Rescue dogs are amazing. Many owners rightfully think their pooches are extra-loyal since they are grateful for being saved from life on the streets or in a shelter. However, there is one small downside to owning a rescue dog: You don’t always know all that happened to them before they became a part of your family. For example, how can you tell if a dog has had puppies? Is your rescue dog a mother? While sometimes there’s no way to know for sure, there are several hints that your dog had a litter in the past. Here’s how to tell if your dog has had puppies!
Pregnancy and giving birth can greatly change a dog’s body — much like how it does in humans. Physical traits are good indicators on how to tell if a dog has had puppies in the past.
Enlarged nipples or teats are extremely common in mother dogs. Look for nipples that are bigger than those found on a dog who hasn’t had puppies. And if the dog recently gave birth, she might even still be lactating or leaking milk.
Loose-ish belly skin is another trait shared by many dogs who had puppies. After all, puppies take up a lot of room! It’s no wonder that mother pooches have loose belly skin left over from pregnancy.
Changes in the uterus are strong indicators that your dog experienced pregnancy at one point. However, these can only be detected by taking x-rays. Ultrasounds are also helpful in determining if your pooch ever had puppies. These two procedures can be conducted by your veterinarian.
A distended and larger vulva is also typical with mother dogs. The vulva is frequently affected by pregnancy and delivery. If your dog has a bigger vulva than dogs who haven’t had litters, there’s a good chance your pooch was once a mom.
Brownish discharge from the vulva is another indicator that your dog had puppies — and recently too!
How to tell if a dog has had puppies in unaltered dogs is more difficult because they exhibit similar signs when going into heat or experiencing their estrus period. This part of the estrus cycle occurs if your dog hasn’t been spayed. Then, when the estrus period subsides, the nipples and vulva will go back to their usual size and discharge will cease.
Note: If your dog is unaltered, what are you waiting for? You can learn more about spay and neuter surgery here.