What Is The Gestation Period In Dogs

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 many months does a dog give birth?

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.

Do dogs carry puppies for two months?

The typical duration of a dog pregnancy is 55 to 65 days, or just over two months. The precise length of time will depend on the dog’s breed, the mother dog’s health, the number of puppies, and many other factors. The ordinary dog is pregnant for slightly over 60 days on average, though there is a risk that the puppies will be born earlier than usual. Dog breeders can keep track of the precise date of mating and then look roughly 60 days into the future on the calendar.

What phases of a dog’s pregnancy are there?

The average gestation period for female dogs (bitches) is 63 days, but there are few exceptions that can range from 56 to 70 days, depending on the precise timing of fertilization relative to mating. This step-by-step manual explains what to anticipate during your dog’s pregnancy and provides you with crucial information and useful recommendations to make things go more smoothly.

There are a few crucial variables to take into account before your bitch is pregnant. Consult your veterinarian before mating your buck about the recommendation that all immunizations be current for the duration of the pregnancy and feeding (lactating) phase. Additionally, you should wait until your bitch is fully grown and mature before letting her have puppies. Most dog breeds advise waiting until the female is at least 2 years old before having a litter of puppies. Additionally, it is not advisable to breed from a female who is too mature. According to many veterinarians, the ideal age for giving birth to a litter is between 2 and 5 years old, but the upper age limit will vary depending on your dog’s breed, reproductive history, and the specific advice of your veterinarian. Before deciding to breed from your pet, you should also speak with your veterinarian, an expert breeder of your breed, or the Kennel Club for guidance on any screening programs or safety precautions that are recommended for your specific breed of dog.


Dogs frequently engage in play during the wooing stage before mating. However, penetration can happen quickly, sometimes in less than a minute. There may be several tries, especially if the partners are inexperienced.

The vaginal reaction that results from the male mounting the bitch and penetrating her traps him until the act of mating is finished. This lock phenomena may seem strange to us, especially if the male executes a 180 degree rotation, and can keep the two canines together for 15 to 30 minutes. It is crucial to avoid attempting to separate them at this time because doing so could result in injury.

It’s possible that the mating took place when the bitch’s fertility was still below its peak, negating the likelihood that fertilization was successful. Fertilization may occur several days after mating since sperm can survive in the uterus for up to seven days. In order to improve the likelihood that a pregnancy will occur, mating is frequently attempted twice, with a two-day gap between each try. Before taking their bitch for mating, some breeders additionally employ a set of progesterone blood tests (which are readily available at most veterinary clinics) to determine the bitch’s ideal window of fertility.

When the female’s ova (eggs) are fertilized by the male spermatozoa, gestation begins (sperm). The first part of a brand-new living thing is a fertilized egg!

Beginning quite high in the uterus, the embryos gradually descend toward the uterine horns towards the end of the first week. They are currently floating around in the uterine fluid.


You can groom your dog as usual once her heat cycle is over. Since the uterus provides adequate protection for the embryos, careful grooming that minimizes stress shouldn’t be a problem.

The objective is to maintain your dog’s ideal weight throughout this initial stage of pregnancy (from mating to about day 35). Gaining weight too soon is not advised for health. The first 42 days should not see more weight increase than 10% of the target weight. The embryos don’t grow much in size at this stage, your dog’s energy needs stay constant, and no dietary changes are necessary unless your veterinarian advises them.

No vitamin or mineral supplements are necessary during pregnancy if the buck is fed a suitable, balanced diet (unless your vet has specifically prescribed otherwise).


The uterine lining absorbs the embryos, where they will later develop. They will gradually become encased in a barrier that supplies them with the nutrients they require.

Confirm gestation (pregnancy)

Visit your veterinarian around day 25 so they can conduct an ultrasound to establish a trustworthy pregnancy diagnosis. This may help you identify any anomalies and give you a general sense of the size of the litter, though it is frequently difficult to determine exact numbers.

Alternately, your veterinarian may perform a blood test to check the level of relaxin, a hormone that is only produced by the placenta, to detect gestation. It is crucial to establish your dog’s pregnancy as soon as possible in order to adequately monitor her status, regardless of the method your veterinarian uses.

Foetal stage

The conclusion of embryogenesis is on day 35. (the first phase of gestation). The embryo is now referred to as a foetus because all of the organs are now starting to mature. The weight of the fetus will increase by about 75% throughout this period (and especially beginning on the 40th day).

The turning point

As your buck enters the third and final stage of gestation on day 42, the speed changes. The fetus is currently growing quickly. The skeleton will start to solidify, claws will start to form, and the fetus will gain weight quickly.

Your dog will now need a food with a higher energy, protein, and mineral content, changing her nutritional needs. Although it would seem counterintuitive, you might notice a decrease in her hunger because she might find it challenging to eat regular meals due to her swollen abdomen. Offering her multiple smaller meals throughout the day rather than two larger ones may also be helpful if you discover she is not eating enough to keep up a healthy weight. Getting her to consume the proper foods is crucial.


