Tag Archives: gordon setter how to determine pregnancy

Is She Pregnant? Check her gums!

Well I’ll be!  Here’s a new (at least to me it’s new) old trick from the breeders of yesteryear and I’m simply tripping over myself wanting to try it. I’ve never heard this one before, it sounds nifty and I’m wondering if any of you have ever tried (or heard of) this pregnancy predictor? Arlene Czech writes about the “Gum Check” in her article for this month’s column in ShowSight Magazine.

How to perform the test:  exactly 21 days after the FIRST tie mating start looking at the gums on your bitch by lifting her lips as though you are checking her bite. If she is pregnant the gum will appear very white, much whiter than their normal red color. (see photo below) This color change will occur between the 21 to 24 days after that first mating. It would be ideal for you to begin checking the gums earlier than the 21 days so you have a good picture in your mind of her normal gum color. If she is not pregnant the gum tissue will not change color.

Why it works:  According to Arlene’s article, this is the time when the fetus implants itself on the uterine walls. During this process a good deal of the blood flow is redirected from the body of the bitch and focused on her uterus instead.

We’d sure like to hear back from those of you who may have already been aware of this trick and have used it, as well as those who give it a try on your next breeding. Simply send us an email at gordonsetterexpert@gmail.com or leave a comment at the end of this article.

For information about medical methods to determine pregnancy click this link to our article “Is she…or isn’t she?”

Thank you to our reader Carol Wilson for sending the following email and photos:

I recently read your article about checking a bitches gums to see if she was pregnant. I must admit I had never heard of if before, but as I had just mated my long coat Chihuahua I thought why not try the test.
The first pic was taken about 2 weeks after mating and the second pic 22 days after the first tie. You can see how much paler her gums are. I was fascinated when I saw the change in her gums, but the article did make a lot of sense.
My girl is definitely in whelp she is 5 weeks along now, so the test worked for us. I will definitely be using this method again future.
Thanks for sharing
Carol Wilson


These photos were shared from one of our readers (thank you Shelley Ellison) who reported   …my images of my Labrador Retriever girl Katy when I bred her last year. The darker image was taken on day 21 after ovulation, and the brighter gum color was taken on day 24 after ovulation. I did progesterone timing for shipped chilled semen and she had 9 beautiful puppies.

Sally Gift, Mesa AZ

Gordon Puppy Photograph courtesy of Debbie Bjerkestrand

(Read Arlene Czech’s article by clicking the blue link below). I’ve included a brief excerpt and photos from the article here.

This is what he told me, and I would like to pass it on to others. No need for a visit to the vet, just a simple check. He demonstrated with his dog as to how to tell if a bitch is pregnant. He simply held her head while he lifted her lip, as if checking the bite when judging. He said the gums will be very white at this time. The time? Exactly 21 days from the first tie in breeding. Actually, you need to start a few days before to become used to the gum color. Just a quick look is all you need. The only problem is that it does not stay white forever. Why it is white is that this is the time that the little fetus/egg implants itself on the uterus? In doing so, blood is drained from the bitches’ body and goes to the uterus. You need to check for several days after since some aren’t ready to implant. Recently I have taken pictures of my recent bitch on her 21st day had white gums, and then several days later I took another picture showing her red gums. Breeders do not believe me until they try it themselves and then say “they did turn white!” And if it is not a success then the gums stay red.

In all the intervening years, I have had success with this over 55 times. I missed once because I didn’t catch her on the 21-24th day. Then I take my bitch to my vet to palpate on the 28th day to see how many.

 I understand from several breeders of farm animals that they too check the same way to see if the breeding took. I didn’t ask how many days they use, but the method was white gums.

by Arlene Czech

Is she…or isn’t she?

The day after the breeding is done the question “Is she or isn’t she?” starts stomping through my my head while I pace two steps behind the bitch watching her every move for any sign or signal that she is pregnant. I can’t help myself, I want instant gratification! Guessing that I’m not the only Gordon Setter breeder who spends an inordinate amount of time waiting and watching for any indication that the pregnancy exists I thought I’d share a few reference sites here that provide excellent information on the various methods of determining pregnancy in a bitch, with the use of ultrasound being my primary topic. All of these are diagnostic tools your vet will use not something you can do at home…well, I guess if you’re a vet you could be a DIYer!

I’m hoping you’ll all chime in below with comments on your preferred methods or your personal experiences to add substance to the conversation, as well as to provide new or additional links to share with our readers!

Janet Floss published Pregnancy Determination in the Bitch , the article is found at the University of Missouri Extension, College of Veterinary Medicine. She includes the use of Abdominal Palpation, Radiography, and Ultrasonography in this article. To go to the site to read the article simply right click on the bold printed article and the link should open.

G9923 Pregnancy Determination in the Bitch | University of Missouri Extension.

The Academy of Veterinary Imaging also published an excellent piece authored by Linda E. Luther, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)  The Ultrasonographic Diagnosis of Pregnancy in the Dog and Cat .

For those of you who like to see what we’re talking about I found the following video link.

Click the bold text that follows to view – Dog Ultrasound Pregnancy Scan 35 Days post mating by Canine Scan and Chip

Thanks for joining us here today folks, hope you remember to share your comments in the comment section and don’t forget to click “Follow Gordon Setter Expert” on our Home page to get email notices when a new article is published.

Ivy litterOh by the way…looks like she was (pregnant)!

Photo by Laurie Ward

(This article contains photos that are not intended nor do they relate to the content of the article.)

For a quick 21 Day FREE Pregnancy test click this link to learn about an old breeder trick to verify pregnancy.