What Is The Gestation Period For Dogs To Have Puppies

Dogs typically gestate for about 63 days after conception, though this might vary by several days. Although it would seem like a simple response, it can be challenging to pinpoint conception. The act of mating alone is not a precise gauge of gestation since sperm can survive for many days inside the female and eggs can stay viable for up to 48 hours. Because of this, estimating the duration of pregnancy without a veterinarian’s help can be challenging.

Hormone measurements provide a considerably more precise gestational time estimate. Blood tests and vaginal swabs are frequently used by breeders to track the levels of reproductive hormones during breeding. They can use this information to estimate the gestation period and prospective delivery date, as well as the ideal time to breed their bitch.

Gestational period as determined by precise hormone measurements:

  • 56–58 days have passed since the start of diestrus.
  • 64–66 days after the progesterone level first began to rise
  • 58–72 days after the bitch’s first permitted breeding

In contrast to human pregnancy, a dog’s pregnancy lasts only around 9 weeks, thus every day counts. In order to monitor nutrition and veterinary treatment during pregnancy and to ensure the health of the pregnant bitch and the puppies, it is crucial to know how long the gestation period is.

How long does a dog stay pregnant before giving birth to puppies?

Dog gestation periods, usually known as pregnancies, typically last 57 to 65 days on average.

You should keep a note of the exact day of mating when breeding is planned. If there are two matings, note the dates and anticipate giving birth 63 to 65 days after the second mating.

Immediately after my female dog has been mated, is there anything I should do?

Make sure she doesn’t get a chance to breed with any other dogs. Remember that she will be in estrus, or “heat,” for a few more days, during which time she may possibly become pregnant from another dog. It is advisable to give her a few hours to rest peacefully after a prearranged mating.

Should I change her food?

Before being mated, it’s crucial that she be in good physical shape. Prior to mating, a veterinarian should inspect both the male and female dogs.

Before giving your dog any vitamins or dietary supplements, talk to your vet.

Food consumption should not change following mating during the first two thirds of pregnancy (approximately six weeks after mating). During pregnancy, be careful to feed your dog a premium, high-quality meal that has been authorized by your veterinarian. Before giving your dog any vitamins or dietary supplements, talk to your vet. It is advised to feed your dog a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) both during milk production and while she is pregnant to aid in the growth of the youngster in utero.

What do I do after the sixth week?

Your dog should progressively increase her food consumption after the sixth week of pregnancy; high energy, low fiber meals are advised. Abdominal pressure rises as the fetuses grow, therefore it’s best to eat little and often. Puppies’ health and development have been demonstrated to be improved by diets rich in the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), hence such diets should be taken into consideration. Consult your veterinarian about feeding your pregnant dog a DHA-supplemented diet.

Your dog’s food consumption during the final three weeks of pregnancy should be increased by up to 1.5 times the average level by giving smaller meals more often.

What about medications that my dog takes?

While your dog is pregnant, you should avoid giving her some popular drugs. To discuss the usage of any vitamins or drugs, contact your veterinarian.

How can I be certain my dog is pregnant?

Dog early pregnancy detection can be very challenging. By detecting the hormone relaxin, a blood test can identify pregnant dogs; however, if the test is conducted too early in the pregnancy or if the dog is only carrying one or two puppies, false negative results may result (see handout “Pregnancy Testing in the Dog”). A positive test results in the dog being pregnant at the time of the test but does not guarantee a healthy pregnancy. At around three to four weeks after mating, a veterinarian can do a trans-abdominal palpation (feeling the abdomen for an enlarged uterus or for individual fetal swellings), but the outcomes can be unpredictable. Results may depend more on the female dog’s level of calmness than on the veterinarian’s skill.

“At the moment, abdominal ultrasonography is the preferred technique for detecting pregnancy.”

At this time, the preferred technique for detecting pregnancy is abdominal ultrasonography. A conclusive diagnosis can be made as early as three weeks depending on the patient and the available technology. After day 28 of pregnancy, the majority of scans are accurate. It might be challenging to accurately determine the number of babies on an ultrasound due to location within the abdomen. The best way to determine the size of a litter is to take an abdominal radiograph (X-ray) during the last two weeks of pregnancy, usually around week seven. This procedure should be done on all pregnant dogs so that you will know when your female has finished giving birth to puppies.

