How to Determine if Your Dog is Pregnant: Signs and Symptoms to Watch For

If you suspect that your beloved canine companion might be pregnant, it’s important to know how to identify the telltale signs. While a veterinary visit is the most accurate way to confirm a pregnancy, there are several common signs and symptoms that can help you determine if your dog is expecting a litter of puppies. In this article, we’ll explore the key indicators of pregnancy in dogs.

Changes in Appetite

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy in dogs is a change in appetite. Some pregnant dogs may experience a decrease in appetite during the early stages, while others may show an increased interest in food. Keep an eye out for any shifts in your dog’s eating habits.

Weight Gain

Pregnant dogs typically gain weight as their pregnancy progresses. You might notice a gradual increase in your dog’s body weight, especially around the abdomen area. This weight gain is usually more pronounced in the later stages of pregnancy.

Changes in Behavior

Pregnancy can influence a dog’s behavior. Some dogs become more affectionate and seek extra attention, while others might become more withdrawn or irritable. Monitor your dog’s behavior for any notable changes.

Enlarged Nipples

Around three weeks into pregnancy, a pregnant dog’s nipples might become larger and darker in color. This change is especially noticeable in dogs with light-colored fur.

Nesting Behavior

As the pregnancy progresses, your dog might begin to exhibit nesting behaviors. This can include digging or rearranging bedding to create a comfortable and secure space for her impending litter.

Increase in Resting Time

Pregnant dogs often require more rest than usual. You might notice your dog seeking out quiet and cozy spots for naps. This increased resting time is a natural response to the energy demands of pregnancy.

Changes in Abdomen

As the puppies grow, your dog’s abdomen will expand. You might notice a rounder and more distended belly. Gently palpating the abdomen can sometimes help you feel the puppies’ movements, especially in later stages.

Changes in Nipple Color and Texture

In addition to nipple enlargement, you might observe changes in the color and texture of your dog’s nipples. They might become more prominent and have a pinkish hue.

Vomiting and Morning Sickness

Similar to humans, some pregnant dogs experience morning sickness and occasional vomiting during the early stages of pregnancy. If your dog seems to be vomiting excessively, consult your veterinarian.

Increase in Thirst

Pregnant dogs might drink more water than usual due to the increased demands of pregnancy. Ensure that fresh and clean water is always available.

When in Doubt, Consult a Veterinarian

While these signs can indicate pregnancy, they can also be caused by other health conditions. If you suspect that your dog might be pregnant, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for a definitive diagnosis. Your vet can perform tests, such as ultrasound or hormone level assessments, to confirm whether your dog is indeed expecting a litter of puppies.


Being attuned to your dog’s behavior and physical changes can help you determine if she’s pregnant. Keep a watchful eye on signs such as changes in appetite, weight gain, nesting behavior, and enlarged nipples. If you suspect pregnancy, consult your veterinarian for professional guidance. With proper care and attention, you’ll be well-prepared to support your dog through a healthy pregnancy and the exciting journey of welcoming adorable puppies into the world.

Leave a Comment