There are several signs of dog pregnancy-but not all dogs exhibit certain signs early on in the pregnancy. If your bitch is exhibiting behavioral changes, you should look for other signs of pregnancy if she is otherwise healthy.
Early Signs Of Dog Pregnancy
Some of the earliest signs you might notice include decreased appetite, decreased activity, swollen nipples and other behavioral changes. The decreased appetite is more like pregnant human's morning sickness. The bitch's appetite will return after the first few weeks of pregnancy. It will continue to increase. Feed her what she wants-within reason, as some dogs tend to bloat if overfed.
Behavioral changes can be from one end of the spectrum to the other. For example, she may want more attention, or she may not want to be bothered at all. These behavioral changes are because the hormones in the bitch's body are changing with the pregnancy. At this early stage, if you are absolutely sure there is no way she could be pregnant, yet you see these symptoms, a vet visit is in order.
Later Signs Of Dog Pregnancy
Depending on the breed, you may see the bitch gaining weight as early as the last few weeks before the end of the pregnancy. Smaller breeds usually look bigger when they are pregnant than a larger breed. On most bitches, you will be able to feel the puppies during the last week of pregnancy, and you might even feel them moving.
Just before labor, you may see leakage from the nipples. This is normal and shows the bitch is properly lactating. Once you feel the puppies and see the leakage, prepare the whelping box. Line the bottom of the whelping box with towels and old blankets or sheets, so that the puppies are born into something soft.
You may also want to prepare for vet visits in case of complications and for a checkup after the puppies are born. A dog pregnancy can be expensive since dog health insurance does not often cover it, but the earlier you notice symptoms, the earlier you can start saving.