When Can You Feel Puppies Move in a Pregnant Dog?

Things change rapidly when your four-legged companion brings new life into the world. A fresh litter of puppies means a lot of extra work, plenty of attention, and tons of cuddles. The joy of having new puppies around is simply the best. 

Even though your faithful companion is probably a little uncomfortable, she’s doing a lot of hard work by carrying all those babies around in her stomach. 

when can you feel puppies move in a pregnant dog
When can you feel puppies move in a pregnant dog?

If your dog is pregnant, you might be wondering when can you feel puppies move in her belly. It’s an exciting experience and incredibly unique. Everyone loves to feel the belly, and usually, your dog will be okay with that.

There are definitely some good things to keep in mind when taking care of your pregnant doggo. She will need a lot of care, and it’s your responsibility to make sure she gets it. 

When Can You Feel Puppies Move?

pregnant dog showing belly
When can you feel a puppy in a pregnant dog by touch?

So, when can you feel puppies move? Typically, you can feel the puppies moving around anytime after six weeks of pregnancy. A veterinarian can use palpation around five weeks to potentially feel the puppies sooner.

However, manipulating the movement of the puppies might be dangerous for them. Frequent palpation might result in injury to the babies.

If you want to feel the puppies move in your dog’s belly, you can gently lay your palm against her abdomen. Please wait for the puppies to adjust inside of her. Don’t try to manipulate their movement so that you can feel them. 

Your pregnant furry friend is likely feeling many things with so much life growing inside of her. So if she doesn’t seem to like you touching her belly, it’s a good idea to leave her alone until she’s feeling better. 

When your dog is pregnant, it’s essential to keep her happy and comfortable. And don’t worry too much about her attitude. She should go back to normal once her body goes back to normal.

Goldendoodle getting a belly rub
A Goldendoodle getting a belly rub from his owner.

Puppy Development

Puppies develop quickly in their mother’s womb. Between the first and third weeks, they will grow from only four cells to 64. A head and spine will begin to take shape, and by week four, it will produce a head and eyes. 

At week four, a puppy will also develop organs. If you suspect that your dog is pregnant, a veterinarian can see a puppy at around four weeks on an ultrasound.

Weeks five and six are big weeks for the puppy. It starts to really look like a puppy, with more defining features growing and its organs developing entirely. They also begin moving around more, and fur starts to grow.

Weeks seven and eight see a thoroughly developed skeleton. And anytime at the beginning of week nine, the puppy can safely come into the world. 

dog's tummy
A woman checking her dog’s tummy.

Most Common Signs of Pregnancy

If you suspect that your dog is pregnant, you might notice her behaving differently than usual. A behavior change is perfectly common, as your dog is experiencing hormone changes and other changes to their body. 

In fact, your dog’s pregnancy will resemble a human pregnancy in many ways. There are a few different signs and symptoms that you can watch for to determine whether or not your dog might be pregnant.

Growing Stomach

A sign of pregnancy that’s easily recognizable is your dog’s growing stomach. It should become noticeably larger. As the puppies inside of her continue to grow and develop, her midsection will grow as well.

If you notice that your dog’s stomach is growing, and you know you haven’t been feeding her too much, you should consider getting her checked out by a vet. They’ll be able to tell if she’s pregnant or not. 

And if there’s no chance your dog could be pregnant, a growing stomach could be a sign of bloating or illness. So taking them to your vet either way is a good idea.

Nipple Size Increasing

A few things will likely happen to your dog’s nipples and breasts during pregnancy. Both will probably increase in size, and you may notice her nipples becoming swollen. Some discoloration around the nipples could occur as well.

A bald spot will begin to develop the closer your dog gets to giving birth. This allows her pups to easily find where they can feed once they’re safely in the world.

Appetite Increasing

If you notice your dog suddenly eating a lot more than usual, it could signify pregnancy. As long as you keep careful track of what you feed your dog daily, you should be able to tell quickly if she’s eating more than usual.

Dogs can actually experience a form of morning sickness. This results in vomiting and loss of appetite. But, unlike humans, it only tends to last for a few days.

After that, your dog should have no more problems with morning sickness

French Bulldog eating
A French Bulldog eating an apple, while looking up.

Weight Gain

A certain amount of weight gain is not only average, but it’s also good. A dog that’s healthy during pregnancy will, and should, gain about 15% to 20% beyond her weight when she’s pregnant. Not only is she eating more, but she has life growing inside of her. 

However, overeating can be a concern when your dog is pregnant. She’s likely experiencing an increase in appetite that can lead her to eat more than she should. While she should be eating more than usual, you want to protect her from overeating.

It’s important to watch her closely if you think she might struggle with overeating. Obesity is a severe risk to a pregnant dog and the puppies she’s carrying. 

dog eats chicken
A Golden Retriever eats a raw chicken.

Behavior Changes

Of course, you’ll probably witness your pregnant dog go through some behavior changes. New hormones are flooding her body, and the result is usually some change in how she acts. 

She may act grumpy, which means you should give her plenty of space. The less you upset her unnecessarily, the better it is for her and her unborn puppies. 

It’s possible that she could become antisocial as well. This means keeping friends and guests away from her is also important. Make sure they understand the situation so they can treat her accordingly.

barking siberian husky
A barking Siberian Husky

Decreased Activity Levels

When your dog is pregnant, you may notice her activity levels decreasing severely. Not only will she stop moving as quickly as she once did, but she’ll probably stop moving as much as she did before getting pregnant. 

It’s alright if your dog needs less activity, especially in the early stages of her pregnancy. However, it would be best if you got her walking regularly each day so that she can stay healthy. They don’t have to be long walks, but they should be consistent. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on a carpet
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lying on a carpet.

Final Thoughts

It’s always exciting when your dog starts breeding. Even with all the changes, there’s something special about a mother getting ready to bring new life into the world. As long as you know what to expect and how to take care of her, you should have no problem helping her welcome her new puppies in the days to come.