Physical Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs

Pregnancy in dogs occurs after the fertilization process. A dog can be fertilized during the first few days of the heat cycle or oestrus period. Canine pregnancy lasts approximately 9 weeks and the dog will display a few physical signs along with a few behavioral changes. The first physical symptoms will only be noticed after 1 to 3 weeks of pregnancy.

The Heat Cycle Stops

The heat cycle in canines lasts between 3 and 4 weeks, depending on the breed and age of the dog. A dog having the heat cycle will bleed and may become pregnant during the first few days of the oestrus. The exact number of days during which the dog can get pregnant may vary and can be established by the vet, but it is typically between 2 and 5 days.

If the dog has intercourse during these days, she will get pregnant.

If the dog is fertilized, the heat cycle will stop and will not last 3 to 4 weeks, as usual.

Modified Nipples

The appearance of the nipples will be modified if the dog is pregnant. The nipples will be visibly swollen after week 2 of pregnancy and will have a pinkish color. The nipples may also be tender to the touch.

As the due date approaches, the breasts can get larger and the dog may produce milk, so you may notice a few milk drops in the nipple area.


A pregnant dog may be vomiting on a regular basis during the first 3 weeks of pregnancy. Chronic vomiting is a severe symptom that shouldn’t be overlooked, but if you notice other pregnancy signs, you don’t need to worry, as vomiting is normal.

Larger Abdomen

Even if this symptom will only be visible after week 5 of pregnancy, the enlargement of the abdomen is a sign of pregnancy. The size of the abdomen will depend on how many puppies your dog carries. The abdomen will get larger by each week of pregnancy.

Later in the pregnancy, the puppies may also be noticed when they are moving or shifting position.

Weight Gain

In the early stages of the pregnancy, you may not notice any weight variations, as your dog will not gain weight due to the constant vomiting and nausea. However, as the pregnancy progresses, you will notice your dog will start to eat more than she normally does and she will also gain weight.

Other Symptoms of Pregnancy

In addition to the physical signs of pregnancy you may also notice a few other symptoms that your dog displays. She will have a different behavior and will tend to seek for your attention more often. When the delivery time approaches, the dog will become less friendly and will be hiding, trying to look for a secluded place where she can deliver the puppies.

If you see any pregnancy signs, you should get a few vitamins and supplements and change the dog’s diet, so that she has all she needs for the puppies.