Should I change her routine as pregnancy advances?

Intra-abdominal pressure rises during pregnancy, which also causes the mother’s nutritional needs to rise. Instead of eating more at each meal, the dog typically has to eat more frequent, smaller meals. Allow your pet to choose how much exercise she requires. This depends on how many puppies she has and how much abdominal strain she is feeling. Never overwork a pregnant woman. If you notice any vaginal fluids, check for them and call your veterinarian.

Does a dog give birth to puppies after nine months?

It’s preferable to wait until your dog is in the second or third cycle before breeding her. Depending on the dog, this can mean very different things. It’s not necessarily best for the dog, even though most dogs can become pregnant between six and twelve months. Before becoming pregnant and reproducing, the dog must be fully grown as it may cause certain behavioral or physical issues. Your dog should be given the opportunity to mature. It also helps to know what kinds of inherited or genetic problems your dog has, however you won’t know this for a while unless you take your dog to the vet on a regular basis.

Getting Pet Care in Tyler, TX

The best course of action is to consult a Tyler, Texas, veterinarian before your dog becomes pregnant. More information regarding your dog’s cycles and the ideal age for your particular breed will be provided by our doctors. Your dog can receive the greatest prenatal care if you and your vet have a good working relationship. Call Shelley Drive Animal Clinic at (903) 561-7373 right away to find out more.

How soon following mating can a dog be identified as pregnant?

  • Around a month after mating, a little mucus discharge could appear.
  • Around 30 days after mating, her teats could change in size and color, and you might notice that they secrete a semi-clear fluid.
  • In the early stages of pregnancy, your dog can vomit a bit, similar to how we experience “morning sickness.” Talk to your vet if this persists or if you have any concerns.
  • Beginning about day 35 of her pregnancy, she will begin to gain weight, which might be up to 50% above usual.
  • Though first-time mothers and chums carrying a tiny litter might not show as much, you should be able to see her distended belly around day 40.
  • She might behave a little more subtly than normal or lose some appetite. If you’re worried, go to your veterinarian because these symptoms could also be a sign of a disease.
  • In the second half of pregnancy, your pregnant dog’s hunger may grow, so be ready to adjust her diet accordingly.

Dogs can have puppies up until 63 days old.

Even while the majority of dogs can give birth on their own without the help of humans or veterinarians, occasionally medical intervention is necessary. It’s crucial to keep a close eye on your pet while she gives birth and to seek veterinarian care if you have any concerns.

How will I know that she is starting?

The female frequently stops feeding (although not always) and her rectal temperature frequently falls below 100.5F when whelping or birth is about to occur (38.1C). The woman will frequently enter a quiet area or a corner and begin scratching to build her bed. Given that this is the first stage of labor, when the delivery canal begins to enlarge, you may want to let your veterinarian know if you observe any of these symptoms.

When the female begins to forcefully contract her uterus, second stage labor begins. Gradually increasing in strength, frequency, and duration, these contractions begin. It’s critical to call your veterinarian if strong contractions have continued for 20 to 30 minutes without a puppy being born.

Additionally, you ought to get in touch with your vet if any of the following occur:

1. A puppy or a bubble packed with fluid that is caught in the delivery canal causes the mother to strain for eight to ten minutes.

2. The mother’s rectal temperature is over 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.5C)

3. You notice prolonged new vaginal bleeding that lasts longer than ten minutes.

4. There are no puppies being born, but you notice a green discharge coming from the vagina.

Are puppies, like babies, sometimes born prematurely?

Dogs can give birth prematurely, but it is not as common as you might expect. These allegedly preterm births are frequently the result of a mistaken recording of the mating dates or an incorrect computation of the gestation period, which is typically sixty-three (63) days.

How can I tell if the pups are premature?

Puppies that are truly preterm may be tiny, skinny, and hairless. Premature babies are frequently rejected by their mothers, and these puppies soon die from hypothermia (low body temperature). Although they can’t suckle, they need a lot of care to survive, and they frequently need to be fed by hand. They occasionally need to be fed through a stomach tube (called gavage feeding). Your veterinarian will instruct you on how to do this if necessary.

