Whether pregnancy in dogs may cause an upset stomach is a good question after all. Many movies portray women getting sick to their stomachs as their first signs of pregnancy, so why not dogs?
If you are hoping your dog is pregnant, most likely, at the first sign of nausea you are starting to feel particularly optimistic. If, on the other hand, you are worried your dog may have flirted with your neighbor dog, you may feel deeply concerned.
So is morning sickness really a thing in dogs? Let's discover whether dogs get morning sickness and other potential causes for upset stomachs in potentially pregnant dogs.
Can Pregnancy in Dogs Cause an Upset Stomach?
This question makes perfectly sense if one thinks about how pregnant women develop morning sickness.
In dogs, morning sickness though may not show the same way as it shows in humans; however, that doesn't mean it doesn't take place. Below is some info about morning sickness in dogs, although these can be several other causes for an upset stomach in pregnant dogs.
A Matter of "Morning Sickness"
Morning sickness may be seen in some dogs, but this type of upset stomach be seen tends to be seen later on as the pregnant dog gets closer to labor.
More precisely, you may expect a pregnant dog to possibly act nauseated, tired and go off food during the 3rd week of gestation, but then things should go back to normal in the 4th week, points out veterinarian Dr. Lee.
In general, we may see dogs feeling tired and eating less than usual only for a few days, once again, somewhere between the 3rd or 4th week.
If you are noticing a lack of appetite for longer than that though, it would be important having the dog see the vet for a hands-on examination, points out veterinarian Dr. Salkin.
Right around three weeks of gestation, many pregnant dogs may experience some loss of appetite that lasts for about a week, and nausea and a mild case of vomiting may accompany this period of appetite loss, explains Johnny D. Hoskins, a board-certified veterinarian specializing in internal medicine, in an article for DVM360.
Dietary Changes in Pregnant Dogs
Another time when pregnant dogs may develop an upset stomach is when their diet is changed.
This is often seen when the dog is shifted to a puppy food or a food made for pregnancy and lactation too rapidly.
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When diet is changed too quickly, it can predispose the pregnant dog to digestive problems. To prevent an upset stomach, it's best to shift the food gradually over the course of 7 to 10 days.
The Onset of Labor
Finally, when nearing labor, some pregnant dogs will develop an upset stomach. This occurs because of all the pushing and the pressure of the contractions on the stomach which are enough to make the make the pregnant dog vomit.
Not all dog though will vomit as they go through labor. Most pregnant dogs nearing delivery though will simply go off food around 24 to 48 hours before delivering.
A Word of Caution
Determining pregnancy for sure in dogs is not an easy task. There are different conditions that may make a dog look pregnant.
For instance, according to VCA Animal Hospital, around 4 to 9 weeks after heat, some dogs develop false pregnancy,.
Also known as a phantom pregnancy, a false pregnancy in dogs causes them to look pregnant when they are not.
The affected dog may develop enlarged mammary glands, lethargy, periodic vomiting, reduced appetite and fluid retention. Some behaviors may also mimic pregnancy, causing the dog to start nesting or even show signs of false labor.
Around the same time frame, between 4 to 8 weeks after the last heat, female dogs may also develop symptoms of pyometra, a potentially life threatening condition, seen in intact female dogs.
Affected dogs may appear pregnant, as fluid accumulates in their abdomen and they may also develop loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.
The Bottom Line
Pregnant dogs may develop an upset stomach in the first 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy, but they also can develop it from rapid dietary changes or a day or two before the onset of labor.
Unless pregnancy is diagnosed by a vet, a dog with a false pregnancy or affected by pyometra may appear pregnant too.
Differentiating a dog who is pregnant from a dog who is having a false pregnancy, or worse, a dog with pyometra can be arduous for dog owners, and the only way to know for sure if by visiting the vet.
Only through diagnostic tests can the vet rule out or confirm pregnancy and determine if there's a chance the dog may pyometra. If your dog is pregnant, or you assume is pregnant and develops an upset stomach accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, please see your vet at once.