How Can I Tell If My Labrador Is Pregnant?

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A Labrador with puppies.
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A dog's pregnancy cycle is so much shorter than a human's that oftentimes a dog can be pregnant, and the owner will not know until a few days before the due date. It is important to know when your dog is pregnant so that you can care for her during her pregnancy. If you have a labrador retriever and are asking yourself, "How can I tell if my labrador is pregnant?" look for these signs.

Swollen Teats

Examine you labrador's teats.
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Examine your labrador's teats to see if they are swollen. According to Dr. John Rappaport of Pet Place, a dog is pregnant for about 64 to 66 days. When the lab is about halfway through her two-month pregnancy cycle, her nipples will become enlarged with milk. The engorged teats are a sign that her body is preparing itself to nurse puppies.

Swollen Stomach

Feel your lab's tummy.
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Feel your lab's stomach to determine if it is swollen. It should begin to look and feel swollen about halfway through her pregnancy. It should begin to drop down toward the floor.


Decrease in Appetite

If your dog loses interest in food, she may be pregnant.
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If your labrador is a regular chow hound and suddenly becomes uninterested in even her most favorite morsels, she might be pregnant. Just like humans, labs can experience morning sickness when they are carrying puppies and may lose the desire to eat. If the dog begins throwing up her food shortly after eating, it is another indication that she may be pregnant.


Tired or Lethargic

A dog that is sleeping much more may be pregnant.
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If your lab appears to be a little tired and sluggish, she could be pregnant. Maybe she does not want to play fetch or run around the yard. She may not get as excited when it is time to go for a walk, or perhaps she wants to return from her walks more quickly than normal. She may be laying around the house a lot and sleeping more.


Begins Nesting

Your dog may prepare a nest.
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When your labrador is pregnant, she may begin trying to prepare a nest for the puppies. She may drag blankets or towels to an area and try to set them up for her puppies. She may scratch around on her own bed in an attempt to make it larger for her family.


Trip to the Vet

Bring your dog to the vet.
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The only way to tell for sure if your lab is pregnant is to take her to the vet. The vet can take X-rays and perform tests to determine for sure if the dog is pregnant and can tell you when to expect the puppies to arrive.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.