How Long is a Dog Pregnant For?
If you’re thinking of stepping into the world of dog breeding or your pup has gotten pregnant accidentally, then there are some things you’re going to need to know. For example, how long is a dog pregnant? What should you do to help your dog during this time? Luckily, we’ve got all the answers. So, keep reading to learn more.
What is the gestation period?
Typically, a dog will be pregnant for about 63 days after conception. However, this number can vary several days, depending on a few different factors. For example, sperm can live several days inside the female, and the eggs can remain fertile for up to 48 hours. In other words, a female may get pregnant a day or two after mating. So, to determine whether your dog is pregnant or not, you’ll need the help of their veterinarian.
Compared to a human’s pregnancy lasting about nine months, a dog’s pregnancy being only eight to nine weeks seems pretty short. So, every single day counts for the health and nutrition of the mother and the litter she carries.
What are the stages of pregnancy?
Since dogs are pregnant for such a short amount of time, a lot happens during pregnancy.
The first month
Once the female has conceived, the embryos travel to the uterine horns during the first month but the end of the first week. The embryos are embedded into the uterine lining by the 16th day. By day 22 of the pregnancy, the fetus begins to take shape. Finally, around the 28th to 30th day of pregnancy, the veterinarian should be able to pick up heartbeats on the ultrasound.
During this first month, your dog may or may not have the following symptoms:
- Increased appetite
- Enlarged nipples
- Affectionate behavior
- Clear vaginal discharge
- Decreased physical activity
- Morning sickness
The second month
During the second month of pregnancy, things really ramp up. The puppies will begin developing. By day 45 of the pregnancy, the puppies should have eyelids, toes, claws, skeleton, and coat.
By day 50, your veterinarian should be able to tell how many puppies are in the litter through an ultrasound. Then, when day 58 rolls around, your pup may begin looking for a place to nest in preparation for giving birth.
Symptoms you may see in your female dog this month may be:
- Weight gain
- The more increased appetite (decreased appetite by day 45)
- Increased urination
- Behavioral changes
- Clear, odorless vaginal discharge
- Enlarged, firm abdomen
- Visible puppy movement in the abdomen by day 50
How Long Is A Dog Pregnant For? The third month
At the beginning of the third month, the puppies will be fully developed by day 58. Then they’ll begin moving to the birth canal, ready to be born within the next few days.
During the last few days of pregnancy, as the mother begins to get ready for birth, you’ll notice these symptoms:
- Waist will trim
- Appetite loss
- Drop in temperature (about 12 to 24 hours before labor)
- Panting, pacing, digging, or shivering
What happens when your dog is ready to give birth
Similar to how the pregnancy is about three months long, thus being in three stages, there are three stages of labor.
The first stage will last about 12 to 24 hours. After that, contractions will begin, but not all symptoms may be noticeable in your dog. Labor symptoms might include restlessness, reclusive behavior, panting, vomiting, refusal to eat, nesting, and clear vaginal discharge.
Stage two is when the puppies are born. It’s a good idea to know how many puppies are in the litter through an ultrasound by this point. The mother will deliver one puppy at a time, every 30 to 60 minutes. Each puppy may take one to two hours to deliver. So, if you know how many puppies are in the litter, you can have a good idea of when your dog will be done delivering all of her puppies. Overall, delivering the puppies can take as little as one hour to up to 24 hours.
During stage three, the placenta is delivered. Once that’s done, then labor and delivery are done as well. If the mother takes longer than two hours to deliver a puppy, then call your veterinarian right away. This could be a sign of a complication, and your dog and her puppies could be at risk.
How long is a dog pregnant for? Not as long as you’d think!
When it comes to caring for a pregnant dog, the time will go by quickly. Educate yourself and stay in contact with your veterinarian so that you can properly care for your pooch (and the puppies) during this time.