How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?
It is an exciting time, and you are about to be a dog grandparent. You need to know what to expect when your pup is expecting.
Dogs are pregnant for about 62 to 64 days, from the day they ovulate to the first day the puppies come into the world. Just like humans, dogs’ bodies change when they are pregnant. They have a decreased appetite, which is similar to morning sickness in a human.
If you think your dog may be pregnant, you should take them to the vet to be sure. If you want to know how long dogs are pregnant, check out this article.
Dogs Are Pregnant on Average for 63 Days
During the first month of pregnancy, dogs experience a loss in appetite. You will likely need to feed them smaller meals throughout the day to lessen the chance of nausea and vomiting. It is one of the signs you want to watch out for concerning your pup and pregnancy. The best approach is to get your dog to the vet and find out so that you can prepare for the arrival of the precious little pups.
Dogs, on average, are pregnant for about 63 days or about two months. Trying to predict the timing of the impending birth may prove difficult because the breeding date does not always match up with the date of conception. The precise length of the pregnancy may also vary with the size of the dog and breed.
During the first month of gestation, the inseminated eggs travel through the long oviducts and then go down to the uterus, where they implant and begin to create puppies. When puppies are ready to be born, they are ejected from the uterus. Like human babies, they come out with their placentas intact. It is quite a miracle to behold the birth of tiny baby pups.
More About the Dog Gestation Period
The date of conception can be difficult to determine in dogs. Sperm can live for several days inside the female. Eggs can stay fertile for up to two days, which means that the mating ritual does not determine pregnancy. It can be challenging to establish the actual date of pregnancy without the skilled assistance of your veterinarian.
Hormone measurements are more accurate to be able to make calculations. Your vet can monitor your dog’s reproductive hormones, which will give you a better idea of how long the pregnancy may be and the potential due date.
Knowing the length of pregnancy is crucial for the health of your pup. If you want to breed your dog, you should work with your vet to figure out the best plan for your pup and her babies.
The Reproductive Cycle in Dogs
Dogs who have not yet been spayed go into heat about every six months, but it is different for the various breeds. The dog’s heat cycle can last for about 18 to 21 days. The heat cycle is grouped into four separate stages:
Proestrus lasts for about nine days, but sometimes it varies by two or three days. In this phase, the female may attract her canine suitors. However, she is not ready to be bred, and she will reject the male’s advances. Specific symptoms characterize proestrus:
- Mild swelling of the vulva
- Bloody discharge
Your female pup’s indifference to males only lasts for so long. In the days leading up to this stage, you may notice that your dog seems nervous and more tired than usual.
Estrus can take anywhere from 3 to 4 or 7 to 11 days. During this time, the female dog becomes interested in the male dog’s attention. The female may be amenable a day or two past the time she would still be in breeding mode. There are defining symptoms of estrus:
- Less discharge
- Lighter color discharge (light pink)
- Enlarged and soft vulva
If you want to make sure that breeding occurs at the opportune time, vaginal smears and blood tests can be performed by the veterinarian. Testing should commence before and during estrus.
Diestrus is the last stage of the cycle. At this point, the female becomes unresponsive to the male and no longer wants to be bothered. There are a couple of distinctive symptoms of diestrus:
- The discharge becomes redder and diminishes
- Vulva shrinks back to its original size
Once all the discharge and swelling are gone, the heat is over. However, if the pup becomes pregnant at this time, she will continue with this stage until the pregnancy is over.
At this stage, the dog will need to rest. It typically lasts for about 100 to 150 days. It denotes the end of diestrus and the beginning of the next proestrus stage.
How Can You Tell if a Dog is Pregnant?
Knowing the following signs that your dog may be pregnant does not negate the need for you to take your pup to see the vet for confirmation. However, it can be helpful to have specific symptoms or signs to relay to the vet concerning your dog.
Nipples Get Bigger
Your pup’s nipples will get more prominent if they are pregnant. The hair around their nipples will also become noticeably thinner. If your dog is near to giving birth, there may be milk dripping out of their nipples.
Pup Gains Weight
When your dog is pregnant, the shape of their body will also change. Like humans, pups will also gain some weight. The belly gets bigger and puffs out. Mammary glands become swollen and ready to provide milk.
You Can Feel the Babies
You can put your hand on their belly when your pup is at full term and feel puppies! There may be some movement going on in the womb.
What are Some Other Signs a Dog is Pregnant?
Your pup’s behavior may change as a result of pregnancy. You girl may even show behavioral signs sooner than physical signs. Some of them may include:
- Decreased Appetite
- Becoming more clingy or more affectionate
- Lack of Energy
- Nesting Behavior (looking for a good place to have birth)
If your dog is looking for a suitable nesting spot, they may scratch at the ground or even drag their bed to different house areas. They do this out of instinct. In the wild, dogs need to locate a safe and private place to give birth and raise her pups. When puppies are first born, they are at their most defenseless and are dependent on their mother for guidance and support.
How Can I Support My Dog to Prepare for Puppies?
You or your pup will choose a good place for her to have her babies. Make sure she is comfortable and ensure that the designated spot is safe for the puppies. When puppies are first born, their eyes are closed for about ten days. Do not let them wander off to an unsafe area. You will also need to ensure that the puppies are nursing safely.
Ensure that the mother receives the proper nutrition before and during her pregnancy. When you are helping your dog give birth for her first time, you will need to take her temperature rectally 7 to 10 days prior to her due date. Her temperature will fall below 100 degrees farenheit within 24 hours of labor. This temperature decrease lets you know that the puppies will come soon.
When breeding your dog, you should only have them breed after achieving two regular reproductive cycles. Breeding her sooner may cause problems for her and her puppies.
How Long After Giving Birth Can a Dog Be Spayed?
Spaying your dog comes with many benefits. It will protect the dog’s health, and you may have only wanted her to breed puppies once. Once your dog gives birth, they are exhausted. Their body is weak, and it takes time to recover. It is recommended that you wait for at least 6 to 8 weeks before spaying your pup after she gives birth.
It is appropriate to spay your dog if her puppies are eating solid foods and the milk has dried up. You also do not want to spay your dog too early or late. The average age to spay a dog is six months old. If you plan to breed your dog, consult your vet concerning when to spay them once they give birth.
Dogs are usually prenatal for about two months. If you choose to breed your dog one time, then your momma dog can be spayed 6 – 8 weeks after the birth. Fixing your pup if no more babies are expected is good for your dog’s health, and it is the prudent thing to do.
Welcome to Bottletree Animal Hospital, your family-friendly veterinarian in Oxford. We are a team of animal lovers who are passionate about veterinary excellence. We love working closely with you and your pet to help us learn more about your furry friend, their lifestyle, and their needs.