Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs

Is my dog pregnant? Signs your dog may be pregnant, nestor4u2,
Is my dog pregnant? Signs your dog may be pregnant, nestor4u2,

Dog owners that start looking for signs of pregnancy in their dog are generally split into two distinct categories, on one side there are those that have planned the breeding and that are keeping their fingers crossed that their dog is pregnant, and on the other side, there are those worried about their dog because she accidentally ''slipped out the door'' when nobody was looking.

Regardless of the state of mind accompanying a possible pregnancy, there are some early signs in dogs that may possibly suggest that puppies are on the way. However, in order to determine if a pregnancy is likely, it helps to first get a grip on how the dog's heat cycle works. If the dog was purposely bred or ''slipped out the door'' at the right time of her estrus, then the likeliness of pregnancy are much higher.

A dog's estrus is typically divided into specific phases that all together average about 21 days. These phases are known as Pro-estrus, Estrus and Di-estrus.


This first phase lasts an average of 7-10 days and it is easily recognized by owners because it occurs when there is vaginal bleeding accompanied by vaginal puffiness and swelling. Female dogs at this stage flirt around a bit but do not allow the male to mount.


The estrus phase is the actual fertile phase that lasts an average of 4-13 days. The bleeding will be replaced by a straw colored fluid. Females at this stage are receptive to the male, they will keep their tail to their side and mating will occur. A male and female stuck together is known as a ''tie'' and this usually indicates a good chance of pregnancy.


The dog's heat ends at the di-estrus stage. During this stage the female will no longer be interested in mating however, males may still try to mount.

As seen, the estrus phase is the crucial phase that determines the likeliness of pregnancy. If you have planned the breeding, this is the stage at which you should have allowed your stud and bitch to mate. However, there is really no magic formula to grant a pregnancy. Some breeders prefer to have their dog's hormones checked by a vet to ensure breeding on the most fertile day. If you have not witnessed an actual mating, then there are still some chances that your female dog may not be pregnant. Now to possible signs...

Early signs of dog pregnancy

Generally, the first signs of pregnancy are detected a few weeks after mating. These signs are quite subtle and may be hard to detect for the unexperienced owner.These signs may be present on a case by case basis, so not all dogs exhibit the same signs. To make things worse, often false pregnancy may be confused for a real pregnancy.

~Morning Sickness

Just as humans, female dogs may get something a bit similar to ''morning sickness''. They may tend to lose their appetite and feel a bit nauseated at times. This is a normal occurrence that should subside as the pregnancy progresses and bigger appetites make up for these times.


The female dog may appear to be a bit sluggish and will be seen resting for some periods of time.This slight increase in inactivity are due to the hormonal fluctuations.

~Nipple Changes

The dog's nipples will begin to swell slightly. This may not be really evident at times. It is good practice to take a picture of them or measuring the size with some tape after suspecting pregnancy so to compare the size.

~Increase in Weight

A slight increase in weight may be noticeable around the first month. The dog's abdomen will also slightly enlarge and appear to feel firmer.

Late Pregnancy Signs

As the pregnancy advances, more evident signs make their appearance, most likely confirming a pregnancy or suggesting a false pregnancy..

~Behavior Changes

The bitch may appear restless and nesting behaviors may take place for about a week prior to parturition. This means that the dog starts looking for a place to give birth..

~Relaxed Muscles

The dog's abdomen will become pendulous and more distended as the puppies are carried quite low. This occurs because the abdominal muscles start to relax as labor nears.

~Presence of Milk

This sign quite widely differs from one dog to another. Some dogs may start producing milk already weeks in advance where others do not produce milk until the puppies are born.

Imminent Pregnancy Signs

These signs generally present from a day in advance or even hours from parturition

~Temperature Drop

If the temperature is taken multiple times daily at the same time when the dog is near giving birth, a distinct temperature drop will be seen when parturition is only 12 to 24 hours away. A dog's normal temperature is an average of 101.5 degrees so a temperature under 100 degreed often nearer to 98-99 degrees is suggestive of imminent birth.

