Does Your Dog Have Morning Sickness Too? The Surprising Truth About Canine Pregnancy

Introduction

Morning sickness is a common condition that occurs during early pregnancy in humans. It is characterized by nausea and vomiting that typically starts around 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and peaks around 9-16 weeks. The exact cause is unknown, but theories suggest it may be related to hormonal changes or lower blood pressure during pregnancy. While uncomfortable, mild to moderate morning sickness is generally not harmful and usually resolves by the second trimester.

Like humans, dogs undergo many physiological changes during pregnancy as well. This raises the question of whether pregnant dogs also experience something akin to morning sickness. This article will explore the signs, causes, diagnosis, and treatments for nausea and vomiting in pregnant dogs.

Signs of Morning Sickness in Dogs

Some of the most common signs of morning sickness in pregnant dogs include:

Loss of appetite – Dogs may show little interest in their regular food during early pregnancy. The change in appetite is caused by hormonal fluctuations and morning sickness. However, pregnant dogs need extra nutrition, so a loss of appetite can be problematic. Speak to a vet if appetite loss persists.

Excessive drooling – Dogs may drool more than usual and even vomit bile or fluid in the mornings. This is similar to morning sickness in humans. The excess saliva production is thought to protect the esophagus from stomach acid during vomiting. webmd.com

a pregnant dog excessively drooling due to morning sickness

Vomiting – Vomiting is another classic sign of morning sickness in pregnant dogs. It often occurs in the mornings due to hormonal changes. If mild, it is not a cause for alarm. But speak to a vet if vomiting is frequent or prevents food/water intake.

Lethargy – Morning sickness, appetite changes, and hormonal fluctuations can leave pregnant dogs feeling tired and rundown. They may sleep more than usual and be less active in the mornings when nausea strikes. Ensure your dog rests sufficiently during pregnancy.

What Causes Morning Sickness?

The main cause of morning sickness in pregnant dogs is hormone changes, particularly increased levels of estrogen. According to the Mayo Clinic, nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy are likely due to the effects of increased hormones produced by the placenta, especially human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) [1]. These hormones can contribute to stomach sensitivity and nausea.

Increased estrogen levels affect the motility of the stomach and intestines, slowing down digestion and leading to nausea and vomiting. The stomach also becomes more sensitive during pregnancy, making dogs more prone to nausea from smells, tastes, and motion. All these hormonal changes team up to cause morning sickness in pregnant dogs.

Do Vets Consider Morning Sickness Normal in Dogs?

Generally, morning sickness is considered normal in pregnant dogs by veterinarians. It usually occurs early in pregnancy, with nausea and vomiting being most common during the first 2-4 weeks of gestation. According to veterinarians, mild vomiting that lasts only a few days is seen as a normal part of early pregnancy in dogs, similar to how morning sickness commonly affects women.

Veterinarians only become concerned if the vomiting is excessive or persists beyond the first trimester. As noted by WebMD, while some vomiting can be normal, “if your dog can’t keep any food or water down or if you notice any other concerning symptoms, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.”

Prolonged vomiting and an inability to keep food or water down can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, which can be dangerous for both the mother dog and her puppies. Therefore, while brief morning sickness is considered normal, vets will want to monitor excessive vomiting to rule out potential complications.

Veterinarian Shelley Drive Animal Clinic advises bringing your dog in after 2 days of consistent vomiting during pregnancy so they can provide supportive treatment and ensure the vomiting is not indicative of a more serious issue.

Differences Between Dogs and Humans

Dogs have much shorter pregnancies than humans, typically around 60 to 65 days, whereas human pregnancies last around 280 days on average. This means morning sickness symptoms in pregnant dogs tend to come on faster and not last as long as they do in pregnant women.

Dogs also cannot describe feelings of nausea and other common symptoms associated with morning sickness in the same way that humans can. We have to rely more on changes in their behavior and appetite to determine if a pregnant dog is experiencing sickness or gastrointestinal upset.

Some signs of morning sickness in dogs include: lack of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and eating grass. Since dogs can’t tell us that they feel nauseated or have an upset stomach, we have to look for these behavioral changes that may indicate they are unwell. The shorter pregnancy duration in dogs also means symptoms tend to resolve more quickly than in human pregnancies.

Overall, while dogs do experience their own version of morning sickness, the differences in their biology and inability to communicate verbally mean it may look and act somewhat differently than morning sickness in humans. Vets and owners must look for more subtle signs of illness and discomfort in pregnant dogs.

