In this article we answer the question, How long is a dog pregnant?
Dog breeding is a big responsibility.
If you are considering wether or not to breed your dog, you may want to ask yourself a few questions.
- What does my dog contribute to the breed?
- Have I completed the pertinent health testing recommended for this breed?
- Will I be able to find enough quality homes for all the puppies?
So how long is a dog pregnant?
A dogs pregnancy lasts for 63 days.
A good rule of thumb is to be ready for your dog to go into labor about one week before her due date.
Being ready a week early will make your dog’s labor go much more smoothly, should she happen to go into labor earlier than expected.
Your dog could also go a few days past her due date.
Early signs of pregnancy
One of the first signs of pregnancy we always notice in our dogs , is a change in behavior.
Our dogs are always “velcro dogs”, but they get extra clingy during pregnancy.
At around the 20th to the 21st day, you may notice some vomiting, and decreased appetite due to morning sickness.
This normally runs its course in about a week.
Sometimes if you scramble some eggs for your dog, or top their kibble with a little yogurt, it will increase their desire for food.
You will probably notice your dog’s nipples getting a darker pink, and she may begin loosing the hair around them.
This hair falls out to make it easier for the puppies to suckle.
At about day 30, your vet can confirm your dogs pregnancy using one of several methods.
The vet may opt to palpate your dog’s abdomen to try and feel the puppies.
NEVER try to do this on your own, you could hurt your dog or the unborn puppies.
Two other methods of confirming pregnancy would be either a hormone test or an ultrasound.
An X-ray can also confirm pregnancy, but can’t be done until around 55 days.
Signs later in pregnancy
If your dog is pregnant, you will notice her stomach getting larger as she gains weight.
Her appetite will also likely increase at this time.
Your dog may whine more frequently, and have a harder time getting comfortable.
Once pregnancy is confirmed
It’s critical to be sure your dog is eating a food that provides excellent nutrition for her and the developing puppies.
Your vet should be able to assist you in finding a food that offers adequate nutrition.
Try to feed your pregnant dog several small meals per day, instead of one large meal.
This will help keep her more comfortable.
Make sure your dog is getting plenty of fresh, cool water, and staying well hydrated.
If you documented the date that your dog mated, you can target her approximate due date.
To calculate this, get a calendar and count 63 days out from the date your dog was bred.
Now that you have an estimated due date, you can begin to prepare for the birth of the puppies.
|**Fun Note: During your dogs final week of pregnancy, you can begin to see and feel the puppies moving.
Puppies are a lot of fun, but also a ton of work.
Raising puppies is a big responsibility.
You will need to be very alert and watchful once the puppies are born.
Each puppies sex and weight should be documented at birth.
You will also need to devise a way of keeping track of each puppy.
Puppies need to be weighed each day.
This ensures that if a puppy isn’t getting enough to eat, you will know right away.
Puppies will need a suitable whelping box. We offer free plans to build a DIY whelping box HERE.
It’s best if you can locate the whelping box in a quiet area of your home.
This will help your dog feel more relaxed once the puppies are born.
We usually show our dog where the whelping box is, and let her get in and out as she likes.
This helps the dog get used to the whelping box.
You will want to purchase a rectal thermometer like this.
Take your dogs temperature rectally beginning her last week of pregnancy.
Continue this every 12 hours until her temperature falls below 100 degrees.
Once her temperature falls below 100 degrees, she should go into labor anytime within the next 24 hours.
Another giveaway that your dog is in labor is heavy panting.
You should also notice her water breaking.
Make sure you are prepared with your vet’s number in case of emergencies.
Items you should get ready before the birth
- A good supply of trash bags
- Lots of paper towels
- A heat lamp
- Whelping pads
- Scale (weighs in grams and ounces)
- Clean, old towels and blankets
- Infant ball syringe
- Scissors (to cut umbilical cords)
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