~Muscle Flaccidity

The muscles of the vulva will appear significantly flaccid and pendulous. The same happens to the pelvic muscles.

~Appetite Changes

When labor is just a few days away, the bitch may gradually lose her appetite. In some cases, there may be episodes of vomiting.

~Increased Activity

The dog will pace and appear restless. She will go to a nesting place, lay down and get up repeatedly. She may also start panting, whining and lick her genitals. She may also seek her owners for reassurance.

~Vaginal Discharge

A fluid resembling the white of eggs will be expelled. This is a sign of impending pregnancy because this is the mucus plug that used to fill the cervix.


This is the most visible sign that parturition is near. These contractions involve both the uterus and the abdomen and will increase in intensity as the birth process comes near. Shortly, puppies will be delivered.

As seen there are several signs suggesting pregnancy however, the early signs are often quite subtle and hard to recognize. For owners that must really know, there are several tests that may give a black or white response.

For instance, your vet may palpate your dog's abdomen as early as 28 days after mating to feel possible embryos while an ultrasound may help determine how many puppies your bitch is expecting. A Relaxin blood test may detected pregnancy as early as in the first 21-25 days post breeding. X-rays may detect puppies skeletons 45 days post breeding. Puppies heartbeats, may as well be heard via stethoscope 25 days post-breeding.

Now that you know that your dog may be on her way to having puppies soon, congratulations if the breeding was planned, and have your dog spayed as soon as possible if your dog sneaked out of your home!

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Comments 67 comments

rose56 profile image

rose56 6 years ago

Thanks for the hub . i am thinking about breeding my dog. Thanks for the tips on dog breeding.

lily1516 6 years ago

thanks for the tips i really hope my dog will have puppies and i am so exited

cindyblue2003 6 years ago


I was wondering if you could help me with this: my dachshund is on day 63 of her pregnancy...she is breathing heavy and is very this normal?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Heavy breathing and panting are normal occurrences that may mean active labor. Weakness may be not, mostly a dog about to give birth will be restless, change position often, lick behind and seek a place to give birth. While weakness is not normal consider that some female dogs stay still and calm before giving birth, according to

So watch closely keep your vet's number handy and give him a call if you notice something unusual. Best wishes sent your way!

helen67 profile image

helen67 5 years ago

i think my dog maybe pregnant, shes not eating much just drinking (normally a big eater) shes itching her nipples she didn't tie with the dog just a slip do u think she could be pregnant, it happened 2-3 weeks ago. thanks

alexadry profile image

alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

I really wished I could know, only your vet can really tell. Generally ,a tie significantly heightens the chances for pregnancy but it is not necessary for pregnancy to take place. Have her see a vet so he could diagnose pregnancy, best wishes!

shelly 4 years ago

We breed our dog and I am pretty sure she is prgnant, this is our first time. She is a big breed dog so the signs are harder to see, but I am really notiicing "nesting" she continues to try to dig under our deck, my husband keep trying to cover it up and she continues to go back, is this a potential sign?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

It very likely could be, but those are also signs of phantom pregnancies in dogs, so the only way to tell for sure is by the vet.

Erica 4 years ago

My female was "stuck" 65 days ago by a stray dog and lately my other female has taken to licking the others there any way for me to know if she is pregnant

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

The female that got stuck 65 days ago would be by now obviously pregnant and ready to give birth anytime. Your other female was she bred? how long ago? licking the rear is not typically a sign of pregnancy

brandy 4 years ago

I have a question, my female boxer went into heat for her first time. 2 weeks after she stopped bleed I brought her to my parent's who has a male blood hound. Well I believe they got stuck but I did not see. That night at homee had what looked like sperm coming out of her vagina. (tmi sorry) but my question is are dogs fertile 2 weeks after bleeding? Could she be pregnant. This happened 2 weeks ago and her nipples are extremely swollen and she has been acting different.

