Whether your dog is pregnant or you are planning to breed her for litters, the thought of new ones is always exciting but also comes with a responsibility as an owner.
Also, Dog Pregnancy can be very emotional and expensive for you and your dog.
As soon as Dog Pregnancy Signs come by be ready to give a lot of comforting, coaxing and soothing words for your dog along with handling their stubbornness.
We will try your all questions and doubts about dog pregnancy.
Table of Contents
How Long Are Dogs In Heat?
They start their heat when they are young like as soon as they strike 4 months they start their heat in smaller breeds but averages about six months old.
Some large breeds may not go into heat till they are 18 to 24 months old.
It is strongly suggested to not breed your dog in first and second cycles as their eggs are not mature enough.
Heat lasts between 2 to 4 weeks, it can be shorter or longer as you will know the cycle is over when all her vulva will return to its normal size or when there is no more bleeding or discharge.
After 9 to 10 days into heat, your dog is more fertile and there is a small opening that lasts up to five days and can become pregnant at the end of the cycle.
When estrus begins, it takes a while for a cycle to become regular.
Some dogs can even take up to 18 months until their cycle becomes regular.
It’s a great idea to keep track of the record during these early days.
Smaller breeds may go into heat more often as 3 to 4 times a year whereas, large breeds like Wolfhounds and Great Danes may only go into heat in 12 to 18 months.
Most pet owners choose to spay their female dogs before their first heat this reduces the risk of mammary cancer and other conditions also eliminate the possibility of unwanted litters.
How Long Is A Dog Pregnant?
The gestation period in a dog is approximately 63 days from conception also this varies in several days.
Conception is hard to determine as sperm can live for several days inside the female and eggs can remain fertile for 48 hours.
This also means the act of mating is not an exact measurement of gestation.
It is hard to predict the length of pregnancy without the assistance of a veterinarian.
Hormone measurement gives an exact time frame of gestation.
While breeding your dog use vaginal smears and blood tests to monitor reproductive hormones during the breeding process.
This helps them to determine the best time to breed their dog.
Gestation length according to hormone measurements:
- 56-58 days since the first day of diestrus.
- 64-66 days since the initial rise in progesterone.
- 58-72 days from the first time your dog allowed breeding.
You might wonder how many months are dogs pregnant?
Pregnancy in dogs is short as compared to humans, about 9 weeks total.
You have to keep the track of the gestation period is important for the health of the pregnant dog and the puppies it is important to monitor nutrition and veterinary care during pregnancy.
Dog Pregnancy Signs
If you notice your dog getting lazy or tired lately or eating fewer meals all of these can be signs of pregnancy and cute little puppies on the way.
Here are some signs that can help you:
- Your dog might be easily exhausted with little activity or might spend more time napping, it can be a sign of pregnancy as dogs are quite energetic but if your female dog has always been lazy try paying close attention to them.
- Your dog’s appetite may change drastically depending on which stage of pregnancy she is.
In early and mid-way pregnancy she may eat less or even start vomiting occasionally or she might eat more or be dissatisfied with the meals she is receiving.
- She may also have unusual behavior compared to how she daily is and even crave for your attention a lot or your pregnant dog might seek isolation and act irritable when given attention.
- A female Dogs nipples are usually small but during pregnancy, they are enlarged in size also areolas become more rounded compared to their flattened state or the color of the nipple may turn slightly dark red.
- As the puppies grow, your dog’s abdomen may expand in size this can be the most accurate sign of pregnancy especially if your dog has no other reason to gain weight however this happens relatively late in the pregnancy.
- At early pregnancy, your dog might start shredding bed and other materials to make a nest and becomes more irritable so it will be good to limit her contact from little children.
Though these signs could be from other reasons too so it is a good idea to go to your vet for a proper check-up.
Dog Pregnancy Test
You can get a canine pregnancy test for your dog that tests her “relaxin” hormones in serum and the plasma samples from the pet’s blood.
A large amount of relaxin hormones in her bloodstream is a clear indication that your dog is pregnant.
The kit can detect hormones in biological samples after 22 to 27 days the egg has been fertilized to detect pregnancy.
Though, a small blood sample will provide almost instant results.
The kit test can be tricky and can show false pregnancy or it won’t show if you are detecting early or if your dog has accidentally aborted the baby it won’t show.
The kit can be also cheaper than the ultrasound and much quicker result.
If you are still confused the best answer would be when you take your dog to your vet for exact results.
Also, here is a canine pregnancy calendar for your help.
Dog Pregnancy Stages Day By Day
- During day 7, the embryos travel to the uterine horns.
- Around day 16 the embryos are embedded in the uterine linings.
