Dear Uncle Mat 

How do I know if my dog is pregnant?

- Confused

Dear Confused,

After this little puppy-pregnancy debacle has passed, please have your dog fixed. If you want puppies, visit any of the local shelters and pick out a poor, homeless, sad, cute puppy who cries himself to sleep every night in a concrete and metal pen dreaming of the perfect home filled with people and love. Seriously! There is no reason for your dog to be making puppies. Especially by accident! Have her spayed, pronto. If she is sporting a litter-to-be, you will have to wait till after birth. Your vet will know how soon is safe.

Recession and unemployment rates cutting out your doggy-care budget? No worries. SNAP (Spay Nueter Assistance Program) provides a low-cost surgery center or mobile truck. It may even be free if you are already qualified for other low-income resources like HUD Section 8 or food stamps. Visit the website at snapus.org or call (210) 673-7722. If you can’t afford to fix your dog, you probably can’t afford to take care of puppies. SNAP also offers a wellness clinic to assist with health maintenance such as vaccinations and heartworm testing and prevention.

Symptoms are somewhat inconsistent. If your dog is pregnant there will be very few symptoms the first couple of weeks. The first sign will be an enlargening and darkening of her nipples. If she is particularly furry on the underside, the fur around her nipples will also begin to thin. She may exhibit a lack of energy and after about two weeks signs of morning sickness. This will most likely manifest itself as a loss of appetite, not vomitting. In about a month from conception she will have more definitive signs. Her abdomen will begin to grow and become firmer. After 28 to 30 days, fetal heartbeats can be detected by ultrasound or with a stethascope. A blood test will show hormonal differences by 30 days, but isn’t foolproof as female dogs’ hormonal cycles have variances that can be misleading. Pretty soon after a month you should be able to feel the puppies inside her womb and possibly see them moving in a somewhat cute, but still gross Alien way.

Maintain normal feeding and regular exercise the first 30 days, and consult a vet. Consult a vet. Consult a vet. After the one-month marker your vet may prescribe vitamin supplements and/or advise switching to a high-quality puppy food. DO NOT give your dog any vitamin supplements without a vet’s advice or prescription. You can do serious and permanent damage resulting in anything from seizure to death.

Your dog’s pregnancy will last approximately 63 days — oftentimes a few days to a week longer for big dogs and comparitvley shorter for little dogs. This is from conception, not the day you figured out she is pregnant. You may not have noticed till at least half way in to your dog’s pregnancy. Be prepared. I visited a few helpful websites, including doggies.com and dog-pregnancy.com, where I located all of the pregnancy facts above and more. I didn’t, but you could also visit the bookstore or library. I still recommend a trip to the vet. Dogs still do this all of the time without any human intervention, but knowledge is power.

Lastly: Your dog’s behavior will probably change significantly within a few days of labor, and her temperature will drop two degrees within 8 to 24 hours of the onset of labor. Good luck, and take good care of your dog. She kicks ass and deserves it.

Much love and spayed and nuetered pets for everyone,

Your Uncle Mat

P.S. These are some wonderful local places filled with adorable, lonely, and sad dogs and cats that need you (shh … I can hear one whimpering your name right now):

Humane Society, sahumane.org, (210) 226-7461
Animal Defense League, adltexas.org,
(210) 655-1481

Society for Animal Rescue and Adoption,
sarasanctuary.org, (830) 401-0280


Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at dearunclemat@sacurrent.com, myspace.com/yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.


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