How Long is a Dog Pregnant

How long is a dog pregnant? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by pet owners who are faced with first time unplanned pregnancies in dogs. So for all the confused dog owners who are faced with a host of questions about dog pregnancy, here is some information that will help you understand and take stock of the situation
Pregnancy in dogs when planned can signal an exciting time ahead with a litter of cute little pups running around the place. However, unplanned dog pregnancies can be a source of worry for the pet owners who are constantly riddled by questions about dog pregnancy and how long is a dog pregnant before giving birth. Knowing whether your dog is pregnant or not and understanding the dog pregnancy term allows you to take steps for appropriate dog care and provide her with medical care as soon as possible. So if you suspect a pregnancy in your dog, here is some helpful information to help you on your way.

Gestation Period for Dogs: How Long is a Dog Pregnant

The pregnancy period of a bitch lasts for around sixty to sixty four days or approximately nine weeks. This time period may vary based on the dog and the size of her litter. So for dogs which have smaller litters you can expect the deadline to be extended by about a week. In case of a larger litter, the dog may deliver in 58 to 60 days as the pups run out of space. This breeding follows the fertile heat cycles in dogs which lasts for around 22 days. Once the dog is pregnant, she goes through the pregnancy stages which produces certain dog pregnancy signs. Here is a look at some of the common symptoms of a pregnant dog.

Dog Pregnancy Symptoms

Based on the dog pregnancy stages, the symptoms may vary. In the initial month, there are no outward symptoms of pregnancy in dogs. So after two to three days, the eggs are fertilized by the sperms and in around ten days, the eggs get implanted into the uterus lining. It is only after eighteen to nineteen days of the gestation period for dogs that you observe certain reliable symptoms of the pregnancy. Triggered off by the hormonal activity, the symptoms of early pregnancy include:
  • Decrease in appetite (At around 20 to 28 days)
  • Exhaustion
  • Decrease in activity
  • Growth of the nipples
  • Abnormal dog behavior. This may include a seclusion from all attention or need for more attention.
As the pregnancy progresses, the dog may suddenly regain its appetite and there is a significant weight gain as well. At around 25 days, you can feel the heartbeats of the unborn pups. This is accompanied by a definite increase in the size of the abdomen. That also depends on the size of the dog and the litter. A clear vaginal discharge and milk production are some of the significant signs of late dog pregnancy stage. It is also important to keep in mind that the signs of dog pregnancy can be confused with false pregnancies, mammary glands neoplasia, pyometra and mastitis.

Closer to the date of her delivery, you will find the dog all restless as she may go looking for appropriate places to nest. This nesting behavior may lead to your dog scrunching up newspapers, blankets or even tearing up your couch to find a suitable place for giving birth. Twelve hours prior to the delivery there is a drop in the body temperature of the dog from 101 to 98 degrees. This is a signal that the dog pregnancy is nearing its end and you can now enjoy your new batch of adorable puppies.

For diagnosing pregnancy in dogs, the veterinarian may recommend abdominal x-rays, ultrasounds and a complete physical examination. Most vets can tell a dog is around 30 days pregnant by feeling the dog's abdomen for uterine swelling for firm and discrete lumps. This can be difficult to diagnose if the dog is tense or overweight. Once you have understood as to how long is a dog pregnant, please consult a veterinarian for instructions on proper care of your pregnant dog.
By Parul Solanki
Published: 1/5/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats