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How can I tell if my pet is pregnant?

There are some tell-tale signs of pregnancy:

  1. Nesting behaviour – if your dog attempts to make herself a nest of some kind, either with blankets or tearing up paper.
  2. Mothering behaviour – your dog may start to ‘mother’ articles around the home, such as shoes, toys etc.
  3. Weight gain – this is usually noticeable after the 4th week of pregnancy.
  4. Abdominal enlargement or swelling.
  5. Mammary gland (breast) enlargement.
  6. Abnormal behaviour – if your dog appears to be extremely slow and sleepy, has a fluid discharge and does not seem interested in food anymore – in these circumstances it is advisable to call your vet as soon as possible.
  7. False pregnancies, commonly known as ‘phantom pregnancies’, can often be the cause in some animals of the behaviour listed above. These normally occur 4-6 weeks after the animal has been in season. It is normal physiological behaviour and your vet will be able to advise you on the best way to manage ‘phantom pregnancies’ in your pet.