Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy in Siberian Huskies

Perhaps you've recently bred your Siberian husky and are anxiously awaiting signs of conception. It's also possible your naughty girl escaped the yard and you want to know if her night out will have any unintended, albeit adorable, consequences. Either way, it's good to know the signs of pregnancy. Spotting the signs quickly will help you get her the prenatal care she needs if husky puppies are on the way.

Two siberian husky sleeping side by side
It is important to know the prenatal signs of pregnancy with Siberian Huskies so that you can best help them.
credit: Pavel Kormakov / FOAP/foap/GettyImages

Spotting a pregnancy early is best

Pregnancy in a dog lasts only a short 63 days. Because the pregnancy progresses so quickly, you don't have a lot of time to detect and correct any problems along the way. If you've bred your dog, her vet should be able to feel puppies in her uterus about 28 days later. She can also use an ultrasound to detect fetal heartbeats between 25 and 35 days after conception.

If your dog took matters into her own hands, you won't have the benefit of simply tracking her on a dog pregnancy calendar. You'll need to know the subtle early signs of pregnancy to look for. The first stage of pregnancy lasts three weeks, and fatigue and a loss of appetite may be the only clues your dog offers about her condition. These signs can also indicate illness, however, so visit the vet rather than assuming your dog is pregnant.

The second phase of Siberian husky pregnancy

In weeks four and five of her pregnancy, your husky's body will start to change. She won't have a visibly swollen abdomen just yet, but she will start to gain weight and her appetite will likely come back with a vengeance. Like humans, dogs frequently vomit early on in their pregnancy, so make sure you feed your dog small, frequent meals as her appetite improves rather than giving her large amounts of food all at once.

The second phase of pregnancy also causes changes to the nipples. While normally very flat and discrete, your dog's nipples will start to get bigger and rounder. You may also notice them taking on a red hue. This happens as blood flow to the area increases in preparation for making and expressing milk for the puppies.

Now is also the time to look for some behavioral changes. Your dog may come to you for more frequent affection if she is pregnant, wanting extra snuggles. She may go the other way, however, and become more aloof. The key is to look for any changes in behavior rather than looking for a specific behavior.

Coming down the home stretch

The third stage of pregnancy in your dog will begin at around six weeks. The third stage is the final one before delivery, and you'll start noticing rapid changes in your dog at this time. You're likely to notice that her belly is getting much larger as your dog will start to look pregnant during this phase.

You'll also notice your dog's nipples getting much larger and hanging fairly low when she stands and walks. There may even be white, milky discharge from the nipples upon occasion. During this final stage of pregnancy, you may be able to see the puppies moving inside your dog when she lays down or feel them when gently rubbing her abdomen.

As your dog nears the end of this phase, she will look for and prepare a place to birth her puppies. This can prove a frustrating time for owners, as your dog may start to shred her bed or other fabrics looking for nesting material. You and your dog will both fare better at this time if you give your dog a comfortable box and plenty of old towels and soft materials to build her birthing space with.

When it's time

Labor and delivery are the last phase of your husky's pregnancy and will last only for a few days. As labor begins, your dog's temperature will drop to around 99 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The new puppies will arrive about 24 hours after this temperature drop.

Care for pregnant Siberian husky

If you and your vet have determined that your husky is pregnant, it's important to give her proper care. You can maintain your dog's normal exercise routine during the first month of her pregnancy, but limit her to short walks and avoid strenuous activities after that. Feed her a high protein diet throughout her pregnancy, providing her with 30 to 50 percent more food than usual starting around five to six weeks into gestation.

Make sure your pet has routine checkups and ultrasounds at the vet as often as he recommends. It's also imperative that you avoid vaccinating your dog while she is pregnant and confirm that any medications she takes are safe for her and her puppies. If your dog needs worming during her pregnancy, ask your vet about fenbendazole or other pregnancy-safe wormers.

Support your dog

During the last three weeks of pregnancy, keep your dog away from other dogs. This ensures that she won't contract any illnesses or diseases like the herpes virus, which could cause miscarriage. You want your dog to be as healthy as possible during her delivery to minimize the risk of complications.

Support your dog's emotional health, as well. Shower her with extra love and attention when she wants it, but let her have her space when she asks for it as well.

Help your dog through labor

It's easy to get nervous and worry when your dog goes into labor, but try to stay relaxed. Your dog's body knows exactly what to do and she should need only minimal help from you. Your primary goal is to provide emotional support for your dog, speaking to her lovingly and stroking her gently if she will allow it.

When each puppy is born, your dog should break open the sac that surrounds him and may even eat it. If she does not do so promptly, simply break the sack yourself so the puppy can breathe and clean him gently with a towel. While breaking the sack around her baby open, your dog should also cut the umbilical cord. If she fails to do so, simply cut it off about two inches away from the puppy with a pair of scissors and tie it off with some unwaxed dental floss.

Passing the placenta

As your dog gives birth, she should pass a puppy and then a placenta. Count the placentas and make sure she has one for each puppy. If you come up short, take your dog to the vet so she can remove the retained placenta. You should also take your dog to the vet if she strains for more than 45 minutes without producing a puppy or experiences a lag of more than two hours between puppies.

Get veterinary help for your dog immediately if she begins to shake, tremble, or collapse during labor. It's also time for professional intervention if your dog hasn't gone into labor but her pregnancy has gone more than 64 days.