It’s exciting to wait for a litter of puppies to be born, but if you are a first-time dog owner, you may be wondering exactly how long you have to wait. Maybe you don’t own a pregnant dog but are waiting for the arrival of a litter because you’ve reserved a puppy from a breeder. The pregnancy, or gestation period, of a dog is actually quite short! We don’t have to wait long for puppies to arrive.
The pregnancy of a dog lasts about 9 weeks. Female dogs can be pregnant anywhere from 58–67 days. The average number of days that a dog is pregnant is 63.
Let’s find out more about dog pregnancies.
What’s My Dog’s Due Date?
If you’d like to figure out exactly when you should be getting the birth announcements ready, you can try to estimate the due date yourself. If you know the date that your dog was bred, you can simply count 63 days ahead of that on the calendar. Since dogs can be pregnant anywhere from 58 to 67 days, you know that she’s going to deliver either on day 63 or a few days before or after that date.
If you don’t know your dog’s due date, you’ll have to visit a vet to not only confirm that your dog is pregnant but also determine the due date. The vet can perform an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy, count the puppies, and estimate when the dog will deliver them. An ultrasound can detect puppies as soon as 20 days after breeding but waiting until 30 days after will give the vet a better view of what’s happening. This is also when the vet will be able to determine fetal heartbeats.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Pregnant?
Some dogs don’t show any symptoms until they are over 21 days pregnant, so it can be hard to tell. You’ll start to notice an increased appetite, enlarged nipples, decreased activity, and possible morning sickness in your dog.
The signs of pregnancy become much more obvious after day 30. You’ll notice weight gain, a larger increase in appetite, increased urination, and clear vaginal discharge.
During the last few days of her pregnancy, the mother dog will start to become restless. She may lose her appetite completely a couple of days before she delivers. As the puppies move into the birth canal in preparation, there will be a noticeable shift in the mother’s waistline. It will appear to slim down.
She may pant, shiver, or dig. This is a time when she’ll be nesting or preparing a spot to deliver her puppies. She’s trying to make a safe area to deliver and nurse them. This can include dragging blankets around, balling them up, burrowing, and shredding blankets to try to stuff them into a small space.
You can make a whelping box for her so she has a place to go already and can focus on resting and saving her energy.
You won’t have to wait long for puppies to be born! Once a dog becomes pregnant, she will deliver her puppies, on average, 63 days later. This time frame can even be shorter, ranging from 58 to 67 days. Delivering her puppies anywhere within that period is normal. Anything earlier or later means you should consult your vet for instructions.
You can start to notice that a dog is pregnant in her second month of pregnancy. She will exhibit various signs of this. Once you know that your dog is pregnant, you can try to determine the due date yourself. If you don’t know the exact date of conception, bring your dog to the vet for a checkup and ultrasound so they can determine the due date and instruct you on your dog’s proper care during this time.
Featured Photo Courtesy: Shutterstock