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Dog Pregnancy – How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

Adopting a dog as a pet is the most satisfactory and out of the world feeling. So, if you have a female dog, then one day she is all ready to get her litter of puppies.

Are you ready for the pregnancy and gestation of your dog? If the answer is no, then here is the help.

In this piece of writing, we will discuss some of the most intriguing topics related to dog pregnancy so keep on reading to know more about it.

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How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

Gestation Period in DogsThe gestation period in all the dogs’ breeds is the same in general and may show a minor difference of not more than ten days in individual cases.

Well, starting from the ovulation, the gestation period usually comprise of 63 days. However, the start of the labor may begin between the 56th to 66th days in different dogs.

To determine the exact date of ovulation in your dog, you can go for the test of progesterone levels during the heat cycle. The level of progesterone in the female dog will rise near the ovulation, so it is a calculated measure to test the levels.

Before the ovulation, the progesterone level stays at 2ng, but during the ovulation, this climbs up to 5ng.

When the level of progesterone reaches to 5ng, then the ovulation starts and the eggs got released. After the release of the eggs, the eggs get themselves set for the fertilization in 2 days. So, it is always wise to keep the progesterone level in check.

Breeding Period in Dogs:

Early, we have mentioned that testing the progesterone level is crucial to know the exact ovulation date.

Along with the progesterone test, you can also go for the artificial semen implant in case of non-availability of the male stud. It takes almost 3 to 7 test to know the exact ovulation date.

It is extremely pertinent for your female to have the heat cycle to get pregnant. With the start of the heat cycle, the female dog starts getting attracted towards the males.

After the beginning of the heat period, it took about nine days for the female to respond to male partners. And as the heat cycle lasts for about 18 to 21 days, so she got almost 3 to 11 days to get pregnant after the attraction.

Month-wise Pregnancy Period in Dogs:

If you have any doubt about whether your female dog is pregnant or not, there are two methods most veterinarians recommend:

Pregnancy Confirmation Test:

If you have not to keep check of the ovulation period or if you want to confirm the pregnancy, then there are a variety of tests available.

The first and safest test is the ultrasound of the pregnant mother. It is the noninvasive process and would be highly secure (most of the vet recommend it.) However, in the ultrasound test, although the pregnancy might get confirmed, you cannot prove the count to the fetus in the uterus.


Dog Palpitation TestAnother secure test is the palpitation of the abdomen. However, to go with this test, you will require a highly experienced vet as a specific mishandling may lead to damage to the fetus or may even a miscarriage.

In the uterus, each fetus is placed between the two horns evenly, and an experienced vet can tell whether or not your dog being pregnant.

However, one of the drawbacks of palpitation is that it is only viable until 28 days of ovulation and after the 35th day it becomes difficult to find anything with the help of pulsation.

After the 32 days of fertilization, the amniotic fluid in the uterus begins to increase to provide more protection to the developing fetus. Thus it becomes difficult to detect them with palpitation.

Along with ultrasound and palpitation, there is a blood test for the confirmation of the dog pregnancy. In this test, the relaxing level in a female been tested and it confirms the pregnancy.

First Four Weeks:

There are a variety of changes that occur during the first month of pregnancy including a variety of temperament changes as well.

In some dogs, the pregnant female shows more affection towards human caretaker while others may have morning sickness and a sudden increase in appetite.

During the first 7 to 16 days, the embryos travel through the uterine horns and get themselves embedded in the uterine lining.

The development of the embryos starts the framing process until the 22 days of the fertilization. During this period, the embryos begin taking the vital nutrients directly from the mother’s body.

Furthermore, by the end of the 28 or 30 days, you can feel the heartbeat of the fetus with the help of an ultrasound. After the 3 to 4 week of conception, the female may feel a sudden rise in the appetite along with morning sickness.

The initially increased morning sickness and loss of appetite are due to the higher level of progesterone along with the stretched and distend uterus.

If you want to provide the proper diet to your dog, then split the meals into relatively smaller ones throughout the day. You can also go for a mix of kibble with peanut butter to enhance the appetite.

When the four weeks of the pregnancy reached, the fetus starts the development of the eyes, skull and face structure. It is during this period the fetus is highly vulnerable to damage, and thus you have to control the great exercise or playing.

Until stage, the fetus becomes 1.5 cm long and requires all the vital nutrients for further growth. You can consult your vet, to make any addition to the healthy diet of your pet.

A Week by Week Pregnancy Calendar

Last Four Weeks:

Some of the clear signs of pregnancy in the second month are as follows:

  • The nipples of the female start to enlarge and getting dark.
  • More swollen and pendulous tummy and increased level of appetite.
  • As the female body starts getting prepared for the whelping, the hairs on the belly area begin to shed to offer nurture to the puppies.

