Dog Pregnancy: How Long Dogs Are pregnant

Dog Pregnancy

If you are thinking about breeding your female canine for the first time or have met an unexpected pregnancy incident, then you must know some important facts about dog pregnancy. The dog pregnancy is short as the puppy’s development happens in just two months. Yes! Lonna J Nielsen, who is a veterinary doctor at Winterset Veterinary Center in Winterset, Iowa, said the dog gestation period is 62 to 65 days, and you noticed the remarkable changes in your female dog’s body. Here, you need to note down the exact date of mating, and if there are two mating, then the expected birth would occur between 63 to 65 days later. Here is a timeline of the gestation period week-wise.

The Reproductive Cycle in Dogs

The first thing that needs to be understood by every pet owner is the dog reproductive cycle because female dogs go into heat every six months. This heat cycle lasts 18 to 21 days and has four distinct stages. By these stages, breeders can determine the most suitable time to breed their dogs.

There are four stages of the female dog reproductive cycle

Proestrus: is the first stage that lasts for nine days in a reproductive cycle. During this time, females start to attract males, and in these signs, swelling of the vulva and bloody discharge occur.

Estrus: the second stage is from 3-4 days to 7-11 days, and in this time, the female is receptive to the male dog. The signs of this stage are a soft and enlarged vulva and a light color discharge decrease.

The final stage is Diestrus, which occurs around 14 days. During this time, the dog becomes redder and tapers off, and the vulva returns to normal and no longer permits mating.

All the signs of swelling and discharge have gone. The time between one heat cycle and the next is known as anestrus and lasts around six months.

How Long the Dog Pregnancy

The understanding of the reproductive cycle helps to determine the length of pregnancy.

First Week : Week One is the heat cycle period when the female dog is receptive to the male and fertilizes eggs. There could be several eggs because of mating with more than one male dog.

Second Week: When fertilization happens, the embryos travel into the horns of the Y-shaped uterus and embed into the uterine lining.

Third Week: Once the embryo develops, start noticing your dog’s appetite and energy levels.

Fourth Week: after 25-28 days of gestation, consult the veterinarian, who will check if the embryo is growing and can detect the heartbeat with an ultrasound.

The increasing fluid in the uterus will prevent the palpation of the puppies, and your dog’s appetite will increase as little puppy development is going remarkable. It is when she needs a high demand for food to fulfill her and the puppy’s nutritional needs.

Fifth : After a month, your dog is in stage two of her pregnancy when puppies change from embryos to fetuses. It continues to grow and develop organs that will increase weight dramatically. In this week, the dog’s belly will become noticeably larger.

Sixth Week: The dog’s belly becomes more prominent when the coats and skeletons of the fetuses develop, and the female dog becomes more uncomfortable.

Seventh Week: When the breast tissue of a female dog is swollen, and her nipples become dark and prominent, you start to notice colostrum, a cloudy fluid called ‘first milk’ from the nipples. However, sometimes, female dogs start shedding their hair from the belly and feel the fetuses move beneath their skin.

Eight Week: Now, the puppies have fully developed and have started to move into position in the birth canal. The female dog starts to find a safe place to deliver her baby. You can arrange her nest, clean blankets, and towels to give her privacy and comfort.

Ninth Week: It was the last stage of dog pregnancy when you noticed the daily rectal temperature of the dog. The normal temperature is 100.5 to 102 degrees. It is a time when the labor is very close and could be started within 24 hours.

How to Tell If a Dog Is Pregnant

As we know, humans have instantaneous pregnancy tests to determine whether the female is pregnant. However, it is not simple for dogs because you visit your veterinarian to find your pet dog is pregnant. Veterinarians use four tests to determine if a dog is pregnant.

Hormone Tests

In this test, relaxin releases from placenta tissue, which is a fair diagnostic test. But for the accuracy of this test, the female dog must be at least into her 30 days gestation.


palpation is the most convenient way to diagnose pregnancy. With each fetus’s development, the membrane around them grows and firm fluid-filled sacs. These sacs will be between 21 days and 35 days of gestation.


X-ray is one of the authentic way to determine how many puppies a female dog expects. It must be done between 42 days and 45 days.


Ultrasound is the best way to determine if a dog is pregnant early in the gestation. This test can detect the pregnancy and fetal heartbeats. This test also determines the other causes of uterine distension, such as pyometra.

Should Pet Owner Change Diet in Dog Pregnancy?

Many people ask that if our pet dog is pregnant, we should change her diet to fulfill their daily nutritional values. After mating for approximately six weeks, the same diet is required that she was already taken. Just ensure that your dog is taking a high-quality diet during pregnancy.

Besides, you can give nutritional supplements and vitamins after discussing them with your veterinarian. You should also feed your dog an omega-3 fatty acids duet that helps puppy development in utero and milk production.

However, during the last three weeks of pregnancy, your dog food intake increases than normal levels. At that time, you can feed them more frequently because it will support the dog’s health and improve their body condition.

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