|Rose's half brother tries to take her for a walk (picture taken last summer)|
I know you are probably anxious to know what is going on with Rose. So far we have no news. If Rose is pregnant, she is around 23-25 days along, which is just a little too early to start noticing any physical changes.
The options for determining pregnancy in dogs are as follows:
- Wait for all of the obvious signs, such as weight gain & lactation. However, some dogs may go through false pregnancies where they show abdominal distension and even produce milk! This is definitely not the most reliable way to tell!
- At ~22 days post-breeding, ultrasound can be used to detect fetal heartbeats. It may be difficult to tell exactly how many hearts are beating, but this method can still be used to help estimate litter size.
- At ~21 to 31 days post-breeding, abdominal palpation may be used to try to feel the walnut-sized fetuses. Ideal timing is to palpate at approximately 28-30 days. This requires skill and experience and is not the best way to estimate the number of puppies present.
- After ~21-30 days post-breeding, blood may be drawn to run an early pregnancy test for the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone that is released into the female's system when fetal placentas attach to the lining of the womb. Ideal timing to test is 28 days post-breeding. This is a negative or positive test, but false negatives are possible earlier in the pregnancy. A positive test is a reliable determination of pregnancy, but does not give us any information about litter size.
- At ~45-48 days post-breeding, puppy skeletons have begun to calcify and can begin to be picked up on x-ray. Ideal timing is closer to 50 days. This can be used to help estimate the number and size of puppies. As for any safety concerns, x-rays are commonly done in this later stage of pregnancy and are considered to be relatively safe. Early pregnancy is when x-rays pose the most significant risk to unborn puppies.