kezzer23 4 years ago

hi my dog was mated twice 8 days ago but both times it was a slip mating could she still get pregnant

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

While a tie ups the chances for pregnancy, dogs do not have to tie together in order for the female to get pregnant. All that is necessary is for the male to ejaculate into her. So you don't necessarily have to have a tie for it to happen.

reginald 4 years ago

My dam dog is in her diestrus stage but she is fully active and increase in appitite help

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Reginald, I am not sure of what the problem is, in diestrus your female's heat cycle has ended, an increase in appetite is normal since she is no longer interested in mating. Only your vet can determine if she is expecting puppies. You see early signs of pregnancy within the first few weeks.

Angad Phadte profile image

Angad Phadte 4 years ago

i hve 1 Q. my lab which is 6 months old 1 morning i given her bath and after dat i noticed der was drops of blood on d floor frm her vargina.. i dont know how dis blood came..2-3 times & 3 days it happened.... many street dogs r coming for her & trying 2 mount afraid dat breed might mix... is she pregnant??? im new to dog so plzz help.. we r not leaving her outside but no trust on street dogs

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

If she is bleeding and other dogs are interested in her it means she is in heat. You need to keep her separated or she will get pregnant. Pregnant dogs give birth after about 57 to 63 days.

julia 3 years ago

I thought my dog was pregnant but now I'm not so sure, she has been flirting and acting like she want the male to mount her again. Is this normal or is she not pregnant and in heat again?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

How long ago did she mate the first time?

danielle simpson 3 years ago

My dog is not pregnaut but has milk coming out of her tits she has not had misscarige and is not going threw fake pregnacy

We are certain

alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Hnm. sounds like a medical mystery worth seeing your vet.

jordan mitchell 3 years ago

hi my female blue nose pitbull was mated a week ago by my male blue nose pitbull. she was appearing to be fertile earlier in the day so the male mounted her and over a three day period they'd tied twice each tie lasted for about 15 min. this mating occurred during her second heat, and shes 16 months. is my female pregnant for sure?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

Unfortunately, the tie myth is hard to debunk. There are dogs who don't tie and get pregnant and then there are dogs that tie and don't get pregnant, so the tie and its length are not a guarantee of a pregnancy. At around 30 days, your vet can palpate to feel embyros which feel like lumps. Don't try this on your own though as too much mishandling can harm them at this stage, best wishes!

raj 3 years ago

i had taken my dog for matting but it did not get locked with male will it still be pregnant

alexadry profile image

alexadry 3 years ago from USA Author

A tie isn't a guarantee that a dog will get pregnant, so there are dogs who tie and don't get pregnant, and there are dogs who don't tie and get pregnant.

meghna 2 years ago

Hello im meghna golden retriver got 5 mins tie...what's the possiblity for her to get pregnant??

alexadry profile image

alexadry 2 years ago from USA Author

A tie isn't a guarantee of pregnancy, and there are also dogs getting pregnant without it. The chances are higher if she was bred at the right time, and breeding every other day is helpful too.

Ninad 2 years ago

Hi I am Ninad from India

I have pug female around 2 years old

I tied her with a male dog before 46 days her stomack and belly are grown up but before 15 she not ate any food for 3 days i m worried about her pups

alexadry profile image

alexadry 2 years ago from USA Author

If she hasn't eaten food for 3 days she really needs to see a vet ASAP.

Alma 22 months ago

My dogs were in tie and now my female threw up twice is that normal?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 22 months ago from USA Author

It could be she may be stressed if she was brought into a new environment and/or this was the first time she was mated. Keep an eye on her and report to the vet if this continues.

mai 21 months ago

hello my dog is pregnet but her vulva doesn't seem to be getting any bigger is that going to be a problem she is a rat terrier

alexadry profile image

alexadry 21 months ago from USA Author

How many days since she was last bred?

