Usually pregnancy does not come as a surprise to pet owners. When dogs and cats are not neutered or spayed, it is generally because the pet parent intends to breed them. Stud services can be expensive, leaving breeders anxious to know if the reproduction attempts have worked. However on occasion, “accidents” do happen, and dogs may get pregnant unintentionally. Whether the pregnancy was planned or not, there are certain tell-tale indications that your little pooch might be eating for two, or more accurately, many.

Decreased appetite: This is not unlike the human experience of morning sickness. Stomach discomfort and minor nausea might cause the pup to back off of her usual meal portions. She may be eating less frequently, or show a lack of interested in eating at all. However, if this persists longer than 2-3 days of fasting, you should take your dog to the vet to ensure there is nothing else ailing her.

Disinterest in activity: One of the most notable effects of pregnancy is that it often renders the mother far more exhausted than she was previously. It will be evident in her growing disinterest in active games, sports or outings that she used to love. This is a natural part of the dog’s fluctuation in hormone levels.

Increased appetite: Just as pregnancy affects each woman uniquely, some dogs experience no decline in their appetite at all. Instead of avoiding their food, they seem to eat with greater gusto, scraping their plates and waiting nearby in hopes for more. Resist the urge to gratify your pup’s cravings, by helping to feed her smaller portions spread throughout the day rather than loading up the food bowl with a giant meal.

Physical changes: In preparation for the dog’s forthcoming youngsters, your pet’s body will go through some distinct physical changes indicating that she is pregnant. She will experience nipple development and growth within 2 weeks of getting pregnant. They will also mildly change in coloration, particularly in the nipples closest to the dog’s back legs. Before pregnancy, they will be a lighter shade of pink or gray, but will darken and grow as blood flow increases when the dog’s milk comes in.

Behavior changes: Though canine behavior will range from becoming more cuddly and affectionate, while other dogs will act aloof or removed and prefer to be left along more often. Whatever side of the pendulum your dog swings to, the important thing to note is that there will be a change of behavior in some fashion. If you notice your dog’s moods, behaviors, energy levels and eating habits shift, and begin to see physical changes occur as well, the likely cause is pregnancy.