Friday, September 14, 2018

What to Expect When Your Dog is Expecting: Part 1 - Signs of Pregnancy


Birthing is a natural thing, every living organism does it, now we at The Kardgoshians are not claiming to be experts and properly educated on the subject matter (Full disclosure, we are not breeders), so it’s still better to consult your vet. This series is based on carefully curated research and our own personal experience with the subject matter

Having a pregnant dog is hard especially if you don’t know everything there is to know. The Kardogshians have experienced four successful labors, one miscarriage, and one false pregnancy already. We are putting everything we learned through it all in this series to help would be newborn puppy owners know what they are up against



There are signs which you can observe that tells you whether or not your dog is pregnant, some of these signs may not appear, or some kind of variation may occur because every dog is different in handling pregnancy.

Behavioral Changes


Lethargic


For those whose dog is energetic, a change in her energy level might be an indication that she is pregnant. When your dog is pregnant she begins to experience feelings of exhaustion, it commences approximately two weeks into the pregnancy and may subside as soon as she learns to adjust to her new condition


Lack of appetite


A lack of appetite maybe a sign that your dog might be pregnant. Although it’s not a definitive quality, some dogs do eat less during the first two weeks of gestation and make up for it later in the pregnancy.

If this happens to your pregnant dog, don’t force feed her. She will eventually eat, although at a lesser extent than she did before. However it is still adviceable that you keep track of it. If your dog skipped one and a half day without eating, then it’s time to call the vet.


Extra Affectionate or Grumpy


All newly pregnant dogs will display a behavioral change, some like Khaleesi, become extra affectionate and clingy, while others like Harley turn grumpy. The explanation is simple, Dogs, specially first timers, does not understand what it is that they are feeling, so they cling to their humans because of their uncertainty and anxiety. For others they become grumpy because of the discomfort and feeling that are foreign to them. Most pregnant dogs exhibit both.


Morning Sickness


Not all pregnant dogs will have this, but some pregnant dogs will vomit intermittently during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This can range from a clear mucous to actual food. Unlike humans this can occur at any time of day


Nesting


Like any living, breathing beings pregnant dogs nest. It is an instinctive behavior for them, as pregnant humans try to get a ton of pillows so their baby will be comfortable, pregnant dogs choose the perfect place to take care of their potential pups. 

If you haven’t seen a dog nesting before, it can be best described as a dog; (1) collecting fabrics or soft materials in one spot or; (2) digging through a soft spot or on the floor or; (3) both




Physical Changes


Breast Development



This is the most obvious indicator that your dog is pregnant. Once a dog becomes pregnant, milk glands start to develop beneath the nipples, which in effect will enlarge the breasts in preparation for milk production. This can be felt during the 2nd week after breeding takes place. 


Change in Nipple Color

The nipples will also change color, experts say that it becomes more rosy, especially the last four to six nipples that are closest to the dog’s hind legs. Normally they are very light pinkish gray but they become flushed due to the increased blood flow to the area. This can be observed during the second week after breeding takes place

Tummy Gets Firm and bigger



This isn’t normally noticeable until mid-pregnancy (4-5 Weeks) As the pregnancy progresses, the growing fetus will naturally cause the bitch’s abdomen to grow in size. You’d see her stomach getting more plumped and firm to the touch.



Veterinary Confirmation

When Khaleesi had a second pregnancy, I didn’t even notice until my roommate asked me if she is. This senario backs up the fact that any normal human being can observe whether or not a dog is pregnant. However if you really wish to know for sure, there are plenty of medical procedures which your vet may partake.

Here are some that I would personally advice:


Ultrasound

Khaleesi's first pregnancy ultrasound. The small circular shape on the upper right portion of the screen is the fetus

If you’re a first timer you probably didn’t know that this exists, an ultra sound for animals. To those who are 100% clueless it’s a procedure that can provide a black and white view of your dog’s uterine contents. It will accurately detect how many embryos there are inside your dog’s uterus. It is best to do this around week 4 or 5. As there no apparent embryos to detect yet during the first 3 weeks

Blood Test


There are some vets who offer this kind of service. What it does is examine your dog’s blood for a presence of hormone relaxin which is released once the embryos implant in the uterus. This is best done during the 2-3 week of pregnancy

Palpation


Experienced vets can detect embryos just but feeling the dog’s stomach. I don’t suggest this unless you really trust your vet, because inexperienced vets that performs this can damage your dog’s embryos leading to a miscarriage

How about the other tests?


Other tests are either harmful or inexistent here in the Philippines. Our vet does not recomend the use of X-ray because of its high radiation content that can harm both the pregnant dog and the embryos. Experts advice that X-rays shall only be used under dire circumstances.


False Pregnancy Can Happen


Khaleesi have had this before, we all thought she was pregnant, she mated with another dog accidentally, then she started showing signs of pregnancy. According to experts, it is difficult to distinguish false and real pregnancy as the signs for both conditions are virtually the same. The main difference with a false pregnancy is you probably won't see them occur until at least four weeks after the heat cycle ends, and they may not even occur until nine weeks afterward. In a true pregnancy, you'll notice several signs within the first two weeks of gestation.



Is your dog pregnant? It’s probably time for you to know what to do... 


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XOXO The Kardogshians

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