a dog has pups it is the most wonderful thing in its life!:)
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i have a miniature poodle and she is barely 12 weeks pregnant im scared of what is going to happen when she is having her little angels.
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i have a german sheperd mixed with a husky and it is barely 1 week old in pregnancy and im scared of what will happen next
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i have a chihuahua she already had her pups but it was very cool and scary i couldnt believe my eyeswhen the little angels came out:)!
do all dogs know what to do when their babies are born??? like my dog is super playful and eww, what if she doens't know what to do at birth?
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My Bichon has been pregnant for 21-25 days what should I do with our male? Is it ok to keep him around her or should I separate them for her and the puppies safety? This is our first time to have puppies so I am open to advice. Thank you .
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my rating on this article is a FIVe!Best information on the internet and I have looked for about a month.Thank you Sooooooooo Much ! This has been VERY helpful for me a first time breeder. Sincerly, Jessica
My chihuahua is six years old and she is pregnant. This is not her first litter, and she had some green discharge coming from her vagina, then a still puppy was born. I called the Vetrinarian and she said that there is nothing to worry bout, but I've nver seen this before. I looked it up on the internet and I read that you should act immediatly and go to your vet. But we don't have the money for an emergency c-section and we are scared for or dogs life.
Sara/[email protected]
I have a 2yr old Caridgan Welsh Corgi. I bred her 29 days ago and know she is pregnant.Can anyone tell me if she shold be having a dark red discharge this soon? Any help will be great, may take her my Vet in the morning anyway. If you know anything about this breed, email me [email protected] This is her 2nd litter, but it has been a year since her last pregnancy. I am having her fixed after this litter. Thanks everyone.
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I thought this article was very informative.But I do have one more question.I have a dog about7 to 10 lbs. and I truly think that she is expecting. But it has not been confirmed. She is not eating and she is guarding certain stuffed toys. Tonight her stomach started twitching, almost like a mussle spasm. It did this for better than an hour, and its still doing it. Is this normal? She has never done this before. Please let me know any information that you can. Thanks Destiny
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What kind of mother did you have??? Where do you get off calling female humans nasty bitches??? Canine pregnancies are very unlike human pregnancies. For example, human females become fertile every month, while dogs typically go into heat only twice per year. Bitches (female dogs, not nasty female humans!) may start having heat cycles as early as 4 - 6 months of age for small breeds or at 12 - 24 months of age in larger dogs. Each individual fertile period lasts 7 - 10 days, depending on the breed of dog. Dogs never reach menopause, so you could experience a dog pregnancy even in a very old bitch. Read more:
vanessa/[email protected]
we have 2 female rotties and they both r due soon they are loving to each other most of the time. but will there be a teratorial problem with both deliverying within days maybe hours of each other? should we totally keep the 2 seperated? help please lol
Excellent info. This is another great resource on canine pregnancy. It covers symptoms and has time lines so you know what to expect!
We are very much excited if our female pitbull is pregnant, I will check later if these symptoms appear on our dog specially with the nipples..
it whorked we did not know that my dog was rilly had puppys but now we do
hazel [email protected],uk
i breed my bitch about a week ago 3 days 1 on 1 off 1 on we didnt see them lock in the day but thay were together over night , it was his first time and allso hers is there a good chance i could be a puppy nanny? he was getting in the right place and she was letting him .
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I mated my dog 14days ago and now it doesn't eat as much as it does. It eats just a little food. All it like now is just water. Could that be a sign that its pregnant.
Edwin Cotto
Something Is Wrong With My Miniature Schnauzer Breed, She Has Been Pregnant For 2 And A Half Months And Her Water Broke 3 Days Ago, And This Is Her First Time Having Puppies, She Is Bleeding A Lot From Her Genitalia. And She Thinks She's Just Using The Restroom. And We Don't Know If This Might Affect Her Puppies Growth Or Health So Please Contact Me At [(407)-420-2060] Or At [[email protected]] Please Call As Fast As Possible Or Send Me A Message.
thank u! this was the info I have been looking for! all other sites just have minimal info!
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okay so my pug is starting to leak milk. she not gaining my weight and not any bigger. could she be prego
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i enjoyed reading this, my dog and my friends dog.... well u know but this is the first time i've had a dog get prego. so im scared because i was told that if my dog got prego in her first heat that the dog will die in labor.
