How Long Do Dogs Stay Pregnant? All You Need To Know
Have you ever wondered how long do dogs stay pregnant? Well, you’re not alone.One time I was caught unprepared when my dog delivered her puppies because I thought that her pudgy belly was due to overeating.
It’s important that you know the duration of your dog’s pregnancy so you can give the proper care that she needs. In general, there isn’t much you can do for your pregnant pet but you can start paying attention to her food and nutrition habits. To learn more about dog pregnancy, keep on reading.
First, What Are The Signs That Your Dog Is Pregnant?
It’s actually difficult to determine whether your dog is pregnant because you can seethe visible signs on her belly in the last few weeks of her pregnancy. Generally, you can see some pregnancy signs in the early, middle, and late phases of pregnancy.
In the first few weeks, your dog may seem like her normal self. If your dog isshowing some morning sickness, then probably she’s on her third or fourth week ofpregnancy. She may begin to gain weight once she becomes 35 days pregnant.
Your dog may eat less than normal and may look tired. She may even throw up alittle. Also, check her nipples: if they’re slightly swollen and rosier in color thannormal, then probably your dog is 2-3 weeks pregnant.
If you think that your canine friend is pregnant, visit your veterinarian. Your vet can suggest a diet plan and treat for any sign of parasites. During the consultation, your vet may use ultrasound to see the puppies in her womb and conduct a blood test to check your dog’s hormone levels.
At the late part of your dog’s second trimester, her belly may get larger. By this time her breasts are bigger and you might see a little milky fluid trickling out.
Your vet may suggest that you consult back to take an X-ray of your dog’s belly.Instead of an ultrasound, X-rays can check the bone structure of growing puppies and determine the number of puppies to be born.
So, How Long Do Dogs Stay Pregnant?
Pregnancy moves rather fast for dogs as compared to humans. In general, a dog can stay pregnant approximately two months or 58-68 days to be exact. There can be several factors which can affect the gestation period, such as litter size, breed size,and family history.
- Litter Size
The litter size may vary from a single pup to a dozen puppies. Generally, dogs with a small litter (1-2 puppies) usually stay pregnant longer than dogs that have a large litter(5-6 puppies).
If you ask why? This is because fewer puppies indicate more space in your dog’s uterus. A dog expecting a large litter labor sooner because there’s not much space in your dog’s uterus for your puppies to grow..
- Breed Size
The breed size of your dog can indicate the gestation period of your dog. Typically,larger sized dogs tend to remain pregnant for shorter periods of time as compared to smaller dogs. This means larger dogs might labor closer to the shorter end of the gestation period, which is 58 days.
Smaller breeds, on the other hand, might labor closer to the longer end of the dog gestation period, which is 68 days.
- Family History
The gestation period of dogs may also depend on the family history of your dog. If your dog’s mother and grandmother stay pregnant for 60 days, then chances are, your dog will get pregnant closer or similar to that amount of time. You may ask the breeder of your dog to track such data so you’ll get an idea when your dog will labor.
A Week By Week Timeline Of Your Dog’s Pregnancy
- Week 1
- Week 2
- Week 3
- Week 4
- Week 5
- Week 6
- Week 7
- Week 8
- Week 9
In the first week, your dog has started to ovulate or what some people say as “going into heat”. Generally, most mature female dogs undergo this heat cycle every six months. The said cycle usually lasts for about three weeks.
In the second week, the fertilized cells will begin to increase in size and separate into small embryos. The developed embryos will become the puppies by the end of the gestation period.
At this time, the small formed embryos will begin attaching to your dog’s uterus walls. This sort of attachment will ensure protection against any danger and will supply the needed nutrients for adequate growth.
This week is the best time to visit your vet because it is when your dog’s pregnancy can get confirmed. This is also the time when the embryos are developed slightly daily. By this time, you’ll now have formed spine, faces, and eyes.
Now, the embryos are developed into fetuses. This is the stage of the pregnancy where you have to provide a special nutritional diet to your pregnant dog. You may consult your vet for the proper food plan.
I suggest that you feed your pregnant dog with organ, meat with bone, and cooked vegetables. Increase the quantity of food by about 20-30%.
In this week, the fetuses will keep on growing their body parts, like claws and toes.This is the best time to have an ultrasound on your pregnant dog because you can already determine the gender of the fetuses and the litter size.
By this time, you can already notice the increased size of your dog’s belly which screams, I am pregnant. It’s best that you stay in contact with your vet so you can be informed on what food to give.
