Dog owners must learn the signs and symptoms of pregnancy to prevent or treat unexpected problems. A female dog must breed at the right time under the correct conditions to ensure pregnancy.
In the early stages of pregnancy, the dog will eat less and demonstrate a decreasing appetite. Throughout the eight-week to nine-week gestation period, she will exhaust easily and be less active due to hormonal changes and embryo production.
Throughout pregnancy, the dog will display physical changes. Ordinarily the dog's abdominal area will be flat with small nipples. As pregnancy progresses, breasts begin developing to promote milk production. After the first month, the dog's appetite may increase and she will gain more weight. During this time, the abdominal area will feel thick and firm.
In the final pregnancy stages, the dog's abdomen hardens and increases in size, based on the number and size of puppies she is carrying. In comparison, smaller dogs will show pregnancy more obviously than larger dogs. Puppy movement can be felt in the final weeks, indicating the impending birth.