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I have a boxer and she got locked up with our pitbull for the first time on July 25th. Her nipples began to swell and so did her belly, but only 4 of her nipples have anything in them and her belly has not got any bigger. Could u tell me what this may mean?
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I have a sheltie who ran away for about 30-45 minutes, then came back. but since then, she has rapidly gained 8 pounds, and eats more than just her food, she takes my cats food when shes not around as well, so if anyone has any help on what could be wrong, please let me know. I thought since she had disappeared that she could be pregnant, but shes no where close to having loss of appetite. and shes always scratching, which we thought may be fleas, but when I gave her a bath yesterday, there was nothing indicating fleas. I check her everyday just to make sure there is no fleas, so that reason is out the window. please if anyone can help me, thatd be great. thanks and have a good day. (:
I think a lot people whom commented on here should have done soe research before breeding their dog. I bred my dog four and a half weeks ago. She was bred twice in the same day and that's it. I have no idea why people are breeding their dog four five times. That poor dog. Week one she just slept a lot which didn't concern me nor did I take it as an original sign. Week two she had morning sickness and didn't want to eat but she did drink. Week three her nipples are swollen and red. Week four I felt her puppies for the first time. I have also stayed in touch with two vets and they are aware and on call when she has her pups in case anything is to go wrong (ex.stuck in the canal,still birth,dead pups that cannot be pushed out and/or c-section). This is my first breeding and she will be spayed afterward. I have been reading everything possible and asking as many questions as I could of since she was a few months old to make the decision whether to breed her or not and ask yourself why you are breeding your dog.If it's for money don't waste your time because if your girl needs a c-section you're looking at the least $1000.00 for the surgery andsome dogs have only 2-3 pups. I am breeding for my girls temperment. I hope to give someone the same experience, love and loyalty that I am blessed with. My daughter is a pure bred blue nosed American Pitbull whom would protect me til death and I the same for her. Read articles on breeding your particular breed before making the decision to mate your dog and don't make your dog a baby maker so you could have extra cash. Breed for the right reasons and NEVER BREED A DOG UNDER 17 MONTHS.
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It's been about 4 weeks since my dog mated with her boyfriend and they did it twice and got hooked together for about 20-25 minutes each time. I have never been around a pregnant dog before so I am kinda lost and confused on what to look for. Her nipples have like doubled in size and are quite pinker than usual and she has put on some weight. She is very protective lately won't let anyone but me rub her stomach. she sleeps all the time now and eats everything she can grab or fool out of you. I am just wondering if she is really pregnant or if I am just hoping she is.Thanx and I hope someone can help me.
It's good site ..
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my 2 yr old staffy cross is pregnant but im not sure how far gone but she is really swollen in abdomin and restless, sniffing around also licking where she has been sitting. i have noticed a slight discharge the last couple of days and her nipples are really big. do u think she is going to go into labour soon? as i am so scared to leave her and go to bed incase she has the pups. thanx
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this is very educational compared to other items i have goggled i hope it helps me out to be able to tell. i have two females that went into heat at the same time. thought my male wasn't old enough ha i think i was wrong. now i got 2 that im 95 % sure they are both pregnant.
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This is the best article and most informative I have read...My little Long Haired Chihuahua is 33 days pregnant, so amazing we can hear the little heartbeats and fill the bumps, not confident enough to say how many...LOL Can't wait to see them, daddy is a Pomeranian. Thanks
pauleen saldana
this really helped me figure out if my dog was gunna have puppies. N come to find out she is.thank you
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I have a blue heeler and it is my first time having pups that is if she is pregnant at all. i never saw her and her mate lock though she has started growing larger nipples and her virgina is still swollen a month on could you tell me anything that could ease my mind if she is or not?????? What could be other sign does anyone know????
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My Friend dog goin to have pups but don't no when the date was 5/2/2011 when she tell preg just wanna no plz
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Hi all I just want to thank all for there info, [email protected], can u please let me know if ur dog is actually pregnant, I am hoping my own dog is, I had a dog with her for 5 days at her peak heat, I just was not there to see them tie, if she did tie she is 15 days mated, a day either way. she is very clingy, sleepy and her nipples are quite bigger than before she mated, I hope she is I wont know for another 2 weeks. fingers crossed.
