I know as well as anyone else how exciting it is to learn that your French bulldog will be having puppies soon. When I saw the signs that my dog may be pregnant, I did hours of research to confirm my suspicions and make sure we could give her the care she needed. It’s really not easy to tell if a French bulldog is pregnant, though there are some signs that you can notice early on in the pregnancy.
Some signs that your French bulldog is pregnant include decreased activities, changes in appetite, weight gain, and behavioral changes, among several others. If you think your French bulldog is pregnant, consult a vet immediately so you’ll know how to improve your dog’s diet and activities.
Read on to learn more about these signs, what you should expect during the pregnancy, and how you can care for your dog as well as possible until she gives birth.
Since canine pregnancies are significantly shorter than human pregnancies, it’s important to quickly identify a pregnancy so you can provide your French bulldog with the care she needs during pregnancy. While the best way to tell if your French bulldog is pregnant is by consulting a vet, there are some signs you can watch for.
Here are the seven most tell-tale signs that your French bulldog is pregnant:
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If you’re noticing that your French bulldog has a sudden decrease in energy and spends more time napping than usual, it could be an early sign that she is pregnant. Similar to humans, dogs also experience hormonal changes during pregnancy that make them easily exhausted.
This will be one of the first indicators that your French bulldog is pregnant, and begins a few weeks after the beginning of her pregnancy. This should subside after a few weeks, once your dog is accustomed to her pregnancy.
This will be obvious if your dog is normally energetic, but it might be difficult to notice if your French bulldog normally sleeps a lot. Regardless, just pay close attention to your dog and monitor how fast she gets tired.
A changing appetite is also a potential sign. Depending on what stage of the pregnancy she’s in, your French bulldog may go through numerous increases and decreases in her appetite.
During the early stages of pregnancy, you may notice that your French bulldog is eating less than what she normally would. This happens due to the hormonal changes in her body, which are similar to those that humans experience during the early stages of pregnancy.
This decrease in her appetite is not something to be worried about; she will make it up for it during the later stages of her pregnancy. It’s common for dogs to have an increase in appetite and be dissatisfied with their regular portions of food during the late stages of pregnancy. Once this happens, increase the amount of food you give her just a little bit.
NOTE: If your French bulldog refuses to eat for three days straight, she needs to see the vet.
Aside from appetite changes, unusual behavior is also an indicator of pregnancy. Behavioral changes vary from one dog to another.
If your French bulldog is pregnant, she may spend more time at your side and become more affectionate. If this happens, she is likely seeking extra comfort as she is confused about the changes her body is experiencing.
It’s also possible for your French bulldog to become more aggressive or grumpy during pregnancy. You may notice that she would rather spend time alone and will be irritable when you give her attention. If this happens, she is likely exhausted and wishes not to be bothered so she can properly rest.
NOTE: Carefully monitor your dog for behavioral changes so you can give her the extra attention or isolation that she needs to cope with her pregnancy.
Changes in your French bulldog’s nipples can also indicate that she is pregnant. This may be difficult to notice at first, as most people do not regularly inspect their dogs’ nipples. However, by inspecting your dog closely, you will be able to notice these changes.
Typically, a French bulldog’s nipples are small, and if you touch the area beneath their nipples, it feels flat. When pregnant, your French bulldog’s nipples will grow in size. This happens because her milk glands are developing as her body prepares to lactate.
NOTE: Her nipples will eventually leak milk, especially during the later part of the pregnancy.
Aside from their size, the color of her nipples will also undergo noticeable changes. They will become more red or rosy, particularly the four to six nipples near her hind legs. These changes in color indicate an increase in blood flow, which happens at the same time that her nipples grow in size.
One of the most telling signs that your French bulldog is pregnant is weight gain, which is more noticeable during the later stages of pregnancy. If you notice a sudden increase in your dog’s weight and can’t think of any other reason for it, pregnancy may be the cause.
This happens because the puppies inside her will grow and her abdomen will enlarge. Since French bulldogs are a small breed, her weight gain won’t be as significant as that of bigger dogs, but it will still be noticeable.
NOTE: When you start to notice weight gain in your French bulldog, carefully check for other symptoms as well. Weight gain is not one of the first signs of dog pregnancy, so you should be able to see other signs by this point.
