Dog Pregnancy Tests – How To Find Out If Your Dog Is Pregnant

Dog Pregnancy TestsWhether you are a first time dog owner or a new breeder, it can be challenging to determine if your dog is pregnant. Since signs of pregnancy can go unnoticed by owners, it’s important to understand the options that are available for accurate canine pregnancy testing

In this article we will review the signs of pregnancy in dogs. Are at home pregnancy tests are worth it and our recommendations for determining pregnancy in your canine. 

Signs Of Pregnancy In Dogs

Before we dive into different pregnancy testing options for your pup, let’s discuss some of the common signs of pregnancy.

These signs often include:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Decreased energy or mild lethargy
  • Enlarged nipples

The above symptoms are usually some of the first signs that owners notice in their pregnant dogs. As your dog’s pregnancy progresses you may notice these symptoms

  • Mild discharge from the vulva, usually at least 30 days into pregnancy
  • Weight gain that begins to occur around day 30
  • Change in nipple color around day 30
  • Noticeable abdominal distension around day 40
  • Nesting behaviors around day 40

Keep in mind that the average length of gestation for dogs is 63-65 days. By the time your dog is 40+ days pregnant, most all of the signs of pregnancy will be evident.

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work In Dogs?

Pregnancy tests in dogs will search for the presence of the Relaxin hormone in the blood. Relaxin is produced by the developing placenta in dogs, and is usually able to be detected in the blood as soon as 3 weeks post breeding. For eager dog owners, this can be a way to determine pregnancy before the embryos are able to be seen on ultrasound.

The Relaxin hormone is not produced in other body processes. This is why it’s a reliable way of determining if your dog is truly pregnant at the time of testing. This is also a way to determine real vs. false pregnancy. Relaxin is only produced if there is a growing placenta present.

This at home test kit is as close as you can come to going to your local vet and having them run similar tests.

Witness Relaxin Canine and Feline Pregnancy Test Kit (5 tests)

This kit comes with 5 tests – see it here.

Do At Home Pregnancy Tests Work On Dogs?

At home pregnancy tests in dogs can be tricky for a number of reasons. While the test itself may be reliable (the Witness Relaxin Canine Pregnancy Test for example), it’s the retrieval of the components that can make the process difficult for at home use. The only way to accurately test for the Relaxin hormone in dogs is by testing the canine plasma. This means you not only have to obtain a blood sample from your pup, but you will also need access to a centrifuge in order to spin down the blood and create plasma. 

Due of this, some breeders have agreements with their local veterinarian to have their dog’s blood drawn and spun down at the clinic. This way they can use their testing kit of choice, but are still able to have their dog’s blood safely pulled by a professional. In order to ensure that you and your furry friend stay safe, we always recommend that your dog’s blood is drawn and handled by a professional. 

What Other Ways Are There To Find Out If My Dog Is Pregnant? 

Pregnancy tests are not the only answer when it comes to getting to the bottom of your dog’s pregnancy status! Some of the other methods to accurately determine pregnancy in your canine include:

Ultrasound: One of the most reliable ways to determine and monitor pregnancy in your dog is through abdominal ultrasound at your veterinary office. Since the developing embryos can be detected as early as three weeks on ultrasound, this is the most reliable way to find out early on if your pup is truly pregnant. Many breeders will have multiple ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy to make sure the developing puppies are in good shape!

X-Rays: While x-rays won’t detect the developing puppies until around day 45, this is the most common way for owners to find out how many puppies their dog is having. Since it can be challenging to count large litters on ultrasound, an x-ray is an easy way to count skeletons to determine how many puppies to expect. 

Physical Exam: The most traditional way to detect a canine pregnancy is by palpation of a skilled veterinarian. This simply means that your veterinarian will gently push on your dog’s abdomen to determine if puppies are present in the uterus. While this can help your vet determine if there are puppies present, this will not tell you anything about the health of the puppy or whether the pregnancy is viable. 

Prices To Expect For Canine Pregnancy Testing (Home & Vet)

Now that you know all about the different methods of canine pregnancy testing, let’s dive into the prices you can expect to pay for each method. While every product and veterinarian will vary, we will do our best to give you an accurate range. 

At Home Pregnancy Tests: Most reliable at home pregnancy tests will cost anywhere from $150-$200. However, you may need to factor in extra fees when using a professional to draw your dog’s blood. At home dog pregnancy tests are possible, just make sure you get a product that test the blood and not the urine.

Veterinary Pregnancy Tests: Pregnancy tests at your veterinary office will usually range from $200-$300. These products are often higher quality and also include the fee of drawing and handling their blood sample. These tests are also very accurate.

Ultrasound: While each veterinary office will range in their fees for a standard abdominal ultrasound, you can usually expect to pay anywhere from $75-$200.

X-Rays: While each veterinary office will range in their fees for an X-Ray, you can usually expect to pay anywhere from $75-$200

Summary

While understanding pregnancy in dogs can be tricky, educating yourself on the process is the best way to stay informed every step of the way. Be sure to review the different methods of pregnancy testing that we mentioned above, and you will be ready for any canine pregnancy to come!

 

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