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I have a question about my dog she just mated two times with two different dogs six day ago 2 days apart and she is acting really odd.She doesn't want to go out and she aint eating and this is her very first time having sex, she is 9 years old she's a york and pom mix (so I was wondering if this is good or what?????
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Good afternoon, my Bichon Frise had 4 pups 3 days ago, she has diarrhea which is black in colour is this normal, cant seem to find any other information of this.
my dog stuck to my bitch one for 15 minuets... they havnt stuck again its been 3 weeks now..whats the chanve of her being pregnant
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I have a 3 year old great dane, who had a male that she was able to lock with, this was her first breeding , on her firat meet with him there was very much interest for both of them but no tie , or even entry (not through lack of tryin !!) But they managed 1 tie/lock on there second meeting they lockes for about 15 mins . Still not sure if she is preg yet but if she is she will be 19 days into it only really noticed that she a little more sleepy, def wants more affection nipples do look a little larger and have noticed what appears to be milk spots on the tip of her teats ! So I think she just might be having little big ones , anybody else familier with these signs ?
thanks for such useful information
ronny motown
LMAO Bitches (female dogs, not nasty female humans!). That is so funny bitch!
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Does anyone know if it is normal for an expectant mother to have discharge? We estimate her pregnancy at about 30 days.
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very helpful
Just to clear this up for anyone who is totally inexperienced with breeding dogs and have no idea to expect exactly: Dogs are pregnant for approx 2 months, or 59 - 65 days tops. Any longer, contact a vet as the bitch may need a c-section. Some bitches may not become pregnant, even after mating multiple times. Instead, they might experience a phantom pregnancy where they produce milk, build a nest/den and their belly will become swollen. She might also start guarding small objects, like soft toys, bowls, etc When whelping (in labour), bitches, even first time mothers, should instinctively birth the first puppy, lick it clean and maybe chew off the umbilicol cord. Dogs are extremly fertile animals, meaning just one or two matings are usually all that's generally needed for a successful mating. If after +five matings there is no success, then there's a chance that the dog or bitch is infertile. Never leave your bitch on her own to gve birth, in the last week of her due date, wake up every 2 hours during the night to check on her. When this happens, keep the vet on standby unless you know EXACTLY what you're doing. *NEVER* breed a bitch who isn't psychologically mature and is unwilling to partcipate in the actual mating. It is also dangerous to breed a bitch any younger than 2yrs. Breeding her this young may result in miscarriages, trouble during labour, pup deformaties, c-sections, still-borns or possible death to the bitch or litter. If your bitch has a litter too large to feed herself, then you better be prepared to help bottle feed them every two hours, rotating between who feeds them. Feed some of the pups during the day (the latter nursing from their mother)and the first three nightly feedings, then let the mother nurse them until the first morning feed. After each feeding, the bitch should lick their abdomens so they may urinate and pass their feaces (which the bitch will eat naturally). If she fails to do this, rub the pup's bellies with a soft, warm, slightly damp cloth in stroking motions, going from the ribs down to the genitals. Pups who fail to pass their excretions will become constipated and very ill.
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Our yorkie mated on May 3rd and again the next day. Today (may 10th) she isn't eating or moving around much at all. She is usually going strong all day long, espically if my husband is at home.She loves him to pieces.Is this normal this soon after mating? This is the first time she has ever mated,and she is 3 yr. old.
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i breed my yorkie about a week ago with a friends male yourkie they locked about 5 times for about 30min at a time. now my girl only wants to be sleeping and laying around. my male yorkie is neutered he usually sleeps with us but lately he only wants to sleep with my girl yorkie. could she be pregnant? if she is could my male yorkie sense this?
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I Have A Female Dog And She Just Finished With Her Period 15 days  Ago And While That We Were Mateing Her . I Dont Know If She Is Pregnate . But She Has Been Peeing Alot And She Sleeps All Day ! I Dont Know Can You Please Help Me ! 
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my dog is about 10lbs. She is supposed to be 27 days pregnant. She has been having a clear discharge, is veryyyy picky with her food, lazziieerr than anything, and her nipples are starting to hang. But she isnt getting big!!!! Is it too early in the pregnancy or is she having a very small litter??? Plzz email thru my email address ONLY IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKIN ABOUT
my chihuahua is 55 days! her nipples leak if squeezed nd has a little clear discharge. starting to take her temp twice a day now, as I think pups will be here before the end of the week!! :)
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