Dog Pregnancy - How Long Are Dogs Pregnant and What To Expect

Dog Pregnancy - How Long Are Dogs Pregnant and What To Expect


Can't wait to see those new puppies? If you're wondering how long your dog is pregnant for or what to expect during dog pregnancy you have found the right article! 

When a female dog is pregnant, there are many things to consider. This is an exciting time, but also a time to be very careful with your pet. In this article, we will share all you need to know about dog pregnancy.

Dog gestation period: How long are dogs pregnant for 

How long are dogs pregnant? The average gestation period is 58-68 days. However, the exact date of the gestation period can vary based on the size and breed of the dog, as well as whether it is a first-time pregnancy or not. 

Some dogs may go into labor a little early or late, but typically most dogs will give birth within just a few days of the 63-day mark. It is important to note that every dog is different. 

Earliest Signs of Dog Pregnancy

Dog's pregnancy: What are the signs?

Many pet owners do not know how to detect pregnancy. 

There are several pregnancy signs to look for, early signs include changes in behavior, increased appetite, and morning sickness. 

  • One of the first signs that your dog is pregnant is a change in her behavior. She may become more affectionate, or more aggressive. She may also start to nest, or build a “nest” for her puppies. 
  • Increased food intake. A pregnant dog's appetite will often increase. After all, she is eating for herself and her growing puppies! Your dog's abdomen will also begin to grow.
  • Morning sickness is one of the physical signs. Just like humans, dogs can experience morning sickness during pregnancy. This may manifest as vomiting or loss of appetite but don't worry - this only lasts the first couple of weeks!
Do Dogs Get Morning Sickness
  • Weight gain. As your dog’s body prepares for the puppies inside of her, she will start to gain weight. The puppy development will cause your dog's belly to grow. This is normal and is nothing to worry about.
  • Enlarged nipples. One of the final signs of pregnancy is the enlargement of your dog’s nipples. This happens as her body prepares to produce milk for her little ones. 

If you think your dog may be pregnant, it is important to take her to the vet for a prenatal checkup. 

The vet will be able to confirm the pregnancy and detect fetal heartbeats. This will help you to prepare for the arrival of her litter!

How to take care of a pregnant dog 

If you're a female dog owner, there's a good chance you'll experience pregnancy at some point. Though dogs have been known to give birth without any help from their owners, taking certain precautions can make the process easier for both the mother and her pups. Here are four tips to help you take care of a pregnant dog.

1. Make sure she gets plenty of exercise

Pregnant dogs need to stay active, but you don't want to overdo it. Taking her on short walks or light play in the backyard are good ways to keep her exercised without tiring her out.

How Long are Dogs Pregnant for in Months

2. Adjust her diet as needed

As your dog's pregnancy progresses, she will need more dog food. She should be consuming 35-50% more than usual. Be sure to increase her intake slowly, feeding her smaller meals, more frequently. It can cause discomfort to feed her large meals. Consult with your veterinarian to make sure you're feeding her the right amount.

3. Keep an eye on her weight 

Weight gain is inevitable. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy though can be harmful to both the mother and her expected litter. If the weight gain becomes excessive be sure to consult with your vet.

Week by Week Dog Pregnancy

4. Provide a comfortable nesting area

As your dog's due date approaches, she'll start looking for a place to nest. To make things easier on her, prepare a quiet area in your home with soft bedding and plenty of space for her to move around. We will provide information later in the article about how to make a nesting area for your pup!

How to prepare for the birth of her pups

When you are pregnant, there are many things to prepare for. The same is true when you are expecting puppies. Here are some tips on how to get ready for the big day:

Make sure you have a whelping box ready and set up in a warm, quiet place where the little ones will be safe and comfortable.

This is where they will be born and spend the first few weeks of their lives.

Get everything you need for the new arrivals.

Make sure you have plenty of supplies! You'll need plenty of food, bedding, toys, and a crate. We also recommend having plenty of Nuesta Pet's Stain and Odor Remover and Puppy Pee Pads (coming soon!) on hand.

Make sure to have cleaning supplies. 

As you can imagine the puppies and mama will need a little clean-up. So, having some towels and paper towels on hand is a good idea!

Talk to your veterinarian about what to expect during delivery and how to care for the pups afterward.

Your dog's motherly instincts will kick in and she will do most of the work but it doesn't hurt to be informed in case she needs some assistance.

How Many Weeks are Dogs Pregnant

What is a whelping box?

A whelping box is a type of dog crate that is specifically designed for pregnant dogs and new puppies. It is meant to be a safe place for your dog to have her little ones. It is typically made out of plastic or wood and has a low profile to make it easier for the mother dog to get in and out. The box should be large enough for the mother dog to comfortably stand in and should be kept warm by lining it with soft bedding such as towels or blankets.