- At day 22 the fetus starts to take shape.
- By day 28 or 30, your veterinarian would be able to detect fetal heartbeats on an ultrasound.
- The fetus starts developing quickly by the second month.
- The eyelids of the fetus start forming by day 32.
- Toes are visible by day 35.
- Claws are formed by day 40.
- If it isn’t already obvious by other symptoms 45 Days Pregnant Dog Symptoms get easy to recognize as their coat and skeleton start forming their abdomen enlarges making it pretty obvious.
- By day 50 you can get an X-ray on how many puppies are present.
- By the 58 days, your dog will start searching for a place to nest.
- The development is almost complete by day 58.
- After that, the puppies start moving into whelping positions in the birth canal over the last few days and ready for the labor.
Early Signs of Dog Labor
Dog will start shredding her bed or things to make a nest, As your female dog will want a private place in your home where she can relax and give birth to her puppies in peace, so build a nest for her in the last two weeks of your dog’s pregnancy so she can be more comfortable.
One of the first signs of impending labor is a drop in your dog’s body temperature from 38.5°C to 37°C labor usually begins around 12-24 hours after that.
Take your dog’s temperature twice a day with a rectal thermometer throughout her final week of pregnancy for precaution.
During the final week of dog pregnancy, your pet may be a little restless and seclude themselves in a quiet area.
A loss of appetite and scrabbling in her bedding is common in the 12-24 hours before she goes into labor is also a sign you need to look out at.
Your dog may move the nest that you made for her to another area of the house.
If this happens, try not to move it from her preferred location if possible for her own comfort.
Dog births are usually normal and don’t often involve complications.
Though you should make sure you interfere as little as possible, it’s still important to be with your dog giving birth so that you can support her and step in if there are any problems, though you should be ready with anything with your vet on speed-dial.
Dog Labor Complications
Luckily, most dog labors are not as hard as ours.
Your dogs are more than capable of handling giving birth by herself, but complications can occasionally occur.
Contact your vet if:
- Your dog fails to go into labor within 24 hours of her temperature dropping. The lowered dog labor temperature is usually a sign that the puppies are on their way, so if they don’t come, something might be wrong.
- Despite strong contractions for 20-30 minutes, your dog has failed to produce a puppy. Contact your vet, and be prepared for the puppies that your dog gives birth to.
- No puppy is born within four hours of your dog’s passing a green or red/brown vaginal discharge (after 2 hours, be prepared to call the vet).
- More than 2 hours pass with your dog resting or having only weak contractions between pups, and you know there are more inside. You need to rush her to the hospital then.
- You can see a puppy at the vulval entrance but although your dog is straining, it fails to deliver or stuck it can get the labor more complicated.
- Your dog has been in second stage labor for more than 12 hours (the second stage is when puppies are being born).
If all of this goes wrong call your vet.
How to Help a Dog Give Birth
You can disinfect the umbilical cord with iodine, this will prevent infection also if the umbilical cord is still bleeding you may want to clamp it or tie it with thread to stop the bleeding.
You can help remove the amniotic sac from around a puppy as your dog will be still busy with another pup.
Simply tear the sac open and remove it.
Do this within 30 seconds after birth.
This will allow the puppy to breathe.
You have to help remove the secretions from the nose and mouth with cotton or with a special suction device or you can turn the puppy gently upside down supporting his head and allowing the secretions to drop out with gravity.
You have to rub the pup shortly after birth with a soft towel after the secretions are cleaned off.
You have to remove some of the placentas if your dog is ingesting too many.
In excess, they may cause diarrhea.
You also have to count the placentas after the birthing process is done.
There should be one per pup.
If you miss and you know the dog has not eaten it you will need your vet to give an oxytocin injection to help her expel it.
You may want to place the pups while the dog gives birth in a nice warm box, so they will stay warm and the dog avoids accidentally laying on them as she continues to give birth.
Place the pups near her nipples to start feeding during the interval between births.
You may lubricate the birth canal with K-Y jelly and if she seems to like having difficulty delivering a puppy or the puppy might get stuck in the birth canal.
You can help her deliver the puppy by gently gripping the puppy’s skin behind his neck with a cloth.
You may also have to rotate the pup one way and then the other to help the puppy be expelled.
Luckily most labors are normal so you would want to just lay low and let nature let its course and your dog and puppies will be just fine so just watch out for emergencies rather than fussing over your dog and making her have a panic too.
Though keep your vet updated and on speed dial for emergencies.
I hope we cleared most of your doubts about Dog Pregnancy.
Comment below and let us know about your thoughts!
Happy Petting You Guys!