How to Tell if my Dog is Pregnant (quick answer)

The vet may not be as cute as Lily, but he can tell you if your dog is pregnant

Whether you suspect your own pet might be expecting, or you’re curious about a new dog, you’re here to get a quick answer for…

How to tell if my dog is pregnant: a pregnant dog, early on, may be lazier and grumpier than normal.  Later, her nipples grow and turn pink.  By the time there’s obvious weight gain, your dog may be in the last stage of a pregnancy.

Well, that’s the quick answer; but stick around for a few details that are good to know at a time like this. Let’s see what the experts say about checking a dog for pregnancy 

Table of Contents

Checking a Dog for Pregnancy

A word of caution: if you suspect your dog might be pregnant, never feel around her belly, to check for signs of growing puppies. An AKC article states…

Abdominal palpation should not be attempted without the assistance of a veterinarian, as it could damage the pups.”

AKC Staff

Is There a Dog Pregnancy Test?

Unfortunately, this won’t be as simple as grabbing a pregnancy test from the dollar store!  Blood tests are not the preferred method, either.  Dr. Lauren Jones explains why:

…they are inaccurate and not a valid method for determining pregnancy…A female dog’s hormones after a heat cycle are remarkably similar, whether pregnant or not.”

Lauren Jones, DVM

The best and safest way to tell if a dog is pregnant is by ultrasound, and even that is not done until a few weeks into the process.  

Should a Pregnant Dog have a Special Diet?

Your veterinarian can help you with prenatal diet specifics, but Dr. Ernest Ward provides these basic guidelines:

  • ‘Feed same amount during the first two-thirds of pregnancy.
  • Use high-quality diet and supplements, such as DHA, as approved by your veterinarian. 
  • After Week 6, gradually increase food intake (high energy/low fiber). 
  • As the fetuses get bigger, it’s hard for your dog to consume her usual, big portions; so break up her feeding into several smaller meals.
  • During the last three weeks, increase food by up to 50%.’

Resources for Further Exploration 

By Gail McGaffigan

The owner of the Greyhound Homecare website and YouTube channel, Gail has had retired racing greyhounds as pets since 1997. Please visit our channel, too!