How to Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant

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In order to tell if a dog is pregnant, look for the stomach to get distended and the breasts to become more full. Find out how pregnant dogs nest and swell with help from a veterinarian in this free video on identifying a pregnant dog.

Part of the Video Series: Dog Health Problems
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Dr. Bob Pane, from Miami, Florida, at South Kendall Animal Clinic. In this clip, I will show you how to tell your dog is pregnant. Usually what happens; about a third of the way in the pregnancy the stomach or tummy gets distended and the breasts become more full. The last week or two of pregnancy the breasts will engorge and have milk come out. Lactation will occur. Unfortunately, you can go through a false pregnancy which will mimic everything that you would think is a pregnancy; the swelling, the nesting, everything else; the swelling of the abdomen, the swelling of the breasts, and the dog will not give birth because it's called a false pregnancy. That's often a negative thing for the breeders but it does happen. Sometimes, they'll discharge at the end of the pregnancy a mucoid discharge from the vulva. The vulva's back in here, behind the, below the anus. Sometimes, they won't be distended until the last week or two. Sometimes people don't know. If there's only a puppy or two there may be no distension. She may not want to eat very much because the puppies are displacing the normal stomach and intestines. So, if you see distension or a lack of appetite, and she starts to sort of like squirrel away towels she may even be nesting, but if you see milk it's usually the last week of the gestation period. You should increase her food intake by giving her puppy food, puppy food and plenty of water. We also recommend an area for her to nest that she can walk away from the puppies, and it's usually a five or six inch lip or four inch lip around this little pen, with rags that you can wash and keep clean. When veterinarians palpate for fetuses we feel, like rosary beads in here, small lumps, and they can be very small on a breed like this, a Boston terrier, or it can be very large. It will feel little bumps, in rows usually, and the veterinarian will sometimes feel it and sometimes not. Sometimes, later in the gestation it becomes difficult because there is so much fluid around it. The best time to palpate puppies is usually thirty to forty days because they're just the right size to palpate; maybe twenty-one days in a bigger dog, and they're not covered by amniotic and allantoic fluid. Anyway, so they can take x-rays after forty days. We can do ultrasounds after twenty one days at your veterinary clinic to find out if she is pregnant. So, keep her clean and dry and keep a nice area for her in case she does give birth. Thank you very much. This is Dr. Bob Pane.

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