Labrador Retrievers: Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

In Dog Talk by valheart10 Comments

There are various reasons why dog owners purposely breed their Labrador Retrievers. One reason is that their dog is up to breed standard and they want to produce a litter. Some dog owners want to improve the breed. In some instances unknown to the owner, breeding may also took place despite that dogs are carefully confined when they are in season. No matter what the reasons are, it is important to know the signs if your Lab is in the family way.
A female dog can only become pregnant if she is bred during her heat cycle. Canine cycle, referred as estrous cycle has four stages. The first stage is proestrus in which the female dog is attractive to males but not receptive to them. This stage generally lasts six to eleven days. This stage has already ended when the dog becomes receptive to the male and will stand to be bred. The next stage is the estrus, the actual fertile stage in which the female dog is now receptive to male. This stage lasts five to nine days. This stage has ended when the female is not receptive to the male anymore. The third stage is the diestrus, a non-receptive time and the last stage of the estrous cycle is the anestrus in which no ovarian activity took place.
Dog pregnancy generally lasts 60-65 days. Early signs of pregnancy in dogs include loss of appetite, sudden decrease in activity, nipple growth and behavioral changes. As the pregnancy progresses, further signs occur. Three to four weeks into the pregnancy, you will notice an increase in appetite and weight gain by one month. Around five weeks, your dog’s nipple will develop and she will begin to look broader. Increase in abdomen size can be seen and uterine swelling around the placental sites that feels like firm and discrete lumps exist. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, puppy movement can be felt and milk production begins.
Dog pregnancy can also be detected through x-rays, ultrasound or blood test. Blood test can be done by a veterinarian 30 days after being bred. In some cases, a female dog will display signs of dog pregnancy without actually being pregnant. That is why it is important to visit your veterinarian to confirm the pregnancy and that proper care will be given. Dog owners should always remember that their pregnant Labrador Retrievers need special care to make sure that they are ready when the time comes.
Richard Cussons writes articles about Labrador Retrievers and other dog breeds. Discover essential Labrador training tips at

Guest article by Richard Cussons, reprinted with permission.

Many Labrador Retriever owners purposefully breed their dogs because they are up to breed standard, or they want to improve on the breed.  Other times dogs become pregnant because they have found a way to spend time with another dog unsupervised.  Whether the possible pregnancy was planned or not, it is important to know what the signs of pregnancy are in Labrador Retrievers.

Breeding a female dog can only happen during a heat cycle.  A female dog’s cycle has four stages.  The first stage is where the female Labrador Retriever is attractive to the male, but not ready to mate with them yet.  This stage may last six to eleven days.  You will know this stage is complete when the female becomes receptive to the male.

The second stage where the female Labrador Retriever is receptive can last from five to nine days.  You will know when this stage is over because the female will no longer to be receptive to the male.

The third stage is when the female is no longer receptive to the male at all.  And, the fourth stage is when no ovarian activity took place.

Pregnancy in dogs usually lasts 60 to 65 days.  You may suspect pregnancy when you find your dog has a loss of appetite, slows down in their activity level, she is having a change in her nipples or her behavior is changing.  These are the early signs.

As the pregnancy progresses you will notice an increase in her appetite and she will begin to gain weight.  This is approximately at the one month mark.  About the 5th week of the pregnancy her nipples will begin to change dramatically and her mid-section will begin to broaden.  In the last few weeks you will begin to notice the movement of the puppies and her milk will begin to come in.

If you want to visit a vet, then they will be able to confirm pregnancy through an x-ray, ultrasound or a blood test.  A vet will do a blood test to confirm pregnancy 30 days after breeding.  There may be false signs of pregnancy, so it is always best to check with your vet to confirm pregnancy so that you may begin proper care.  Labrador Retrievers, and any other breed of dog, needs special care to ensure they are ready when the time comes to deliver.

Richard Cussons writes articles about Labrador Retrievers and other dog breeds. Discover essential Labrador training tips at

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  1. Sam

    My delicious labby is showing most of the signs of being in early pregnancy, i was very very careful to keep her and the two males separated whilst she was on heat so im not sure how she ended up pregnant but hay ho, things happen. I dont know who the daddy is, its either a a 3.5 year old rottie who hasnt got a clue what he has to do (hence why i was never worried) or a mongrel terrior who cant reach passed her knees (again, why i wasnt particularly worried)

  2. Author

    Dear Sam, I’m concerned – if you didn’t intend to breed your delicious labby, then why haven’t you spayed her or taken steps to ensure she didn’t become pregnant? There are millions of unwanted puppies from exactly this kind of unplanned pregnancies, most of whom wind up at kill shelters. Please be a good doggie parent and take full responsibility for her and all her puppies from here on out. And by the way, it’s not too late to spay her.

  3. Author

    There are many reasons why a labby could bleed. I recommend you consult with your vet in cases like this.

    Good luck!

  4. Author

    Hi Adrian,

    Make sure to ask your vet first but it should be okay as long as it’s gentle, non-toxic shampoo/soap, and lukewarm water.


  5. Robert

    My lab was breed on the 12 & 13th day after the 1st sign or spotting.. It’s been two week.. the day after her breeding she was lazy and not moving much.. Since then she is eating well and full of energy.. Are there any signs I should see with her at this point? She has always been a very energic and always excited about dinner, and continues to be now.

  6. Kaitlyn

    Hi Idk if my lab/retriever is pregnant her nipples have grown and this is her first heat and it’s been almost a month and I’m worried what should I do and what do I need to look out first

  7. stephnie

    OK so I have talked with my vet and we wanted to let are lab have one set of puppies we are trying to breed her. She started to discharge some blood so we took her to my aunts to get use to her dog. I believe the fourth or fifth day they had locked but not 100% sure she was kind of big down there he was wet she hasn’t went into full heat yet? Its been a week since they been together she has been wanting me or my husband and she sounds like she is puking but she not? Help

  8. aida n

    My lab is showing these signs but can she have pups she is only 1 year old?

  9. Michael

    Hi sit my lab bitch is only 15 months and she already did once ministrations can she get pregnant she eat even her Boyfriend is eager to mate so pls reply me ASAP

  10. Rinesh kk

    I have a black Labrador,she is one and half year old now.I try to breed her with a white lab but they couldn’t lock together but they do breeding them its almost 29 days over after that breeding.her nipples start to grew up and now she refuse to I know that my lab is prgnent?
    If locking on breeding is essential for pregnancy?
    Please help me

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