The pups inside your dog’s belly may grow at this point, resulting in a decrease in her stomach capacity. This is why you need to reduce her portion sizes and increase the frequency of her feeding to five times daily. Increase the fat content and decrease the bone content of your dog’s diet at this point.
In this week, you might notice that your dog starts to shed her stomach hair. When it happens, don’t be alarmed because this is normal and only part of the preparation for the big day.
The puppies will still keep on developing and by now the features are almost completely formed. Towards the end of this week, cease feeding her with the puppy food you’ve been giving and return to feeding her nutritious food as much as she can eat.
This is the time where your dog begins to set up a warm and comfortable spot to give birth in.
Your dog can give birth anytime from now on wards, so be ready. To prevent any premature labor, keep the physical activities at a minimum.Your dog may be consuming 50% more food than usual. By this week, you should eliminate the bone content of her diet.
Your pregnant dog will labor to her baby pups any moment now. In this week, you may check her temperature frequently. As soon as her temperature drops to 1 degree,this is a sign that your pregnant dog will labor in the next 1-2 days.
Your dog’s nesting or whelping bed should be ready by now. In preparation for the birth, she may become more introverted and quiet than the usual.
How To Tell That Your Pregnant Dog Is Near Her Due Date
The last few days of conception might be an anxious time for your pregnant dog. You can tell that your dog is near her due date if you see her nesting. When your dog senses the forthcoming arrival of her babies, she may likely look for a good spot in your home to make the delivery.
She may also scratch at her bed to make a cozy little nest and becomes restless as the time gets close to delivery. Before birth, your dog may even start lactating a day or two.
As her human, you should prepare a spot for your dog to deliver her babies. The spot should be cozy, safe, and clean. Make sure that the place is quiet because your dog may like her birthing spot to be private.
If you’re a DIY person, you can make a whelping box to serve as a nesting area for your dog. This box is a self-contained place where you can train your dog to use when it’s time for her to deliver her brood. In some instances, you can use her traveling- just be sure to have a blanket close by.
To learn how to make a whelping box for your pregnant dog, watch this:
What To Expect And Do During Delivery?
During the delivery, your dog may want to be in a secluded place. Even if you have the urge to be close to your canine friend, resist it because normally a dog birthing usually happens without any problems.
Your pregnant dog’s body knows what it’s doing that’s why most deliveries go smoothly. After half an hour of pushing, every puppy birth can last up to on hour.Your mama dog normally remains calm throughout the giving birth process.
If you must stay near your dog during delivery, you should prepare yourself to witness some unusual things. For instance, you’ll be seeing some green sac of fluid that leaves your dog’s vulva. This is similar to the amniotic fluid that confines a new born baby before birth. From the green sac, you’ll begin to see puppies coming out.
When the pups are born, you’ll notice that they emerge either butt first or head first.Again, don’t think that this is a bad thing simply because it’s kind of weird- it’s actually fine for pups to come out from their mother backwards and become quite in a few minutes.
After each puppy is born, the mama dog usually licks and clean it then takes a bit of rest before the next puppy comes. Resist the urge from engaging with your new mama dog for a while. If you see that the mama dog is straining unusually with no puppy insight, call your vet to ask for additional help.
Proper Post Natal Care For Your Dog
After your dog has given birth, you need to be tender when taking care of her. First,examine her nipples and check for infection. You can even clean the surrounding area of her nipples with a damp cloth.
Also, look at your new pups’ nails and carefully clip if they’re likely to scratch your dog. Following the birth, expect that your dog will excrete some soft poop for a few days. She may even generate some vaginal discharge and remaining blood clots for seven days.
You can tell that your dog is suffering a post-partum behavior if you see her noshing on her pups’ poop. There’s not much you can do to care for your dog because her own instinct will tell her what to do. By this stage, she might even act aggressive and territorial over her new puppies. When this happens, don’t worry because this kind of aggressive behavior will pass as the pups grow.
How long do dogs stay pregnant? The answer is approximately two months or 58-68 days to be precise. Now the gestation period may vary according to your dog’s litter size, breed size, and family history. Dogs that are having a large litter seems to have a shorter gestation period in comparison to those having a small litter.
Smaller breeds of dogs tend to stay pregnant longer than larger breeds of dogs. The exact gestation period seems to run in the family. So if your dog’s mother and grandmother stay pregnant for about 58 days, chances are your dog will also deliver in the exact amount of time.
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