Pregnancy in Dogs | How Long are Dogs Pregnant?

Pregnancy in dogs is short compared to humans. It lasts about 9 weeks in total. Understanding how the body of a dog works will help you know how long a dog’s pregnancy will take.

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What You Need To Know About The Reproductive Cycle in Dogs

pregnancy in dogs

Dogs have a very small reproductive cycle which affects how long they get to carry the pregnancy. Active bitches go into heat every six months and this lasts for 18-to-21 days spread across four distinct stages;

  • Proestrus
  • Estrus
  • Diestrus
  • Anestrus

Proestrus is the first stage characterized by swelling of the vulva and bloody discharge and lasts for a period of 9 days.

Estrus which is the second stage is characterized by a soft and enlarged vulva and decreased light discharge and this lasts for 3-to-4 days to 7-to-11 days. 

The third stage is the diestrus which is assumably the final stage of the cycle that occurs around day 14. The discharge becomes redder and the vulva returns to normal. The actual final stage is the Anestrus which lasts for 6 months and is characterized by no swelling and discharges.

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How Do I Know If My Dog Is Pregnant?

It is not easy to know when your dog is pregnant. Sometimes you may have to take her to a doctor before you can be able to tell explicitly that your bitch is pregnant.

Vets can tell through four ways that your dog is pregnant;

  • X-ray
  • Palpation
  • Ultrasound
  • Hormone tests

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How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

Dogs stay pregnant approximately 63 days from the day of conception. Here is what the gestation length according to accurate hormone measurements is like in dogs;

  • 56-58 days from the first day of diestrus
  • 64-66 days from the initial rise in progesterone
  • 58-72 days from the first time the bitch allowed breeding

What Are The Stages of Dog Pregnancy?

The two-to-three month’s dogs stay pregnant is characterized by 3 stages;

Stage 1

Stage one lasts for one month but the embryos are embedded in the uterine lining around day 16. By day 22, the fetus begins to take shape and by day 28 or 30 a veterinarian should be able to detect fetal heartbeats on an ultrasound.

During this stage, the dogs start showing the following signs;

  • Morning sickness
  • Increased appetite
  • Slightly enlarged nipples
  • More affectionate behavior
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Clear vaginal discharge (around week four)

Stage 2

The fetal eyelids form by day 32 and toes become visible by day 35. Claws show by day 40, and the coat and skeleton form by day 45. By day 50, you can count the number of litter on an x-ray  place to nest at day 58.

During this stage of pregnancy, the dogs start showing the following signs;

  • Increased urination
  • Behavioral changes
  • Decreased appetite (day 45)
  • Noticeably increased appetite
  • Weight gain of 20-to-50 percent
  • Clear, odorless vaginal discharge
  • Enlarged, firm abdomen (days 45 to 50)
  • Visible puppy movement in abdomen (day 50)

Stage 3

By the 3rd stage which is the month of birth, puppy development is complete.

During this stage of pregnancy, the dogs start showing the following signs;

  • Restless behavior
  • Appetite loss around day 61 or 62
  • Pacing, panting, shivering, or digging
  • The waist will trim as puppies move into the birth canal
  • Drop in body temperature 12-to-24 hours before labor

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How Long Do Dogs Stay In Labor?

Dog labor lasts for three stages, stage one lasts between 12-24 hours, stage two lasts 1-24 hours, and stage 3 is where the dog releases the placenta.

On a general note, dog labor is not supposed to take more than 24 hours or more than 2 hours between puppies.

What Should I Do After My Dog Gives Birth?

After the birthing process, clean up the new mom using warm water and a washcloth. No soaps or disinfectants. Also, remove any soiled newspaper or bedding from her whelping box.

What Happens If A Dog Gets Pregnant By Her Brother?

When dogs from the same mom have intercourse, there’s a high chance that female dogs will not deliver healthy babies. This is so because inbreeding results in spontaneous miscarriages and uterine complications. 

How Long Is A First-Time Dog Pregnant?

First pregnancy in dogs lasts for 9 weeks, the same as other pregnancies.

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Dogs stay pregnant approximately 63 days from the day of conception which is 9 weeks or 3 months. 


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