Most dogs get in heat at least twice or three times a year, depending on their size and breed. Female dogs attract male dogs in their vicinity with the pheromones that they secrete and cause pregnancy in dogs. What if this is an unwanted dog pregnancy?
If you own a female dog and are not wary about heat cycles, you could own multi-breed puppies in no time. And this will contribute to an already overwhelming overpopulation of dogs.
As a result, animal shelters stay packed because of the large number of puppies left. Primarily due to unwanted pregnancies.
In this article, we will help you determine the signs of whether your dog is pregnant or not. We will also discuss the ways how to prevent or terminate this.
Ready for this? Read on to continue.
Symptoms of Pregnancy in Dogs
Pregnancy can be an exciting experience for your dog. However, it can also be tedious and weary for your pet, especially when it is unwanted.
To prevent this from happening, here are some signs and symptoms of dog pregnancy you must take note of:
#1: Weight gain and swollen abdomen
Similar to humans, female dogs bloat for several reasons. It could be due to the food they eat or the air inside their belly.
When they get pregnant, they usually show the same symptom after gaining more weight.
If you suspect your dog being pregnant, schedule an appointment with your nearest veterinarian to see if it's true.
However, if their abdomen looks heavier than usual, then it must not be pregnancy. It must be another underlying health issue.
Thus, it is better to check with experts before throwing an unwanted puppy shower for your dog.
#2: Enlarged and discolored nipples
Before pregnancy, an unbred female dog's nipples are small and flat. Furthermore, depending on their breed, their nipples range from gray to light pink.
However, if your dog is pregnant, these things will change.
Once bred, their nipples will grow large and ample. Its color would also turn into a slightly darker shade, which indicates an increase in blood flow.
These signs will show during the first stages of pregnancy. But during its last stages, their nipples might also start leaking milk.
#3: Decreased appetite and activity
Have you noticed anything different from your dog? Although they are usually hyperactive, have they been spending their time napping and lying down all day?
Although it may be an underlying disease, your dog feeling weary and sleepy might also be a sign of pregnancy.
These symptoms are due to the several changes they feel in their body. Their body is primarily preparing for motherhood and what comes after it.
Furthermore, during pregnancy, most female dogs go through mood swings. Some manifest it by refusing to eat or sleep with you.
Thus, if you suspect your dog of being pregnant, have them checked by their veterinarian as soon as possible.
#4: Unusual behaviors due to mood swings
As I've mentioned above, pregnant dogs tend to have frequent mood swings. And they show this through unusual behaviors.
Sometimes, they may spend their time by themselves and act indifferent towards you. Your dog may even get angry at you for no reason.
In contrast, they may seek extra attention and snuggle all day with you. Or lick your face to show how much they love you.
There are other unusual behaviors that a dog shows when they're pregnant. But that will primarily depend on their mood and groove.
#5: Nesting behavior
Another thing you should be wary about is your dog's nesting behavior. It includes tearing clothes, paper, or other pieces before gathering them in one place to form a “nest.”
It should happen during the final stages of pregnancy where their maternal instincts start kicking in.
She may also become aggressive during this period. Thus, you must keep them away from toddlers or children to avoid unforeseen mishaps.
How to Prevent Unwanted Pregnancy In Dogs
I'm sure you have already heard of the saying, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Although this quote refers to several situations, it can also relate to unwanted dog pregnancies.
Puppies are adorable and cuddly. However, if we don't have the resources to take care of them, it might break out into a bigger problem.
Thus, to stop this from happening, here are some of the things that can help you prevent your dog's unwanted pregnancy.
#1: Spaying and neutering will keep them from an unwanted pregnancy
Spaying and neutering is an operative surgery that sterilizes an animal's private part. Spaying is for females, while neutering is for males.
Female dogs don't undergo menopause. Thus, if you have no intention of having your dog mated, spaying them might be the best option for you.
This procedure is a much safer option since it reduces your dog's chances of infection and illnesses. Furthermore, knowing that your dog will not get pregnant will also give you peace of mind.
#2: No budget for spaying? Isolate them
However, if you don't want to sterilize your dog for specific reasons, you might want to follow this suggestion.
Isolating your dog inside your house is tested and guaranteed. Through isolation, female dogs are refrained from meeting and breeding with male dogs.
Although it might be hard, using this process effectively keeps your dog from having an unwanted pregnancy.
#3: The use of dog underwear
Have you heard of a dog wearing underwear or maybe a diaper?
It may be unusual, but dogs wearing this type of clothing is just one of the ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
It is primarily available in local or online pet stores. But you can also see them in your nearest shopping malls.
Dog panties are for female dogs, while belly bands are for male dogs.
Depending on the product you are using, it will also help minimize the chemicals your dog emits during its heat cycle. These chemicals are the reason why they attract other dogs within the vicinity.
#4: Know when your dog is in heat
It pays to be prepared, so knowing when your dog will be in heat is a must for dog owners.
To start, dogs go into heat at least twice a year. However, they vary in terms of their heat length, hormonal changes, and discharge amount.