Megan 21 months ago

My goldendoodle has been bred with another goldendoodle. This is our first time doing this. They officially hooked up on day 15 of her cycle. She stopped bleeding on day 12/13. What's the chances she is going to have pups? Were we to late in her cycle?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 21 months ago from USA Author

Generally, if the female stands for the male, it's sign it's a good time. It's usually late when the female loses interest and the male is still interested but she starts giving signs of caring less. Things get trickier with artificial insemination. With a natural breeding, consider that sperm lives for up to a week, so even if the timing is a bit off, chances may still be good. Now, as for chances of giving birth to pups , it's not easy to make predictions. The chances can be heightened by breeding the dogs every other day until the female will stand and is receptive. The off day in between allows sperm to refresh and be more viable. Now, if you really want to go into specifics, next time, if you really want to do things professionally, consult with a breeding mentor and inquire about doing progesterone and LH testing to pinpoint ovulation, the optimal breeding day is two days after ovulation.

Megan 21 months ago

The male was the one having problems breeding. When she finally excepted him and wanted him to mount her. He would lick her and then walk away. Turns out he was not sure what to do. We took them to the vet and they observed his behavior with her. She was standing for him and moving her tail to the side but he still would not mount her. They ended up having to take a sample from him and inject it in her. She was trying to get him to mount her for the past 3 days. So that is why I was wondering if we were to late in her cycle. At that time she was still standing for him so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 21 months ago from USA Author

Sounds like she was still in heat, standing for him and even flagging (moving the tail sideways). So sounds like the vets did artificial insemination on the spot. Considering that the estrus (heat) phase when the dog is most fertile can last six to ten days, things may still be favorable. However, there's no guarantee when it comes to these things, and only those tests I mentioned in my previous post could help getting as close to possible to the most fertile time.

isamar 20 months ago

My blue nose she is not pregnant and yellowish liquid is coming out of her tits

alexadry profile image

alexadry 20 months ago from USA Author

This could be sign of a false pregnancy or perhaps some issue of the mammary gland. Consult with your vet.

sarah burrows 20 months ago

Hi im needing a little advice my male dog is acting like he wants to mate with my dam pregnant she is around 7 weeks pregnant . Why is this happening please

alexadry profile image

alexadry 20 months ago from USA Author

Sometimes female dogs with urinary tract infections or anal gland problems may attract male dogs

Flavour101 18 months ago

My Alsatian is almost 2yrs 6months old and still not come on heat as every other Dogs do,a male Alsatian brought to my compound and they got tied for almost 3consecutive days hoping she should be pregnant, sometimes I saw her belle big and sometimes not does this mean she's pregnant and today is 51days. She has not been eating properly these days, I wonder if she's labouring but confuced on the belle,milk not coming out from her breast as well Pls what can I do?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 18 months ago from USA Author

It's hard to tell as signs of false pregnancy and real pregnancy are very similar. At that stage of pregnancy if she were pregnant, you might see the occasional movement of puppies in the abdomen. I would see the vet to make sure because if she's pregnant she needs to be on an appropriate diet.

Edel 16 months ago

My dog is 10/12 days into her heat and cried when male tried to mount her. Can it be too early

alexadry profile image

alexadry 16 months ago from USA Author

It could be she's not ready or she is inexperienced and worried about the male's behavior.

alison 16 months ago

So my dog had puppies 3 months ago and this morning my male and female were stuck together. However there was no bleeding prior to this and no signs of her being in heat. Can she still be pregnant even though there was no bleeding?

soji 13 months ago

Well dats because some dogs come on heat early

AllsoBullie 12 months ago

This is the first time that ever happen as long as I've been breeding a little bit of blood came out of vagina and she is 4 weeks since got her mated is that normal

Leana 12 months ago

My dog may b 1 week pregnant. She's staying in a bush and wont come out. She seems sick. Could this b morning sickness.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 12 months ago from USA Author

I would have her checked out by a vet , seems like she's sick.

mohsin 7 months ago

hi.... i want to ask i have rott and she mated a month ago today she accidentally rolled down from 3 step of our stairs to ground does there any chances of damage to her or babies although she is fine

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 months ago from USA Author

Have her checked out by your vet to be safe.

