Whether you're a first-time dog breeder or maybe you suspect your pooch is already pregnant, we are here to help. Here's what you need to know about pregnant dogs.
Is there seriously anything cuter than a puppy? Indeed, puppies are undeniably super cute! I mean, who can resist those precious "puppy eyes"? They are cute enough alone to make us do anything! (And most of the time, we do!)
For the most part, dogs can get pregnant for the first time at just the tender age of 6 months, or when they get their first heat cycle (a.k.a. estrus cycle). That's why, as responsible dog owners, it's important to do any spaying for your female dogs when they reach 6 months of age -- if you don't want a surprise litter of puppies of course!
However, if you are a breeder, you'll want to plan for a dog's pregnancy. So, whether it's your first time with a whelping dog (definition: giving birth in dog terms!) or you've thought about being a breeder in the future and just curious (or maybe you're thinking your pup is "accidentally" pregnant -- hey it happens!), read on for some things about dog gestation periods, and maybe get that whelping box ready!
How Long Are Dogs Pregnant For?
The gestation period for a dog ranges from 57 to 65 days, with the average pregnancy length for most dogs being 63 days, or around nine weeks of pregnancy -- that's only about two months!
A pregnant dog can have an average of five to six number of puppies in a litter give or take, however, this number varies greatly on the dog breed. Luckily, with such a short gestation period, female dogs can be pregnant again not long after, about every six months more or less.
To know roughly when your dog will go into labor, we suggest a Dog Pregnancy Calculator to get a range of due dates!
Signs Your Dog Might Be Pregnant
Since our dogs can't really tell us when they're pregnant and it's not like we can get them a pregnancy test, here are some signs of pregnancy that might indicate the arrival of new puppies. Look out for these few signs of early stages of pregnancy:
• Increase in appetite: if your dog is experiencing rapid changes in appetite, your pooch is likely pregnant. Make sure to give her more dog food than usual to satisfy mama.
• Weight gain: like humans, a pregnant dog will gain weight, especially since they are eating for two! You will notice your dog's belly when it'll eventually "start to show".
• Body changes: along the same lines as weight gain, a sign of a pregnant dog is changes with their nipples -- they will become larger in size and darker in color.
• Morning sickness: also like humans, one of the early signs of telling if a dog is pregnant is if she's vomiting, usually more than usual.
The surefire way to tell if your dog is pregnant is by taking her in for a vet checkup. There are four ways vets use to tell if a dog is pregnant or not. These are hormone tests: vets can test for the Relaxin hormone to determine pregnancy in a dog, testing abdominal palpation, X-rays, and Ultrasounds.
Have you had a pregnant doggo in your house before? Share your story on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!