Have a pregnant dog and want to know how long do dogs stay pregnant?
You’re off to a good start. In this article, we’ll cover all the important dog pregnancy questions.
Understanding bodies of pregnant dogs and what they are going through means dog owners can take better care of their pets.
Generally, there really isn’t much you can do for a pregnant dog.
First, you will need to change the way you feed her. Start pay attention to her diet and ensure healthy dog nutrition habits. Consider including dog vitamins and dog supplements, although they are not essential on a well-formulated diet.
You will also need to prepare a safe and comfortable area for her to give birth.
This article will answer most common dog pregnancy questions and what to expect when your dog is expecting.
How long do dogs stay pregnant?
Most mature female dogs will go into heat every 6 months, but it is common for them to skip a cycle.
The heat cycle itself will last approximately 3 weeks.
It is best to wait until after your dog is two years old before you breed them so their body can fully develop before they bare puppies.
A dog’s gestation period lasts about 58 to 65 days from the date the breeding occurred.
How can you tell that your dog is pregnant?
Confirmation of dog’s pregnancy can be easily determined by feeling the uterus, using an ultrasound or taking a blood test.
How can I tell if my dog is in heat?
Being observant of your dog and the changes in their body is the best way to tell when your dog’s heat will begin.
The first thing that you will notice is a swollen vulva and a bloody discharge. This is the beginning of the heat and the eggs will not be released yet.
Male dogs will already be more drawn to her, but she may not show any interest until this phase ends in 6-10 days.
In the second stage of heat your dog will be fertile. Her bleeding will change from pink to a sandy color, and she will be more welcoming to male attention.
This stage will last approximately 6-10 days, but can last as long as 20 days.
What are some of the early signs of dog pregnancy?
Early signs of pregnancy in dogs include nipple growth, a decreased appetite, decreased activity level, and behavioral changes.
Nipple growth in dogs occurs because the glands and tissues under her nipples are swelling to make room for the milk.
A decreased appetite is similar to morning sickness in humans and it is normal for her to sleep more than usual during her pregnancy.
Your canine may also become more affectionate or may want to be left alone, both of which are very common.
These behavioral variations are on account of the hormonal changes that are being triggered by canine pregnancy.
Developments of puppies during dog’s pregnancy
Just like human babies, puppies are developing rapidly during the gestation period.
The following milestones will occur:
- On day 32: The embryos will take shape. The eyelids will take a distinct shape so the face is more prominent.
- On day 35: Toes will be visible.
- On day 45: The coat and skeleton will start to form on Day 45.
- Around day 50: The skeletons are formed enough so that a vet can take x-rays to count the number of pups.
- Around day 58: The female will begin looking for an area to nest, so you should have a place already made for her.
How to care for a pregnant dog?
If you are able to tell the day that your dog becomes pregnant, the first thing you should do is mark your calendar for 56 days after the breeding.
After this day, your dog should not be left unattended if at all possible.
For the first few weeks of dog pregnancy period you can continue feeding your pet a premium adult dog food. Take a look at our dog food reviews for the most appropriate diet based on scientific analysis.
Each week after that you should replace a small amount of her dog food with puppy food, so by the final week of pregnancy she is eating only puppy food alone.
Instead of feeding her two large meals a day as usual, you should start giving her multiple small servings throughout the entire day.
Accurate nutrition is very important. This ensures your dog’s healthy skin, muscles, joints and bones. It also prevents development of dog arthritis in the pregnant dog as well as potential canine arthritis issues in her puppies.
Normally, there is no need to add supplements to food if dogs are eating premium quality dog food. All high quality commercial dog food brands already include every nutrient a pregnant dog will require.
However, do check with your vet to see what they recommend.
Exercise and supplements for pregnant dogs
Your pregnant dog should be getting regular exercise during her pregnancy.
It should not be anything strenuous, but enough to maintain her muscle tone, keep the blood flowing and prevent any excessive weight gain.
About two weeks before your dog is scheduled to give birth, it’s time for you to prepare a whelping box or a comfortable place for her to give birth and whelp the puppies.
When your dog begins lactating, you may want to give her a natural dietary supplement that will help her body meet the extra demands of milk production.
Some common supplements for pregnant dogs are:
- Saw Palmetto
- Echinacea Purpurea
- Baryta Carbonica
Remember to consult with a vet before administering any supplements to your dog.
Do you need a vet when the dog goes into labor?
The simple answer to this question is no.
Most healthy dogs can deliver their puppies without any assistance. It is their natural instinct to have puppies and they will know what to do.
Your vet may give you tips and tricks to help her when the time comes, but you shouldn’t intervene unless absolutely necessary.
However, if you notice any of the following, call your vet immediately:
- If there is green or black discharge that is not followed by birthing
- If a puppy cannot be removed from the mother
- If there is more than 4 hours between puppy deliveries
- If your dog is in labor for more than 2 hours with no sign of puppies
- If your dog begins panting heavily, vomiting, or trembling
- If the pregnancy lasts longer than 65 days
It does take some effort to see a dog through her pregnancy in order for her to deliver a healthy litter. But all your hard work will be worth it when those adorable babies arrive.
Once newborn puppies are born, be sure to keep their bedding clean and monitor them closely. The mother will do all the hard work for you.
Then, after 8 weeks of your love and affection, they will be ready to be adopted into their new homes.
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