Telling how many litters a female dog have taken care of is easy when you can visibly see the god pregnant and thus, give birth to some puppies. However, when dealing with a stray, a foster, or adopted female dog, this might be quite challenging. Despite this, there are some clues which make it possible for us to tell whether or not a female dog has ever had puppies previously. Hence, this can tell whether the dog is neutered or not yet, which can be a consideration for some people before adopting or fostering a stray dog.
Pay attention to where the dog lives
This method is useful when you are trying whether a female stray dog has had puppies, or more accurately, is having puppies. To get the facts, try to observe the place where the dog is often seen. If you often see the dog wandering back and forth to the similar area, it is possible that puppies are present and this mother dog is feeding these puppies. However, this method will not be effective if you cannot find any environmental clues of the puppy presence, for example, because the litter of puppies has grown up.
Pay attention to the dog’s behavior
Female dogs tend to be more aggressive than the male ones, but female dogs which have had puppies in the past are even more aggressive that the ones which haven’t. Female dogs with litter history tend to growl, bark, or bites when feeling offended by the presence of other dogs or humans. If you adopt an aggressive female dog from the street, you might want to consider this factor and get the dog checked.
Observe the dog’s physical attributes
Pregnancy in dogs, as in humans, triggers some noticeable physical changes. This is the factors that might be able to tell you a lot about a dog pregnancy history recently of in the past. Common physical changes showing the dog has had given birth in the past or about to, are:
Enlarged teats or nipples
Dogs which have milked a litter or more tend to have more worn out and larger-looking nipples. Some female dogs which have had litters in the past may also have got some milk discharge from the nipples. These worn-out nipples will not go back down after delivery and thus, are quite distinctive from no-litter dog’s nipples.
Looser belly skin
The post-pregnancy symptom in dog physically also includes a loose belly skin, which is a result from constricting belly skin that holds the puppies for months.
Larger, distended vulva
Female dog’s vulva is also often influenced by pregnancy and delivery. Female dogs which have had litters tend to have a larger vulva that those which haven’t. If the delivery is near the present, there might still be some brownish discharge from the vulva. This is similar discharge coming out of the vulva when a female dog is having their estrus period.
If no physical signs can show you clearly whether or not a female dog has had puppies in the past, her uterus can be used as an observation medium to conclude the fact. However, it is impossible to see the changes in the uterus without undergoing an X-ray procedure. Hence, taking the dog to the vet is a wise decision to tell about her previous pregnancy. The vet—through some medical procedures—will be able to tell you some physiological changes that happen when a female dog is expecting or has delivered puppies. An ultrasound is also useful to scrutinize the signs and symptoms of puppy delivery.
If the dog is not pregnant or has not had any puppies in the past, yet undergo some changes similar to the pregnancy signs, it is possible that she is having the heat—a cycle which signs that a female dog is ready to receive a mate from the male one. It is possible for a female dog with no puppies before to have enlarged nipples during the heat—or estrus period. However, these enlarged nipples will go down along with the estrus cycle, while litter-induced enlarged nipples tend to stay.