The development of fetal body parts starts in the second month of pregnancy.

After the first 32 days of fertilization, the fetus starts developing eyelids.

A fetus of 35 days develops its toes, and after the 40 days of fertilization, the hooks come in.

Last Week of Pregnancy:

As the last week of pregnancy approaches the breasts of the female starts to show milky fluid. Moreover, on the edge of whelping the puppies starts to be displayed in the tummy as they are keeping of changing positions.

The vulva begins to swell ad relaxed, and it anticipates the start of labor. Along with the swelling, a clear discharge starts to come along with a bit of blood.

If the discharge is not clear and is green and smelly, then it is the sign of severe infection, and you have to consult your vet ASAP. The discharge of the fluid indicates that the cervix has been widening and the mucus plug has released.

After the completion of the 50 days of the ovulation, x-ray test is highly recommended to know the structure of the fetal bones.

Moreover, with the help of an x-ray beam, the vet will be able to count not only the number of puppies but also the size as well. However, you have to avoid the x-ray test before the 45 days of pregnancy as the early test may harm the growth of the developing embryos, and I also pose a variety of complications.

But as far as the x-rays beams test is concerned, at the last stage of the pregnancy, it helps you to estimate the size of the litter and also to make yourself prepare for any complication or uncertain situation.

Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs

Day Before Whelping:

One of the most transparent and authentic indicators or the start of labor in dogs is the sudden drop in the temperature of the mother body. So after the 54th day of pregnancy, you have to measure the temperature of the pregnant canine regularly.

The average temperature of any canine lies between 101 to 103 degrees while near the labor or the whelping time the body temperature should drop to about 98 to 99 degrees.

If your canine has a temperature of more than 103 even after a 54th day, then there could be a chance of infection. However, here we like to mention that the drop in the temperature could be different at the individual level as some of the pregnant females does not show any temperature drop near the labor.

After the completion of 60 days, start measuring the temperature several times during the day and night to be ready for the onset of birth.

Stages of Dog Labor:

When your dog’s temperature sudden drop below 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8C) that signals that labor is close (she should deliver her pups in less than twenty-four hours.) Be ready!

Nesting Stage:

Dog labor has been divided into three phases. First and the most critical stage is the nesting stage.

In this stage, the female will start refusing any food intake. The initial phase also accompanied by heavy breathing and restlessness.

The female shows sign of anxiety by pawing the towels of the whelping box, arranging and rearranging the whelping box, moving in and out of the whelping box, etc.

The panic behavior is associated with the release of the emotional stress to arrange a place for the puppies. If the first puppy born outside the box then place the puppy and the mother in the whelping box after serving the umbilical cord.

Water Bag Breaking:

After the breaking of the water bag, it usually takes 1 and a half hour for a female dog to deliver the puppies. The water bag discharges about a cup of pale tea color water, and it is the onset of contractions and panting.

If your canine is grunting and straining but is unable to deliver the babies, then it’s time to call the vet for help.


Delivery of the PupsThe delivery of the pups takes place in pairs and with an interval of 20 minutes. During the delivery, both the horns are in use as they both simultaneously release the babies and then line up the next pair to be released in 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the mother nurtures and nurse the first pair. To stimulate the next delivery nursing is the best and most suitable option as it triggers the contractions.

After Delivery:

Just after the delivery of the first pair serving, the mother with cottage cheese or ice cream can stimulate the production of milk. However, here you have to keep this in mind that you have to wait for the first delivery before giving any treat.

Although the average delivery time comprises of 90 minutes, it could take more than 5 hours depending entirely on the size of the litter.

Worming in Pregnant Dogs:

The dogs carry worm eggs in their bodies even before their birth and thus pass on this to their puppies as well.

When the bitch got pregnant, it starts to offer nutrients to the fetus through the whole body system, and along with the nutrients, the encysted worm eggs come to life and start their life cycle.

So if your girl is pregnant, then it is very pertinent to maintain a worming schedule after consultation with your vet.

The worming of the canine should starts after four weeks into the pregnancy. After the first four weeks, the worming needs to be done once a week. If you do not keep up with the proper worming schedule, it is very much possible the newborn gets affected by it.

“A Vet Discusses Dog Pregnancy”


The gestation or the pregnancy period is the most crucial period of your canine life, and you should be careful and watchful when it begins.

Along with the proper diet and care, it is always advisable to consult an excellent vet to avoid any complications.

While dealing with the pregnant canine, it takes lots of effort on your part as you not only have to nurture the mother but the litter as well.

In most of the dogs, there are no clear or visible signs of pregnancy, so sometimes it is tough to tell whether a dog is pregnant or not.

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