When female dogs are in heat, it usually lasts from 7 to 10 days. And you probably won't even notice it, especially if your dog prides herself on hygiene.
In addition, some dogs have a silent heat cycle. Meaning, they don't display any outward symptoms of being in the heat but can still become pregnant.
These are some of the things you should be wary of to know if your female dog is indeed in the heat:
- They are overly friendly with other dogs, particularly male dogs;
- If they mount or hump anything such as your sofa or pillows;
- They more often than not turn their tails to the side; or
- If they are fidgety or always nervous.
The needs of your dog when in heat will vary, which is a big responsibility and challenge. If you want to prevent unwanted pregnancies immediately, you can have them sterilized.
#5: Be a responsible parent for your dog
Overall, the key to preventing pregnancy is to be a responsible dog owner. It may sound easy-peasy, but trust me, this is ain't child's play.
Being a responsible dog parent is not limited to playing, training, and feeding. Although these are commendable traits, there are more to what being a pet parent is.
That includes knowing what you should do or what you can do for your dog. Most significantly during unwanted pregnancies.
Termination of Unwanted Dog Pregnancy
Within forty-five days of conception, a veterinarian can terminate a dog's unwanted pregnancy. However, it can be hazardous to the dog's emotional, mental, and physical health.
Attempting to terminate a dog pregnancy after forty-five days leads to the birth of dead puppies. As a consequence, it might result in the mother dog's depression.
They may also refuse to eat and drink. Worst, your dog may torment themselves into dehydration.
Here are some tried-and-true ways to induce abortion in pregnant dogs in the right way.
#1: Mismate or Misalliance Treatment
Mismate or Misalliance therapy refers to the procedure of injecting Alizin into your dog's neck.
Two shots of Alizin represses progesterone receptors in a dog's uterus. As a result, it cripples the uterus, ending an unwanted dog pregnancy.
If you decide to acquire Alizin, it would be best to ask for help from a trusted veterinarian. They are the only ones qualified to inject this on your dog.
However, before using it, it would be best if you take precautions first. Do your research and consult your veterinarian before injecting this into your dog.
Dexamethasone is an immunosuppressive steroid used to treat various diseases in both people and animals. In dogs, its usage includes eye and skin problems.
Under proper medical supervision, administering dexamethasone can result in painless abortions in dogs. However, its administration must be after a few days following copulation, or most preferably within a few hours.
Subsequently, the fetus is either emitted or absorbed, depending on how the dog's body reacts. Some of the adverse effects of using dexamethasone to abort dog pregnancies range from moderate to severe, including vaginal discharge and malnutrition.
Although extremely rare, it can also become deadly.
#3: Injectable Estrogens
Compared to oral estrogens, injectable estrogens are far safer.
Using oral estrogens can expose your dog to more illnesses and infections. An example is a pyometra or an infected uterus.
Furthermore, oral estrogen is ineffective when not given at the right time. As a consequence, you're putting your dog's life in jeopardy for nothing.
In contrast, instead of being taken orally, injectable estrogen can be administered as skin patches. These patches help the said chemical go straight to your dog's blood; thus, avoiding the chances of a liver problem.
Furthermore, it doesn't negatively affect your dog's uterus; thus, allowing future pregnancies later on.
The only catch with this one is to give them as soon as the dogs finish mating.
#4: Prostaglandin F2 Alpha
Prostaglandin F2 Alpha is also a popular choice for terminating dog pregnancies. Similar to injectable estrogens, it has a high effectiveness rate with few to no adverse effects.
Prostaglandin F2 Alpha is a natural hormone that increases the oxytocin levels within the uterus. This reaction, in turn, becomes effective in their abortion.
However, this chemical, it must be administered by a qualified expert. Furthermore, after infusing it into your dog, they must be kept under observation.
Aside from inducing abortion, your dogs might also experience trembling, nausea, and diarrhea. Panting or shortness of breath can also occur.
#5: Dopamine Agonists
Dopamine agonists function by inhibiting the synthesis of prolactin, a hormone essential for pregnancy maintenance. Prolactin suppression causes a drop in progesterone, causing a dog's pregnancy to end.
Although you can administer it to your dog by yourself, it is safer to bet on the supervision of a good vet.
In dogs, the most common adverse effects of this medication include lack of appetite and nausea. However, it can also cause excessive salivation, vomiting, and scratching on the injected area.
The advantage of dopamine agonists is that your dog must take them orally after 25 days of gestation. This ample time will allow you to consider to terminate the pregnancy or not.
Accidents happen, and many dogs become pregnant against their owners' desires.
In most situations, the best remedy to this problem is to spay the dog, which will prevent it from occurring in the future.
However, in some cases, once we come to know that our dog is pregnant, we tend to end it without thinking.
While it may be hard for us to decide for our dogs, keep in mind that this will be heartbreaking for them. It is their child that we are taking away from them.
Thus, like all mothers, they might not be able to bear the mental and emotional exhaustion that it will cost them.
Hence, let's help our dogs avoid this unwanted pregnancy and spare them from the pain. Remember that they aren't just pets; they are family.