If there are no other symptoms, it could mean that your dog has an underlying health issue. Either way, it’s best to bring your French bulldog to the vet to ensure you’re giving her the care she needs.
As your French bulldog nears her due date, she will begin to nest. You may notice that she begins shredding bedding and other material to create her own “nest”.
This can begin at various points of the pregnancy. While it’s common for dogs to display this behavior right before they go into labor, there are instances when they nest earlier.
In fact, their nesting behavior can happen on and off for several weeks. However, nesting behavior is a telltale sign that she is getting ready for the birth of her puppies, whether she’s early or not.
NOTE: During this time, your French bulldog will be irritated very easily. It’s best to limit your contact with her at this time. You should advise others to do the same, especially if you have kids.
Similar to humans, your French bulldog may experience morning sickness during the early stages of pregnancy. This only happens for a few days during the first few weeks of pregnancy, so you can easily miss it if you don’t pay it much attention.
The effects of morning sickness may vary, making it difficult to identify whether your pet is experiencing it. Some French bulldogs vomit during the morning while others simply eat less.
NOTE: Since this only lasts for a few days, there is nothing to worry about unless she refuses to eat for multiple days.
Once you’ve determined that your French bulldog is pregnant, you will need to give her the best possible care. This is important to ensure that she has a safe and healthy pregnancy.
The most important thing you can do is to bring your French bulldog to the vet. They will be the best person to determine whether your dog is pregnant. They will also give you recommendations for supporting your dog during pregnancy.
These typically include:
- A feeding schedule
- A checkup schedule
- Recommended and prohibited medications
- Exercise recommendations
Make sure that you stick to the vet’s recommendations so she will receive the nutrition and care she needs. This will also protect her from any stress that could put her pregnancy at risk.
Similar to other dog breeds, the pregnancy period of a French bulldog can last anywhere between 58 – 68 days, or approximately eight to 10 weeks. The average pregnancy period for a French bulldog lasts about 63 days or nine weeks.
Here are some things you should know and expect during your French bulldog’s pregnancy:
- Week 1 – Your French bulldog may experience some morning sickness and a slight change in eating behavior. However, this is nothing to be alarmed about; you are not yet required to implement changes in her activities or diet.
- Week 2 – This is when embryonic development begins. Other pregnancy symptoms may not appear during this time, so you can continue with her regular exercise and diet.
- Week 3 – During this week, your French bulldog will show more noticeable morning sickness. While making changes in their diet plan is still not required, she might ask for more food.
- Week 4 – At this point, your vet will be able to confirm the pregnancy by feeling her belly. This is a delicate period of her pregnancy; the fetuses are now at their most vulnerable. It is now important to limit her strenuous activities. You may also need to change her diet and give her supplements, depending on your vet’s advice.
- Week 5 – This is when she will start to gain weight, indicating that you need to upgrade her diet plan to help her puppies develop. You can now ask the vet to perform an ultrasound to determine how many puppies your French bulldog is expecting and if there are any developmental problems.
- Week 6 – Your French bulldog will now look obviously pregnant. She will ask for more food, so just keep feeding her so she can get the nutritional value she needs. You can also consider mixing her meals with puppy food since those are richer in nutrients. This is when she is likely to exhibit nesting behavior, so give her a whelping box or a quiet area to relax in.
- Week 7 – During this time, your French bulldog will shed hair on her stomach in preparation for birth. You can also stop mixing puppy food into her meals; by this point, her puppies are almost completely formed.
- Week 8 – Birth can happen as early as the eighth week, so it’s best to avoid engaging your dog in activities that could trigger labor. You might be able to see the puppies move in her tummy at this point.
- Week 9 to 10 – This is when you can expect the birth to happen. As she nears her due date, you will notice that she remains quiet and starts to eat less, which are indications that she is preparing to give birth.
NOTE: To determine whether she is going into labor, you can take her temperature regularly. It will drop moments before she goes into labor.
While knowing that your French bulldog is having puppies is exciting news, it’s important to protect the safety of her pregnancy.
Carefully examine your dog for signs of pregnancy and bring her to a vet if you think that she is. This is the best way to ensure that she receives proper care and avoids any complications in her pregnancy that could put the health of her or her puppies at risk.
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