Dog pregnancy is an exciting time for dog owners. As your pregnant pup begins her journey, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of pregnancy so that you can be prepared for what is to come. Week 1 is the start of the pregnancy and you should be aware of all of the potential symptoms. From increased appetite to nesting behaviors, these are the key symptoms to look out for in the first week of pregnancy. It is also important to be aware of any abnormal signs of pregnancy, such as excessive licking or vaginal bleeding, and seek professional medical advice if necessary.
Dog Pregnancy Symptoms Week 1: All You Need To Know
- Increased Appetite: Increased appetite is a very common symptom of dog pregnancy that is often noticed during the first week. Increased appetite is the first sign of dog pregnancy and is due to a hormonal shift, which increases the need for nutrition. However, increased appetite may also be due to the presence of growing fetuses in the uterus. The uterine wall is thickening, and as a result, the mother dog is requiring additional energy to support the growth of the growing fetuses. Many pregnant dogs report increased appetite, sometimes referred to as “puppy hunger” or “morning sickness”. This symptom is normal, and it should not be seen as a sign of concern unless the dog experiences abnormal weight gain. Additionally, pregnant dogs often suffer from aversions to certain foods and should be gently encouraged to eat a balanced diet.
- Morning Sickness: Morning sickness is a common dog pregnancy symptom that is characterized by loss of appetite, vomiting, and depression. It is thought to be caused by the changing hormones in the dog’s body, due to pregnancy. This is especially common in the first week of pregnancy, as the body is getting used to the new hormonal balance. Morning sickness should resolve itself as the dog’s body adjusts to the new hormones, but if it persists for longer than expected periods, it is important to have the dog seen by a vet for an assessment.
- Nipple Swelling: Nipple swelling is a common symptom of pregnancy in dogs and is usually first noticeable in the first-week post-mating. The swelling is caused by an increased production of the hormone prolactin which is responsible for pre-milk production and the development of mammary glands. This swelling is easily visible and can cause the nipples to appear enlarged and elongated. Additionally, some dogs may exhibit an increase in milk production at this time.
- Abdominal Swelling: Abdominal swelling is one of the first signs of dog pregnancy, typically appearing in the first week of gestation. This occurs as a result of the uterus begins to expand in preparation for the puppies that will be born. Because the abdomen is so muscular, slight enlargement is difficult to detect in most dogs. However, palpating the abdomen with your hands will reveal a distinct difference in size. This swelling is usually generalized, meaning the whole abdomen, rather than having a single lump.
- Vaginal Discharge: Vaginal discharge is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy in dogs, and is usually seen as early as one week after mating. It is caused by hormonal changes that occur in the female’s body due to the presence of the fertilized egg. The discharge will look clear and abundant in quantity. As the pregnancy continues, the discharge will change in consistency and color.
- Change in Energy Levels: During week one of a dog’s pregnancy, her energy levels will usually remain fairly consistent. However, in some instances, her activity level may start to slightly decrease. This is due to the hormonal shifts that the body experiences. As the dog is adjusting to the changes taking place within her body, she may be slightly more fatigued or may not feel up to her usual activities. Additionally, the body is beginning to put more energy into nourishing the developing fetuses, meaning less energy is directed toward other activities.
- Slight Temperamental Changes: Slight temperamental changes can be one of the earliest signs of dog pregnancy. From weeks 1-4, signs of pregnancy become more obvious. During week 1, one indication of pregnancy is a profound change in behavior. This means that your dog may be more anxious, bark more, or maybe very clingy. They may also have slightly different temperamental changes, such as becoming quieter or more aloof. It is important to note that these changes are very mild and may not be noticeable right away. However, if your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviors it is worth speaking to your veterinarian about doing a pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy.
- Change in Sleeping Habits: Many dog owners notice a change in their pet’s sleeping habits during the first week of pregnancy. After breeding, some dogs may become especially exhausted and spend most of their time sleeping. This is due to their hormones and the body’s response to them in anticipation of carrying the litter. Additionally, during the early stages of pregnancy, a dog may become excessively needy, seek out her owner’s attention more, and sleep near them or even in their bed. If this is combined with other pregnancy symptoms, such as a change in appetite and weight gain, it may be a sign that your dog has conceived.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes in a dog during pregnancy are typically the first noticeable sign. During the first week, the female’s body begins producing relaxin, a hormone that relaxes and loosens the ligaments in the pelvis in preparation for birth. This hormone is also responsible for other physical changes such as an increased appetite, and increased vulval discharge, and the dog may become lethargic or overly tired from the increased hormone levels. Changes in her nipples can also be seen, with darkening, swelling, and the nipples may become more sensitive.
- Increased Urination: Increased urination is a common pregnancy symptom in dogs that begins during the first week of gestation. The dog’s hormone levels begin to rise, which affects the kidneys and the bladder and causes an increase in urination. This can be observed as an increase in the number of times a dog urinates or an increase in the amount of urine passed. This symptom can last through the duration of the pregnancy, becoming more pronounced as the pregnancy continues.
Early Signs Of Dog Pregnancy Nipples
Nipples will become enlarged, and increased appetite, mood swings, nesting behavior, increased urination, listlessness, and abdominal swelling.
3 Week Pregnant Dog Nipples
At three weeks pregnant, your dog’s nipples may be slightly enlarged and will have developed the Montgomery glands, which are glands around the nipple that secrete a waxy substance to help keep the area clean and lubricated during the suckling process. Her nipples may also be firmer to the touch. Some dogs may even start producing a mild milky discharge known as colostrum, which is a type of pre-milk that contains antibodies and proteins that will help the puppy during its first few weeks of life.
