Puppies bring boundless excitement! Whether you’re new to breeding or eagerly awaiting a reserved pup, the wait can feel endless. Fortunately, a dog’s pregnancy is notably shorter than a human’s. But just how long does this eagerly anticipated period last?
Curious if your furry companion is expecting and anticipating the pitter-patter of tiny paws? Navigating the care of an expecting dog can be a daily adventure. Understanding the gestation period equips you to plan and be ready for the exciting arrival of adorable pups.
How long are dogs pregnant?
Dog pregnancies typically last around 63 days, spanning 56 to 70 days. When unsure of ovulation, expect puppies between 58 to 68 days post-breeding, with most arriving around the 63-day mark, akin to just over two months in canine gestation.
The First Trimester
In the initial trimester of your dog’s pregnancy, physical changes might not be obvious except for a slight weight gain.
Some dogs might experience mild morning sickness around weeks three or four, but it’s usually not intense and might go unnoticed. Occasional vomiting, fatigue, or reduced appetite isn’t uncommon; offering smaller meals throughout the day can help ease any nausea. If concerns persist beyond a few days or if your dog’s appetite doesn’t bounce back, consulting your vet is a wise move.
During the initial month, embryos travel to the uterine horns by day 7, embedding into the lining around day 16. By day 22, fetal development begins, with detectable heartbeats around day 28 or 30 via ultrasound.
More signs to observe in this period include heightened appetite, slightly enlarged nipples, increased affection, clear vaginal discharge around week four, reduced activity, etc.
The Second Trimester
Appearance changes in a pregnant dog often begin in the second trimester. Her belly starts showing signs of pregnancy and weight gain. Nipples along her mammary chain enlarge and may darken, prepping for milk production. Throughout this trimester, her usual exercise and routine remain unchanged.
By days 25–28, a veterinarian can feel the developing embryos and detect their heartbeats using ultrasound. As pregnancy progresses and the uterus fills with fluid, feeling the puppies becomes trickier until nearer to delivery. Anticipate a surge in her appetite as her litter’s speedy growth demands increased nourishment.
Securing her access to plentiful nutrition during these pivotal stages” advises an alternate source. “Choosing high-quality puppy food is vital to fulfilling her heightened nutritional demands throughout the pregnancy and nursing period.
Key Milestones in Canine Fetal Development
Here are some key milestones of the second trimester :
- Day 32: Eyelid formation
- Day 35: Visible toes
- Day 40: Claws develop
- Day 45: Coat and skeleton formation
- Day 50: X-ray reveals litter size
- Day 58: Nesting behavior begins
The Last Trimester
Typically around day 45, the onset of the third trimester marks the period when X-rays (radiographs) start revealing the puppies. Your vet can estimate the litter size and ensure safe passage of the puppies’ heads through the birth canal. This concern is more pronounced in brachycephalic breeds, potentially having narrower birth canals. If the vet deems the puppies too large for a safe natural birth, a cesarean section (C-section) becomes necessary to safely deliver the pups after a gestation
Signs of Imminent Labor in Dogs
- Waist trimming as puppies move into the birth canal
- Appetite loss around day 61 or 62
- Drop in body temperature 12 to 24 hours before labor
- Restless behavior
- Pacing, panting, shivering, or digging
Embracing the Journey: From Pregnancy to Healthy New Beginnings
Dog pregnancies, though brief, pave the way for a delightful litter of joyous, healthy puppies. Equipping yourself with knowledge and diligently providing the right care, from the expectant stage through to nurturing the newborns, ensures these pups begin life with the healthiest start. Embrace this journey, and you’ll witness the miracle of new life flourishing in your care