Many pregnancy tests are available in the market that can tell you whether you are pregnant or not. But, unfortunately, in the case of dogs, we don’t have such kind of test.
And, to find out whether your rescued dog had puppies or not is a bit challenging, right?
So, how will you know this?
Don’t worry; you can know your rescued dog has puppies if you read this article.
We have enlisted seven parameters. Moreover, we have also shared tips on what you should do if your dog is expecting a child?
So, are you ready?
Seven signs to know whether your dog had puppies in the past
You can learn whether your dog has ever had puppies by knowing the following parameters.
Big nipples or teats
Dogs’ nipples will enlarge during their pregnancy because of lactation. Their bodies are getting ready to produce milk for their babies.
Your dog’s teats will become large and saggy because puppies continuously suck milk.
Just like in humans, when a woman gets pregnant, her body undergoes several changes, and a saggy breast is one sign it is similar in dogs.
A distended and larger vulva
If the vulva becomes large, it will be a sign that your dog had puppies in the past. You can notice this if you compare them with other dogs who were not pregnant.
Well, this is not a 100% assurance check. It is because dogs of different sizes and breeds will naturally have large vulvas.
Therefore, I would suggest you not rely only on this factor. You must also check the other factors to be 100% sure.
Belly skin will get loose.
Just like women’s belly stretches when they get pregnant, female dogs’ bellies also enlarge during their pregnancy period because puppies are developing inside the womb.
The skin is very less likely to get back to its original condition. However, in rare conditions, it can happen skin may shrink back to normal.
Moreover, if the dog was fat in the past and recently she lost a lot of weight, then its loose belly skin can also be because of that.
Therefore, I would recommend looking for other clues to see if your dog has ever produced puppies.
Change in behavior
A mommy dog will become more careful, territorial, and defensive for their puppies because of maternal behavior.
As they are concerned about their puppies, they will always be alert. They will tend to react to every single change in their surroundings.
They will snarl, bark more, and will try to attack you if they feel you are trying to threaten them.
Dogs are cranky and hormonally overworked after giving birth. It’s natural for them to respond in a different way when someone tries to touch their puppies or interferes with their territory.
It may not be a symptom of post-pregnancy. But when we speak about rescued dogs, their defensive behavior will be because of naturally learned behavior.
However, it is only possible if they match the signs mentioned above.
Modification in dogs uterus
It is a great idea to take your dog to the vet and conduct a physical examination of the uterus. It will definitely give you the perfect result to know whether your dog had puppies or not.
With the help of ultrasound and X-rays, you can know if your dog had puppies or not.
Furthermore, the veterinarian can determine to some extent if false pregnancies cause the physical indications or not.
A brown discharge is commonly seen in dogs that have just given birth. It is prevalent for a pregnant rescued dog to throw a brown discharge for some weeks.
This is accompanied by enlarging nipples, milk, and a sagging tummy.
After giving birth to cute puppies, dogs will try to hide them because of maternal behavior. However, stray dogs are very good at covering their puppies.
You have to look for other hints and then check if the dog is crying softly or not. Keep an eye, check after roaming did she gets back to the same spot; you can also check for nesting signs.
Some of the nesting signs are like making a nest, tearing papers, ripping off blankets, and assembling toys in a specific location.
Symptoms to know your dog is pregnant
So, till now, you know how to detect dogs that had puppies in the past. But how to know if she is pregnant?
Well, you can detect that if you see the following signs.
If your dog is pregnant, she will tend to eat a lot to nourish her puppy and fuel her body undergoing pregnancy changes.
Next, it is pretty apparent that if a dog is bearing a baby in her womb, she will gain a lot of weight.
Other than that, she will quickly get tired. Physical and mental changes, in addition to hormonal changes, can diminish your dog’s energy levels and make her feel tired.
So far, you know how to determine if a dog has a baby and what the symptoms are if the dog is pregnant.
But, are you the prominent method to take care of a pregnant dog?
If you said no, then don’t go away; scroll down to know more.
How to take care of a pregnant dog?
After medical examination, when you get to know your dog is pregnant, you must properly take care of her. It is a crucial and delicate period of living beings’ life.
You have to take care that she stays healthy throughout the pregnancy journey.
Get her nutrients checked.
It is vital to feed your mommy dog enough nutrients and a healthy meal as now her body will need more nutrients to keep her baby healthy.
If you are already feeding her adequately in the first two-thirds months of her pregnancy and she has an ideal weight, then there is no need to make any changes unless your vet asks for any.
At this point, increasing the amount of food consumed can be hazardous.
Veterinary experts advocate progressively increasing her food consumption as her weight rises during the last weeks of her pregnancy unless she intakes 35 to 50 percent more than usual.
It would be best to give her small meals, feed her in small quantities, and later increase her diet at a slow pace. Because if you give her a large portion of food, it can lead to discomfort.
Make her do only low-intensity exercise.
Make sure to add less stressful exercise for your pregnant dog. Some veterinarians feel that minimizing vigorous exercise during the first two weeks of pregnancy can improve embryo implantation.
You can take her for a short walk, play some light games. Do not try to make her over-stimulated also, don’t let her become sedentary either.
It is critical to keep a pregnant dog apart from other dogs and animals during the last three weeks of pregnancy. During this period, indoor activity is superior to outside walks for pregnant dogs.
It is a beforehand thing. Make sure your dog is vaccinated before mating. It will reduce the possibilities of all the risks.
The vet will ask for a poop examination to detect the presence of parasites. It is important that you get this checkup done beforehand because parasites are dangerous and can make puppies’ lives horrible.
As they suck out all nutrients which were assigned to puppies’ bodies, and as a result, they may die.
Rabies, canine distemper, parvo, and hepatitis vaccinations should all be current before breeding, and pregnancy should be discouraged if at all feasible.
Ask your veterinarian about what to do if an emergency arises near the time of planned labor. And make a plan with your family and pet caregiver.
Make sure to take your dog regularly for a medical checkup to keep uptake on her health during the pregnancy tenure.
When dogs get pregnant, how long do they stay pregnant?
As per the Merck Veterinary Manual, dogs can be pregnant for 62-64 days or about two months.
It also claims that it is challenging to determine the exact delivery date because the date of conception may not necessarily correspond to the day of breeding.
Moreover, pregnancy duration can also vary according to different breeds and litter sizes.
In the first month of the dog pregnancy, the fertilized eggs are transported to the uterine horn.
In the lining, they implant themselves for about 15-18 days. In the starting stages of pregnancy, fetal growth is rapid, and these swellings double in size every seven days.
A veterinarian can easily check a fetal heartbeat by the end of the first month. The embryos start developing into puppy shapes and figures in the second month.
In the final stage of the second month, which is also the starting of the third-month puppy is ready to get out of the mother dog’s womb.
Well, that’s a wrap!
There are many parameters by which you can easily detect if your rescued dog ever had babies. You can check the texture of their belly. If it is loose, then there is a chance they had puppies.
Other than that, a pregnant dog will undergo several hormonal changes. Any change in their behavior can also be a sign. Like they tend to bark a lot if they feel you are a threat.
If you want to know more about this, read our article until the end. And, if you find this article helpful, please share it with other dog owners too.
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.