Pregnancy tests for dogs are not available as of the moment whether it is through urine or blood tests. The earliest times when the vets can detect that she is pregnant are between day 26 to day 35 after the breeding was done. This is done by feeling the pregnant dog’s abdomen and the accuracy for this method is 85%. For a more accurate diagnosis of dog pregnancy, the pregnant dog can undergo an x-ray examination at day 45. This method is 95% accurate and it can also determine how many puppies are in the womb.
There are only few observable changes for the first five weeks of dog pregnancy. Once the fifth week passed, pregnant dogs usually start to gain some weight particularly those with big offspring. For mother dogs with only one or two puppies in the womb, a little gain weight may occur until a few days before delivery. In the last three weeks of pregnancy, enlargement of the abdomen becomes visible. On day 35, the enlargement of the mammary glands may start to occur but it will be more visible only when day 45 comes. The presence of milk occurs as early as seven to nine days before giving birth. But in general, milk is produced only until one to two days before giving birth.
Dogs usually show some behavioral changes particularly in the last few weeks of their pregnancy. As the enlargement of abdomen happens, pregnant dogs usually become restless. They prefer to be alone most of the time and they will soil the house in the last few days of dog pregnancy. Shredding of things like blankets, bedding, or papers may happen as they try to do ‘nest building’ few weeks before delivery. It is better that you should avoid your children to be in contact with your pregnant dog since they will become really irritable.
Good nutrition is really important in any stages of dog pregnancy for the benefit of both mother and puppies. In the first four weeks, there is a little change in the nutritional need of the dog but it is better if you feed her with small quantity of high protein foods like lean muscle meats, eggs, and liver. Pregnant dogs will double their nutritional needs in the last five weeks of pregnancy. The amount of food in every meal should be increased. There should always be the availability of fresh water to compensate her increased need of fluid. It is also recommended that feeding puppy food should be done until the lactation period stops.
Moderate exercise is the best approach in dog pregnancy. Never force your dog to rest or make her do strenuous exercises. The good thing to do is to have short walks and short periods of gentle play with her.