When to See the Vet

Morning sickness in pregnant dogs typically only lasts for the first few weeks of pregnancy. If your dog continues to experience nausea and vomiting beyond the first trimester, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Signs that your dog’s morning sickness may be cause for concern include:

a list of signs indicating a pregnant dog's morning sickness needs veterinary attention

  • Excessive vomiting and inability to keep food or water down for more than 24 hours
  • Signs of dehydration such as lethargy, dry gums, or skin tenting when lightly pinched
  • Not eating or drinking at all for over 12 hours
  • Lethargic behavior and lack of interest in food or water

If your pregnant dog is displaying any of these symptoms in addition to morning sickness, it’s important to have her seen by a vet as soon as possible. Prolonged nausea, vomiting, and dehydration can be dangerous during pregnancy and may indicate an underlying health issue requiring treatment.

Your vet can provide medications to relieve nausea and vomiting, subcutaneous fluids to treat dehydration, and recommend diet modifications to help get your dog’s appetite back on track. Don’t hesitate to call your vet if morning sickness persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms.

Treatment Options

There are several options for treating morning sickness in pregnant dogs:

Fluids help prevent dehydration from vomiting and loss of appetite. Try encouraging your dog to drink small amounts of water frequently throughout the day. You can also administer fluids under the skin with guidance from your veterinarian.

Switch to a bland diet of boiled chicken, white rice, and cottage cheese. The simple carbohydrates and proteins are gentle on your dog’s stomach. Avoid fatty, spicy, or heavily processed foods that may trigger nausea.

a dog eating a bland diet to help ease morning sickness

Over-the-counter anti-nausea medications formulated for dogs can provide relief. Consult your vet before administering any drugs. Common options are dimenhydrinate and metoclopramide.

In more severe cases of vomiting and dehydration, your vet may recommend hospitalization for intravenous fluid therapy and injectable anti-nausea medication like maropitant.

Prevention

There are some steps you can take to help prevent or minimize morning sickness in pregnant dogs:

Provide small, frequent meals – Rather than two large meals a day, break food into smaller portions given more often. This puts less pressure on the digestive system.

Avoid food triggers – If you notice certain foods seem to worsen nausea, avoid serving those to reduce vomiting episodes.

Provide a quiet, soothing space – Dogs appreciate a comfortable, peaceful area to rest and sleep during pregnancy. This can help reduce stress and queasiness.

Talk to your vet – Get advice on diet, nutrition supplements, and anti-nausea medications that may help.

With some simple care and preparation, you can make your pregnant pooch more comfortable and curb disruptive morning sickness.

Sources:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/pet-health/how-care-your-pregnant-dog/

Pregnant Dog Care


https://www.heartypet.com/blogs/news/morning-sickness-in-a-pregnant-dog

When Morning Sickness May Indicate a Problem

While morning sickness early in pregnancy is normal for some dogs, if it occurs later in pregnancy or is severe, it could signify an underlying health issue. According to WebMD, morning sickness normally affects dogs only during the 3rd or 4th week of pregnancy when hormone changes occur.

If a pregnant dog experiences nausea and vomiting later in pregnancy, especially during the final weeks leading up to delivery, it could be a sign of a problem. Pregnant dogs who cannot keep anything down and show signs of extreme lethargy require veterinary attention.

a pregnant dog continuing to vomit late in pregnancy signaling an issue

Additionally, if vomiting and nausea in a pregnant dog are accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, or blood in the vomit, a medical issue likely exists. These accompanying symptoms point to conditions like gastroenteritis or pyometra, which can be dangerous if left untreated.

In summary, while some morning sickness early on is normal, extended nausea and vomiting episodes later in pregnancy or alongside other concerning symptoms require a veterinary visit to check for underlying illness.

Conclusion

In summary, dogs can experience morning sickness just like humans do when pregnant. The nausea and vomiting is caused by hormonal changes and is generally considered normal in healthy pregnant dogs. However, if the morning sickness is severe, prolonged, or causing dehydration, it’s important to take your dog to the vet. There are ways to help manage morning sickness in dogs through diet, medication, and hydration. While it’s not always possible to prevent, keeping your dog’s routine consistent, minimizing stress, and feeding smaller meals may help reduce episodes. So while morning sickness is common in pregnant dogs, keep an eye out for any worrying symptoms and don’t hesitate to contact your vet if you have concerns.

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