Colostrum, which is high in antibodies and aids in the prevention of infection in newborn puppies, should be given to the puppies.

Make sure that all premature puppies get some of the mother’s initial milk or colostrum, which is full of antibodies and helps to protect the newborn puppies from infection, if at all feasible.

What else should I know about caring for premature puppies?

As dangerous as cold or hypothermia can be excessive heat (hyperthermia). The box must be big enough for the puppies to walk away from a heat source if necessary, and the surroundings around them must maintain a temperature of about 90F (30C).

If the puppies are being nurtured separately from their mother, they must be kept in a humid environment. Typically, the mother licks and grooms the puppies often. As a result, the environment is not only warm, but also moist. If you are raising orphaned puppies, you can create a moist environment by putting warm, damp cloths in the box next to the puppies.

How long will I have to hand raise premature puppies?

Your veterinarian will demonstrate how to hold the puppies on to the mother’s teats if they are able to suckle. If this doesn’t work, your veterinarian can offer you advice on appropriate puppy bottles and milk replacement formulations. The mother can take over looking after the puppies once they are stronger and have learned how to properly nurse.

“Hand-raising puppies is really difficult, and many puppies don’t make it.”

Hand-raising puppies is incredibly difficult, and despite your best efforts, many puppies do not survive. However, if the puppies survive, it can be rewarding.

Are some of the puppies likely to be stillborn or die shortly after birth?

It is common for some of the children to be stillborn or to pass away soon after delivery in animals with several litters, such as dogs and cats. A stillborn dog can occasionally cause dystocia or another childbirth issue by interfering with labor. In other cases, a healthy puppy may be delivered.

Without a thorough post mortem examination (necropsy or autopsy), which includes bacteriological cultures and submission of tissues to a histopathologist, it is frequently impossible to determine the cause of these newborn fatalities. There are some preventable newborn mortality causes. Any issues with your pet’s pregnancy or whelping should be brought up with your veterinarian.

I am told that with some breeds Caesarean sections are more common than a normal delivery. Is this true?

Unfortunately, it appears that some breeds are more likely to experience dystocia—a difficult birth—which necessitates a Caesarean section (C-section) operation.

Birthing issues are more common in breeds with large heads or flat features.

Breeds with broad, broad heads or flat features frequently experience birthing issues. It might be challenging to time a C-section correctly in dogs. If surgery is started too soon, the puppies can be preterm, and if it is delayed too much, the puppies might die. You should have a thorough and open discussion with your veterinarian about the relative advantages and disadvantages of this operation.

How can I tell how many weeks my dog has left?

To detect whether a bitch is pregnant, veterinarians can do a test for the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is a fairly accurate diagnostic test because it is only secreted from placental tissue during pregnancy. For the test to be accurate, the bitch must be at least 30 days along in her pregnancy. Prior tests might have returned a false negative.


The simplest and most affordable method of determining pregnancy is by palpation. The membranes surrounding each fetus expand to form fluid-filled sacs as it grows. Between days 21 and 35 of gestation, or roughly three to four weeks, these sacs can be felt. In a 45-pound dog, they can reach a size of about a table tennis ball. The sacs lose their characteristic structure after a month, and the uterus starts to feel floppy and can be mistaken for fat or a pyometra.


Breeders can estimate how many puppies their heifer will produce by using an x-ray. Because the fetal skull and spine are not visible on an x-ray until days 42 through 45 of pregnancy, X-rays are most useful later in the pregnancy. By delaying until after day 55, veterinarians may accurately estimate the expected number of puppies and choose the ideal time for an elective cesarean section.


Early in the gestation period, an ultrasound is the greatest tool for determining whether a dog is pregnant. Between days 25 and 35 of pregnancy, veterinarians advise ultrasounds. By detecting fetal heartbeats, ultrasounds not only reveal whether a pregnancy is present but also whether the fetus is alive. Additionally, ultrasounds can be used to rule out additional uterine distension reasons, such as a pyometra, and to determine the gestational age of the fetus.