Female dogs not getting pregnant

If your female dog has mated with a male and neither of them has been neutered, then it's very possible she's pregnant. A pregnant bitch doesn't produce milk until near the end of gestation (or sometimes only after the puppies are born).
Your dog does not need to take in extra calories until the final third of the pregnancy (after about 40 days). The symptoms of pyometra can mimic pregnancy in that your dog's tummy may enlarge and she lacks energy.
Note that the ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure that is done while your dog is conscious. Sedating a pregnant bitch is best avoided because of the risk of a drop in blood pressure to puppies in the womb.
This version of How to Detect Pregnancy in Your Female Dog was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on January 27, 2015. It can be difficult to tell whether a dog is pregnant until the last few weeks of her nine-week gestation, when her belly's increase in size is hard to miss. The operator will need to clip fur on the tummy of very furry dogs so that the probe can make good contact with her skin. Pregnant female dogs absolutely do suffer from morning sickness like people do, however not until approximately day 21 after being mated. Some dogs may become quieter than usual, others may become more affectionate and clingy, and still others could withdraw and want to be left alone. If your dog has been mated but subsequently goes off her food in the next few days or weeks, this is unlikely to be related to pregnancy and she should be checked by a veterinarian. A laboring mom who is not used to being handled or touched may be more likely to bite, so use caution! This version of How to Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on March 19, 2015. If your dog has any temperament problems, such as being untrustworthy around people, overly aggressive, excitable, or a biter due to fear, you should not breed it.
Keep in mind that typically, the sire (male)'s owner does not incur any costs and receives the pick of the litter as a form of payment. Watch for signs of ovulation.[17] Just because a dog is in heat does not mean that she is hormonally or psychologically ready to mate. Keep in mind that artificial insemination still has not reached the same success level as natural breeding.
Normally, only two handlers should be present — preferably you and the owner of the other dog.[22] Don’t bring in any strangers who might distract the dogs.
The latter can happen with dogs that are particularly bonded to their owners and see themselves more as a person than another dog. Don’t be alarmed if the dogs take a "tie" position.[26] This is when they turn and face away from each other as they mate.
Re-mate the dogs.[27] Two days after the initial mating, you should try to mate the dogs again. This version of How to Get Dogs to Mate was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on June 13, 2015. However, not every mating results in pregnancy, especially if the act happened at a time when your dog was not ovulating. If you have had her since she was a puppy, then you will know if she has been neutered (had her womb removed) or not. Castrated or neutered male dogs can mate with a female but cannot produce sperm to impregnate her.

Many owners remark that their bitch changes character during pregnancy: she seems sleepier, more lethargic, and starts to build nests.
One of the more reliable signs of pregnancy is if a female dog "pinks up," which describes the enlargement of her nipples. As with pregnant women, an expanding center is a strong hint–but it should be interpreted with caution.
If your dog is struggling during pregnancy, she needs help; however, there is also a distinct chance she is not pregnant, but has a condition mimicking pregnancy, including false pregnancy and pyometra.
Ultrasound scans are a popular way of confirming pregnancy, because in the hands of a skilled operator small changes in the womb can be detected as early as 18 days. A pregnant dog should be given increased food in the final third of pregnancy, but many owners tend to increase their bitch's food ration too early. If you suspect that your dog is pregnant, it is worthwhile to visit the vet to confirm your suspicion. The gold standard to test for pregnancy is for your vet to run a blood test that looks for the presence of a pregnancy hormone called Relaxin. If the test is run before this date it is possible to get falsely negative results, where you believe the bitch isn't pregnant when she is. A dog may not show any signs of pregnancy in the first 2-3 weeks (which is the first third of the pregnancy).
Some people first suspect their bitch might be pregnant because she is a bit quieter than usual, but this is more anecdotal observation than proven fact. This is also the case if you see a vaginal discharge (not normal during pregnancy) or if she is vomiting regularly. A few weeks after going into heat, a dog can exhibit signs of pregnancy, such as enlarged nipples and increased appetite, without actually being pregnant.[14] Check with your vet to make absolutely sure whether your dog is pregnant. Just like human beings, dogs need to reach biological sexual maturity before it's medically safe for them to breed. Mating a bitch whose body is too old for pregnancy can be as dangerous, both to mother and litter, as early breeding.
A responsible breeder will try to improve the breed, not pass on genetic flaws that will pose health concerns in the next generation. You should be able to feel her ribs but not see them, and she should have an evident waistline.
Note that a bloody discharge in a bitch that is not due in heat should trigger an urgent vet appointment, because it can be a sign of womb infection and can be serious. If your female is a long-haired breed, there's a chance her fur might interfere with the mating process.
Once inserted, a part of the sire's penis called the "bulbus glandis" will swell.[25] This increased size will cause it to lodge inside the female's vagina. The male will slide his front legs off to one side of the female and usually lift one hind leg over her back, so they are both standing rear-to-rear. The dogs can stay tied for a long time — the average being 15 to 45 minutes for most breeds. One theory behind the tie is that it protects the dogs from attack during this vulnerable period. Once the male's penile swelling has reduced and the female's sphincter muscles have loosened, they will separate.
However, if the dog came to you as an adult from a rescue center, then you might not know for sure. If your dog is fastidious, she may spend a lot of time washing her vulva, so the discharge may not be obvious.