Bb 7 months ago

My female was in heat. We kept her secluded so she doesnt get pregnant. We boarded her and now 2 weeks later she is bleeding again (way to soon). My boarder said she wasnt with any other male. Is this to soon for this bleeding?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 7 months ago from USA Author

I would have her checked out by a vet, this sounds abnormal.It could be a possible infection or a mass or polyp in the uterus.

Ana 7 months ago

My dog was accidentally mounted by another dog while she was out walking with my sister. We do not want her to get pregnant seeing as she is a small dog and it might be dangerous for her to get pregnant. Apparently, she and the male dog had already 'tied' by the time my sister caught them... is 'tying' a guarantee of pregnancy? What are the possible options we have to prevent pregnancy besides spaying?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 months ago from USA Author

Tying is not a guarantee of pregnancy. There are dogs who get pregnant without a tie and dogs who don't get pregnant even after tying for a long time. The other option to not get a dog pregnant other than spaying is keeping male and female dog separated.

chasity 6 months ago

Hi my dog got out tied up with a dog and then about 4 days later with another one is it possible for her to be pregnant

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 months ago from USA Author

Sure, the fact she tied twice in 4 days can up the chances for pregnancy and she may have pups from different fathers if she was fertile in those days.

Nook Middelton 5 months ago

Hi, my name is Nook Middelton. I have a dog who is about 1 year and a half. She is lazy at times, but lately she has been really lazy. Her privates are swelling a bit and she has been peeing blood a few times this morning. Also she is sometimes licking her nips. She has not been 'tied' or anything like that. Is she pregnant, or is does she have some other problem? Because I seriously do not know.

alexadry profile image

alexadry 5 months ago from USA Author

I wonder if perhaps your dog is in heat, from the swelling and bleeding it sounds like it. However, the blood should be coming from her privates and not in the urine, even though it can get mixed at times and make things confusing. I would take her to the vet though if you aren't sure as a urinary tract infection can cause blood in the urine.

Jasmine 5 months ago

Can you put the male dog with the female dog while she is pregnant?

Garry 5 months ago

My rottweiler is now 68th day of pregnant but still no puppies

Noelle H. 3 months ago

I just adopted a young dog who recently had her first heat, they said that a dog tried to mount her but wasn't bred, but I notice she has hardening between her tits and around her nipples, could that be from her heat a month ago or pregnancy?

Dogg pug 3 months ago

I would go with the second answer it happened to my pet pug doggy

Torii 8 weeks ago

Hi well my pitbull mated like two days ago and now the keep mating..just today she was whimpering is this normal what does it mean?

Dpatterson 7 weeks ago

I have a female who just turned a year two males got her a bunch of times cause she smart and know how to get out of the cage they got her August 12 and only thing she showe is her belly a little bigger and she not eating as much and not as active

Katharine 4 weeks ago

I wanted to ask a few things. Now, I've been around dogs. All My life. All types & Breeds.

I have Two Pure Huskys. I was trying my best, to keep Sapphire and Julian away from each other. Since it was Her first heat.

But, I think it's Possible he got her, at Night. I didn't see them tie at all. But, Her Blobs are Pink. And are a bit more Swollen. She is resting more. Now, this happened around the Week of Aug. Almost the Very end. But, as i said. I'm not sure. I won't do the Ex-Ray on her. I'm the Other One. Since, they aren't alright, for Mother or pups. But, what are the odds? She also throws up just a bit. But not much. She is NOT sick.. Thanks.

Please let me know.

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