How to Tell if Your Dog is Pregnant

A female dog gets a chance to be pregnant during the time of her heat. It’s the estrus phase when the most fertile period happens about once every eight months, or between the seventh and tenth day after the bleeding begins. If the female dog mates with a male during the estrus phase, there’s a big chance that she will become pregnant.

However, the female dog might fight against the males if she isn’t ready yet for mating. That’s why you need to wait for your dog’s fertility period before initiating the breeding process to ensure that your dog surely gets pregnant. It’ll also help avoid things that might go wrong during and after mating that might result in false pregnancy.

pregnant dog

If it’s your first time raising a dog, you might find it hard to determine if your dog is pregnant, especially during the early stage. You may see a few manifestations of pregnancy, but you may still be doubtful. To help you out, read on below the old way and the new approach of finding out if it’s a genuine pregnancy or a false pregnancy.


Pregnancy Test Kit

The dog pregnancy test kit is now available in the market. A test kit usually includes a syringe to use in the pregnancy test procedure. The test starts with extracting blood from the dog using the syringe. Transfer the blood into a centrifuge to separate the plasma from the rest of the blood sample. Test the plasma using the pregnancy tester, and you’ll see the results.

The level of the relaxin hormone in the dog’s blood sample is the determinant of pregnancy. As early as 22-27 days of pregnancy, the placenta will produce relaxin hormone and slowly develop into the embryos’ implantation. The relaxin hormone level will continue to increase and will consequently drop in the last quarter of pregnancy.

The pregnancy test procedure for a female human being is far different from the dogs. The human’s hormone is found in the urine, but the dog’s on the blood sample. That’s why the pregnancy test used by humans can’t be used in dogs.

a to-be-mumma dog on her bed

Moreover, the dog’s pregnancy test will determine if it’s a genuine pregnancy or a pseudopregnancy. The pseudopregnancy is a false pregnancy with almost the same manifestations as a real one, but it’ll never give birth to little puppies. You might be thinking your dog is pregnant, but the signs of pregnancy will slowly disappear after the estrus stage.

The procedure of using the test kit for a dog pregnancy test looks easy. However, if you find it hard to get a blood sample from your dog, it’ll be better to consult a professional veterinarian near your area.

Abdominal Ultrasound

The sonogram is another name for the ultrasound. If an X-ray gives you a visual image of the position, shape, and size of the abdominal contents, the ultrasound uses sound waves to make an image of the internal abdominal organs. That’s why licensed veterinarians use ultrasound to conduct a thorough examination of any dog’s possible health-related problems.

Hence, the abdominal ultrasound is the fail-safe procedure in confirming the pregnancy of your dog. You can have an ultrasound for your dog as early as three weeks to see the embryos’ development and check the fetus’ survival rate. You can also do it before three weeks of pregnancy, but the ultrasound may not clearly capture the puppies yet.

As your dog carries the babies in her tummy, you can have a regular ultrasound in a vet clinic near your area to monitor the puppies’ health. Doing this will help you prepare for whatever pregnancy problems might occur along the way until its labor.

Abdominal X-rays

As stated above, an X-ray provides a visual image of the abdominal organs. Hence, this is also an effective procedure to determine if your dog is pregnant. The best time to have an X-ray is on the 45th day of pregnancy moving forward.

Taking an X-ray too early can’t print out a clear image on cellulose acetate. The puppies need to develop bones and skeletons so the X-ray can recognize the number of puppies in the dog’s belly. The X-ray will also tell you if you’ve successfully taken out all of the puppies, and no one left inside to avoid complications during and after whelping.

After the vet conducted the X-ray procedure to your dog, he will properly educate you on how to watch over your pet during pregnancy. The vet will also discuss the details of do’s and don’ts for your dog when it comes to food, vitamins, and other pregnancy care.

The Traditional Way

Before the emergence and use of technology, many people utilize the traditional way to determine a dog’s pregnancy. You can also check some observable physical manifestations during the early stage. You’ll continue to witness progressing signs, which becomes more evident that you need to monitor your dog every day.

dog on a beach

In a few weeks of being pregnant, your dog may lose appetite for food and be silent more often than usual. Like a human female, your dog may experience morning sickness and puke sometimes in a day. You can also notice the changes on her nipples getting darker and more prominent, and sometimes produce clear fluid.

After around the 35th day of pregnancy, the behavior of your dog may change. Her appetite for food changes and starts to gain weight. You may also notice that her belly starts to swell. These are some of the physical manifestations that you may notice if your dog is pregnant.

The old way people are doing to determine if your dog is genuinely pregnant is to conduct abdominal palpation. It’s a process of using your fingers in pressing the abdomen carefully and gently. Your fingers could feel the swelling of the uterus that indicates the presence of developing puppies.

If you suspect that your dog is pregnant, the best time to conduct abdominal palpation is between four to five weeks of pregnancy after the mating stage of your dog with a male. You only have to let the experienced people do the palpation or a professional veterinarian because puppies are so sensitive and easy to get unintentional injuries during this procedure.

Palpation is easy to facilitate that will only take a couple of minutes. However, the process isn’t reliable enough to check the developing puppies’ viability inside your dog’s belly. It’s still advisable to seek a vet’s assistance if you want to make sure that puppies will be born safely and healthily.


Having a dog at home will give you so much fun. However, it demands a fraction of your time out of your busy schedule. It also makes you a more responsible owner in attending to your dog’s needs, especially during pregnancy. When you find the physical manifestations of pregnancy at the early stage, be ready, and always keep in mind the things discussed above to determine if your dog is genuinely pregnant. If proven so, seek a vet’s assistance if badly needed.

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