How do you know if your dog is pregnant? 6 Signs To Look Out For

Many owners plan for their dog to breed, and may even have been present during breeding. But sometimes, even the most responsible owners can accidentally fail to keep their dog confined when she is in heat, and breeding may have occurred without the owners knowing. It is worth knowing what the signs are that your dog is pregnant, so you can give her the support and attention she needs.

So how do you know if your dog is pregnant? Look for these signs:

Change in appetite

During the first few weeks of a pregnancy, some dogs will lose their appetite. You may find that she goes without food for a day. Don’t worry about this and don’t force her to eat. By all means you can make her food more appetising. Try adding some boiled beef mince and rice to her food. However, forcing her to eat is only going to stress her out, which is the last thing she would want during pregnancy. You only need to worry if she does not eat for more than 3 days. It’s also worth knowing that this dog version of morning sickness does not happen to all dogs. And some dogs will have the opposite symptom; increased appetite. You may find your dog wolfing down her food in record speed and then remaining near her bowl in the hope you will give her more food. Try not to over-feed her. It is best to feed your dog 2 – 3 times a day rather than one big feed as it will keep her satisfied all day as well as give her pups all the nutrition they need. Generally, what you are looking for is a change to your dog’s normal appetite, and this can be an increase or decrease in normal appetite when a dog is pregnant.

Change in behaviour

As with appetite, your dog’s behaviour can also change. She may became increasingly clingy, needing to be by your side at all time, and wanting to be petted. The polar opposite can also happen where she has the grumps, wants to spend time in her own company, and may even shun being touched. Again, look for changes. If your dog is naturally affectionate, and she suddenly hates being petted, she could be pregnant. If your dog is normally quite independent, and suddenly starts to follow you around everywhere, she could also be pregnant. It’s a change you need to look for.

Change in activity

Your normally lively and sprightly dog may suddenly become lethargic. During pregnancy, dogs, just like women, can feel exhausted due to their changing hormone levels. Don’t try to make her go for walks when she doesn’t want to. Trust that she will know what is best for her and her developing pups.

Nipple development

When not pregnant, the nipples on female dogs are usually small, with the areola generally flat. However, when a dog is pregnant, the nipples and areolas become enlarged slightly in preparation for milk production.  This happens around 2 weeks after breeding, so it is a good early indicator that your dog is pregnant. Also, the colour of the nipples will also change, especially the ones closest to your dog’s back legs. When not pregnant, the nipples are either a slightly grey or light pink. When a dog is pregnant, however, her nipples will become a darker pink as they will have an increased blood flow. This all happens around 3-4 weeks after breeding. The breasts, themselves, will start to look swollen from about 40 days after breeding

Enlarged abdomen and body weight increase

From about 35 days after breeding, your dog’s body weight will increase, in some cases by over 50%. The abdomen is likely to be swollen too, although first time mums may not show as much as older dogs who have had litters previously.

Possible discharge from vulva

Some dogs will get a slight mucus discharge around a month or so after breeding. If you notice this, then this is a sign your dog could be pregnant.


How do you know your dog is pregnant definitely? Your dog could display some of the above symptoms, and not be pregnant. So if you want a definite answer, it’s worth going to your vet to get her checked out. She could be pregnant, or she could be ill with something else, so never delay in seeking a professional’s advice if you spot some of the above signs in your dog.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 17 comments
Teresa - October 31, 2015

I have a Bloodhound (Josie) I had her with male on 12,13,14,15 of her heat. I seen them tie twice 14,&15 day. I had ultrasound on day 33 of last tie. Vet said no puppies! She has all the signs. Could Vet missed a puppy or two.

    Amanda - March 16, 2016

    Hi Teresa,
    Did you end up with puppies or not? Instead of waiting for an x ray, I let the vet do a relaxin test which she said was negative. I will never do that again, not much faith in the blood test method. My girl is showing all signs, so I will wait to do an xray as I had previously planned. She may be pregnant and she may not be, but I will continue as if she is rather than not until I have full proof.

Christopher - August 21, 2016

Does a human pregnancy test work on a dog!

Cheryl - December 22, 2016

I am interested in what happened with Tereasa too? We’re there puppies or not? Could the male or even female be sterile or barren like some people?

Jackie - February 21, 2017

I recently bred my dog between January 21 thru the 27th, she had 3 ais done and 2 natural ties “first tie she broke after 5 min, 2nd tie was longer than 10 min” so she hasn’t really been herself lately, she hasn’t been eating as much as she use to, she is laying around/sleeping more than she use to, she isn’t as hyper as she usually is, and she is more affectionate than before, vet said to mix wet can food with her dry dog food, she will eat it but will not eat too much dry food, she has also been eating a little grass, her teats are sagging more than before and her nipples look a little bit bigger and they are a light pink they also feel a little hard around the nipple area, as far as that she loves going outside to play, could she be pregnant

Kindra - March 3, 2017

What dies these mean thus what she is doing she is bitting stuffted animals then liking them over and over and mkre if u want morwant fermation just tell me and please get back to me as soon as u can please and thank u

Kindra Collins

mhin - March 15, 2017

It ‘s been 2 weeks since my dog mated ..I noticed changes in her eating habits and is quite lethargic, she gums are pale. Is this normal or should I worry ? She is 3 years old and this is her first. ( Shih tzu ).

Kelly - March 26, 2017

Hi, my dog is pregnant. Within the last two days if you squeeze on her nipples, milk does come out. This morning I noticed her very back right nipple is huge and swollen. It is cold too the touch. What should I do? Also, when can we expect her to deliver and should her puppies nurse on the swollen breast or not?

Nicole - May 10, 2017

Question we adopted our pitbull blue noes girl 5 years old and she had hanging nipples like she recently had puppies .Sense we have had her 4 weeks now and she has gained weight and her nipples look worse now…more pink and full and hanging more…Can she be pregnant? Or is she just gaining weight?


    samantha tucker - August 24, 2017

    Yes probably. Sounds like it to me.

Chloe - June 3, 2017

My dog molly her nipples are growing out and she is in heat my brother says that is a sign of pregnancy and I don’t know if she is pregnant or no

Koko Priestly - July 2, 2017

Thanks a mil. One of the above signs confirmed.

Jade bible - September 7, 2017

Hi I recently went to Illinois for about two and a half months on a family emergency. i came back and my female dog foxy her nipples are larger and her tits are saggy more and before her belly was flat and nipples were small. My sister who was watching her said her and her dog have mated several times and they stopped them when they could. Is she pregnant? Or possibly a false pregnancy? She is about 11 months old and is a mutt and the male dog is a 6 uear old italian mastiff

sarah - September 30, 2017

I want to know if my dog is pregnant. She already had a liter of pups and her nipples are slightly enlarged, now her nipples are sagging alot and she was doing something with my male. But I didn’t notice if she was in heat. So how can I positively know if she is pregnant. I don’t see any other changes in her and it has been a couple weeks. But my male dog has stop going after her.

Tessie - October 11, 2017

Hi my neighbors toy Chihuahua was in heat just before the hurricane and stop bleeding right after or shortly after she has become a little snippy with her best friend my dog and her teats have become swollen red light Rider and we were just wondering if she was pregnant also her appetite she hasn’t been eating much

Margaret Kennelly - October 12, 2017

My corgi bitch is 6.5 weeks pregnant and had a clear discharge. Her belly is huge for past 2 wks. Her belly is also inflamed looking. Should I be worried


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