Pregnancy diagnosis methods depend on detecting hormonal changes, physical changes, or identifying embryos in the womb. However, these are also the signs associated with pseudopregnancy, or false pregnancy, where the bitch behaves as if she is pregnant when in fact she isn't. In a healthy, fit bitch, her body silhouette may not show obvious changes until 50-55 days of pregnancy, when the womb is sufficiently enlarged to fill the tummy. While a false pregnancy (usually caused by a hormonal imbalance after heat)[11] is not life-threatening, a pyometra definitely is. Because they are only of use once the fetal skeleton is calcified, which happens after day 49, the diagnosis is made relatively late in the pregnancy. Pregnant dogs show some signs of being pregnant in the early, middle, and late stages of pregnancy.
The additional calories lead to fat being laid down in the abdomen, which is often mistaken for a sign of pregnancy.
Some may be quieter and more tired early on, but a dog who is unwell may also be quiet, so this sign is an unreliable predictor of pregnancy. However, this is much more difficult than for human babies because of the rustling of the dog's fur coat and the fact that dogs have round, not flat, tummies. The main reason to x-ray a pregnant bitch is in late pregnancy, to count how many puppies are present in the womb. You should only mate your dog if you feel you are improving the breed, and are able to keep all the puppies should suitable homes not be available.[1] Before mating your dog, make sure you have all the information necessary to make responsible decisions.
This is especially important for the bitch (female dog), as her health might be put at risk by a pregnancy her body is not prepared to carry. The dam (female) must be in good health to withstand the stresses and rigors of a pregnancy. Ovulation is most likely to happen 7 - 10 days after the start of her season, but there is some variation between individual dogs. It's very dangerous if the dogs try to separate the tie before they are physically capable of doing so, so hold and comfort the female to ensure they do not separate. This is because the average gestation (length of pregnancy) is 62 to 65 days (with a range from 57 to 72 days).
As for safety, while the risk of irradiating puppies in the womb is unlikely to do harm, it is likely your dog will need to be sedated, because current health and safety regulations for the operators of x-ray equipment mean they are not allowed to be in the room when the exposure is made.
It is not possible for the layman to discern whether her enlarged abdomen is due to fetuses taking up room, or fat. Keep them on leashes and place a gentle nuzzle on the female, especially if she is a virgin. When both dogs' faces and jaws face outwards, they present a formidable defense against would-be predators or other dogs looking to mate with the female. Since many bitches, especially when heavily pregnant, are not comfortable lying still and are likely to get up when left, the only other option is to sedate them. Mother Nature is clever, though, and the hormones that cause ovulation also increase sexual interest in male dogs.

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