Dog Pregnancy Signs Week By Week
Week 1: No physical signs of pregnancy.
Week 2: Increased appetite and increased nesting behavior.
Week 3: Abdominal swelling and pinkish/brown discharge from the vulva.
Week 4: Swelling is more noticeable, and mammary glands may start to enlarge.
Week 5: Abdominal enlargement and nipples may become more prominent.
Week 6: Abdominal enlargement and possible bulging of sides as puppies begin to move.
Week 7: Abdominal enlargement, mammary glands full and producing milk, and significant movement of puppies.
Week 8: Abdominal enlargement, more noticeable movement of puppies, and abdomen may make a slight ticking sound from pup movement.
Week 9: Abdominal enlargement, nipples engorged and puppies large enough to be seen by ultrasound or x-ray.
Week 10: Preparation to give birth may include restlessness, nesting, panting, and refusal to eat.
Early Signs Of Dog Pregnancy 2 Weeks
- Swollen abdomen
- Increase in appetite
- Nipples becoming enlarged and pinker
- A slight increase in body temperature
- Noticeably increased weight gain
- Discharge from the vulva/teats
- Behavioral changes – may become irritable or more affectionate
Dog Pregnancy Week 4 Symptoms
At this stage of pregnancy, the most common symptoms in female dogs include:
- Increased appetite
- Morning sickness (the dog may vomit occasionally)
- Vaginal discharge (clear, yellow, or pinkish in color)
- Enlargement of her mammary glands
- Swollen nipples
- Abdominal swelling
- More affectionate behavior toward you
- Lethargy/slight increase in activity
- Weight gain
- Cravings for certain foods
- Uterine enlargement and increased abdominal pressure
Dog Pregnancy Symptoms Week 5
At week five of a dog’s pregnancy, the most notable symptom is an enlarging abdomen. In addition, the nipples may be larger or darker, and the mother may experience more appetite and start to show signs of nesting behavior. She may also be more sensitive to touch, and her vulva may be swollen and/or reddened. Some mother dogs also become more vocal, bark more, and show increased interest in affection.
What Are The Stages of Pregnancy in Dogs?
- Proestrus: This is the first stage of heat or oestrus in the female dog and it usually lasts 5-9 days. The female will start to attract males, who then will try to mate with her.
- Estrus: This is the second stage of heat and it can last up to an average of 18 days. The female’s vulva becomes enlarged and her temperature rises. Once at this stage, dogs are most receptive to mating.
- Diestrus: During diestrus, the female is no longer receptive to mating and conception has occurred. At this time, the fertilized egg has successfully adhered to the uterus wall and it begins to divide into multiple cells.
- Anestrus: This is the final stage of the pregnancy. Over the course of the next 65 days, the fetus will develop and grow into a healthy puppy.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Pregnant At Home
- Monitor her appetite. A pregnant dog may begin eating more than usual.
- Monitor her weight. A pregnant dog’s body weight may increase rapidly.
- Check for signs of nesting behavior. Pregnant dogs may start to hide in dark, quiet places.
- Check for signs of lethargy. Pregnant dogs may seem more tired or lazy.
- Check her abdomen for signs of enlargement. The abdomen may look rounder, larger, and/or harder than usual.
- Take her temperature. A pregnant dog’s temperature may drop to a low average of 99 to 100 degrees F (37.2–37.8 degrees C) between 55 to 63 days after the start of her heat cycle. If her temperature remains below 100 degrees for more than two days, it is likely that she is pregnant.
How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Dog
- Feed the pregnant dog a high-quality, nutritious diet. Provide her with meals of canned food that are high in calcium and protein content.
- Make sure the pregnant dog has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink.
- Provide her with plenty of exercise throughout her pregnancy. Give her time to relax, as well.
- Keep her living area clean and free from stress. Reduce stress and anxiety for your pregnant dog with gentle petting and talking.
- Make sure the pregnant dog has comfortable bedding and a warm, dry space to sleep.
- Take the pregnant dog to the vet for regular checkups and blood tests throughout her pregnancy. This will help ensure her and her puppies’ health.
- Give the pregnant dog supplements, if needed, to prevent any nutritional deficiencies that can occur during pregnancy.
- Spay the pregnant dog immediately after the puppies are born to avoid additional whelping from happening.
Q. How can I tell if my dog is pregnant after 1 week?
A. There are tests to more accurately check for pregnancy in dogs, such as a blood test or an ultrasound, which can be done 4 weeks after mating. Additionally, an experienced Veterinarian can perform a physical examination and may be able to detect pregnancy by feeling for the fetuses starting around the third or fourth week.
Q. How soon can I tell if my dog is pregnant?
A. It usually takes 4-5 weeks of the breeding before a veterinarian can accurately diagnose pregnancy in a dog. Between 5-8 weeks your veterinarian may be able to detect a heartbeat and outline the size and number of puppies present.
Q. What to expect when your dog is pregnant for the first time?
A. When your dog is pregnant, you can expect the following: increased appetite, weight gain, mood swings, nesting behaviors, increased urination, and pregnancy-like signs such as discharge, milk production, and contractions near the end of the pregnancy. You may also observe changes in behavior such as increased clinginess and a desire for extra attention. Closer to the due date, your veterinarian will probably want to check your dog’s temperature, and weight, and make sure the delivery goes smoothly.
Dog pregnancy symptoms during week 1 are subtle and may not always be immediately evident. However, a dog’s physical and behavioral cues can indicate the start of pregnancy. Knowing common signs to look for can help provide peace of mind and help owners care for their pregnant pups.