The fetus’s first hairs will begin to grow around day 45, and the bones will start to ossify (solidify). Some of the last parts of the body to mature are the coat and bones.

Because they may infect the puppies at birth, parasites are a worry. Therefore, scheduling a worming visit with your veterinarian is imperative. Which medication to utilize will be suggested by the veterinarian.

As soon as you can, begin preparing the area where your bitch will give birth so that you won’t be caught off guard. The location must be peaceful and away from household noise and activity. Remember that the space needs to be maintained warm because infants require it. It must be simple to clean the floor. For a few weeks, the mother and pups will need to use this location far from any noise or activity in order to avoid disturbing nursing.


Ask your veterinarian whether they think an x-ray is essential because the foetus’ skeleton will have ossified by day 50. When it comes to whelping, an x-ray will frequently confirm the quantity of foetuses; this will give you peace of mind that all puppies have been delivered. However, some veterinarians might not think an x-ray is required.

Make sure you have adequate linen on hand to routinely change the bedding in the whelping area. When using linen, it must be entirely dry. Make sure you have an extra heater on hand to give a safe source of warmth that will ensure the puppies are delivered at the right temperature without scorching them or causing drafts. During the first week, the room should preferably be between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius because puppies are unable to control their body temperatures at birth. Maintaining adequate humidity levels is also important.

About a week before whelping, the bitch’s teats start to produce milk. However, this cannot be used to accurately pinpoint the date of whelping.

Although it gives you comfort to know that your dog will be able to feed her puppies, make sure you also have a tub of baby dog milk on hand. This was created specifically to assist you in coping with any feeding issues or a mother’s inability to produce enough milk for you. Read the hygiene tips and directions. If you have to feed the puppies yourself, having milk on hand before they come will make things much simpler for you.

Final countdown

Don’t worry about the bitch’s apparent unease; she will naturally seek out a peaceful area to build her nest. Set up the whelping nest in the chosen location, far from any excitement and in a location that is simple for her to access and become accustomed to resting in, if you haven’t done so before. She would be well-insulated from the floor if a box were lined with several layers of thick newspaper. To make it more pleasant, cover the papers with fresh towels, sheets, or any other material; once the puppies are born, the bedding and liner paper will need to be replaced frequently.

It is advisable to make sure that the bitch’s rear end and her teats are clean and freely accessible so that she can give birth and feed her puppies in the most hygienic conditions possible, unless you think it will put her under too much stress. If she has long hair, round-tipped scissors can be used to delicately trim the area surrounding the vulva and teats.

She should have her temperature taken three times a day to avoid being caught off guard. Given that the temperature normally drops within 48 hours of whelping, a dip of roughly 1C from the average of the previous day is sometimes a clue that labor is about to begin.

Pre-birth checklist

  • The whelping nest is positioned in a peaceful area of the home.
  • The optimal temperature for whelping is not fixed, and different sources advocate different temperatures. For the first 24 hours of life, a minimum room temperature of about 30C is advised, thereafter it drops to about 26C, according to the majority of sources.
  • Just in case, there is a tin of puppy milk on hand.
  • Following whelping, make the bed over with fresh sheets and/or towels.
  • put-away gloves
  • Kitchen towel
  • weighing scales for the puppies.
  • Write down your veterinarian’s phone number.

Whelping (giving birth)

In general, most bitches get along quite well on their own. Your primary responsibility is to give her a calm environment and your company. However, do see your veterinarian for advice in advance if you have any worries.

From a few minutes to several hours, labor might last. Every 15 minutes or so, check on your bitch to make sure everything is okay, being careful not to let her know if you are worried.

If your wife doesn’t rip open the foetal sack herself after the first puppy is delivered, you can do it while wearing disposable gloves over clean hands. The birth of subsequent puppies might happen anywhere between a few minutes and four hours later.

The majority of puppies usually arrive between one and two hours after the last one, though larger variations might happen. Keep in mind that some puppies will naturally be born with their back feet first, which is commonly (but inaccurately) referred to as being in the “breech position” for dogs (this is actually when the bottom is delivered first, with back feet tucked forwards).

It’s usual for your bitch to consume the placenta as soon as it is ejected, so don’t be alarmed.

What to do

  • Regularly assess the status.
  • If the contractions are ineffective or you are concerned, call your veterinarian.
  • A newborn dog can be gently stimulated by being rubbed with a cloth.

What NOT to do

  • Never pull the puppies to aid in their ejection, especially not by the paws, as this could result in severe injury.
  • Never put the puppies in cold water, and do not use water on the puppies during the first few weeks unless your veterinarian advises you to.
  • Never use a hairdryer since the possibility of burns and dehydration is very serious.