The best place to put the box is in an area where the mother dog can be comfortable and safe, such as a quiet room in your home. If you have other pets besides your pregnant dog it may be best to close the door or gate to keep other inquisitive pets away!

What to expect when the dog gives birth


About two days before giving birth, the dog's milk may come in. During labor, the dog will experience contractions and clear vaginal discharge and may be more vocal than usual. 

Your dog will naturally get into the whelping position. The puppies will move towards the birth canal. Once expected puppies are born the umbilical cord will be chewed and broken about an inch from the pup by the mother. You should remove the afterbirth from the nest area but if she does eat it, don't worry! It's natural and will cause no harm. The mother dog will then clean her litter and herself. 

After giving birth, it is important to monitor the mother dog and her little ones. The mother dog should be given plenty of food and water. She will also need to be kept clean and comfortable. Be sure to keep the puppies warm but don't allow them to become overheated. It is also important to make sure that the pups are getting enough to eat. If they are not, they may need to be supplemented with puppy formula. 

Dog and Puppies

The mother dog will likely experience some bleeding after giving birth. This is normal and should not be cause for concern.

If the bleeding is excessive, or if there are any other signs of illness, it is important to seek veterinary care.

The pregnancy period and giving birth is a physically demanding process for dogs, and they will need time to recover. It is important to give them plenty of rest and to make sure that they don't overdo it. 

With proper care, the mother dog and her little ones should be able to enjoy a happy and healthy life together.

How many puppies to expect? 

A dog's litter size varies between 1 and 12 pups, with 5-6 healthy puppies being typical across all dogs. According to registration data from the American Kennel Club (AKC), there are significant differences between individual dog breeds when it comes to litter size. 

Larger litters are generally found in bigger dogs, while smaller litters are more common in little dogs, due to the fact that size allows larger dogs to have more little ones safely.

What to do after the puppies are born


Congratulations! Now, what do you do? Here is a handy guide to help you through the next few weeks.

First, make sure that the whelping box is in a warm and draft-free place. The temperature should be about 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius). 

Keep the area clean and dry. Make sure to put fresh towels or blankets in the box as needed.

Puppies Staying Warm

Puppies are born blind and deaf and rely on their mother's milk for sustenance and warmth. They will spend the first few weeks of their lives sleeping, eating, and growing.

During this time, it is important to make sure that the mother dog has plenty of food and water, as she is still recovering from childbirth and will be producing milk for her puppies. 

As the puppies grow and begin to move around more, they will start to explore their surroundings and play with each other. The mother dog will continue to watch over them and protect them, but at this point, they will start to eat solid pet food and drink water. They will not need their mother as much at this point as they did in the previous weeks.

How Long are Dogs Pregnant

FAQs about dog pregnancy

How early can you tell if a dog is pregnant?

It can be difficult to determine whether a dog is pregnant or not until the later stages of pregnancy. 

There are some indications that can suggest your pup is pregnant at early stages. These signs can include changes in behavior, increased appetite, and sickness in the morning. 

If you think your dog may be pregnant, it is best to take her to the vet for hormone tests or a blood test to confirm the pregnancy and get started on proper prenatal care.

How can I tell when my dog is getting ready to give birth?

If you start seeing discharge from the vagina, your dog is probably getting close to giving birth. You may also notice that she is becoming more restless and spending more time nesting.

The closer your dog gets to giving birth, the more her temperature will drop. You can take her temperature rectally with a veterinary thermometer. The dog's temperature is usually between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. 

When the body temperature drops below 100 degrees, she is probably in the final stage of pregnancy, and likely within 24 hours, the labor begins.

Can you feel puppies at 4 weeks?

After five weeks of pregnancy, veterinarians can detect puppy movement by palpating the mother. 

Dog owners can often feel the puppies at around six weeks onwards, at seven weeks, dog owners may even see visible puppy movement under the skin.

Can I tell if my dog is pregnant after 1 week?

It can be difficult to tell but there are some signs that may indicate a dog is pregnant, but they are not always accurate. 

Many people think that a dog will start gaining weight very early on in the pregnancy but that may not be the case. Sickness in the morning may cause weight loss for the first couple of weeks. 

Congratulations! You’re about to become a dog grandparent. 

Now that you know all about how long are dogs pregnant and what to expect, we hope you feel better equipped to handle the upcoming arrival of your new furry family members. 

Share your new puppy stories and get more advice by joining our Facebook Group - Dog Facts, Laughs, and Baths