How long do dog pregnancies last?

How many months is the dog pregnant? Many readers will undoubtedly be interested in this query. Everything you need to know about puppy pregnancy is outlined in this article from

The Reproductive Cycle in Dogs

You must first comprehend the dog reproductive cycle in order to answer the question “how long are dogs pregnant.” Intact female dogs go into heat every six months on average, however this might vary depending on the breed. The heat cycle is divided into four parts and lasts 18 to 21 days. These phases are used by breeders to decide when the optimal time is to breed their dogs.

The reproductive cycle of a female dog has four stages:

  1. Proestrus
  2. Estrus
  3. Diestrus
  4. Anestrus

Proestrus is the earliest stage of the reproductive cycle, lasting around 9 days. Females begin to attract males at this stage, albeit they will reject their approaches until stage two. The following are indications of proestrus:

  • Vulva swelling is a condition in which the vulva swells up.
  • a gushing of blood

Estrus may persist anywhere from three to eleven days. When the bitch is receptive to the male, this is the time. During proestrus and estrus, many breeders have a veterinarian conduct vaginal smears and blood tests to ensure they breed their dogs at the best moment. The following are indications of proestrus:

  • A vulva that is soft and enlarging.
  • The color of the discharge lightens and diminishes.

Diestrus is the cycle’s last stage. It usually happens on day 14. The bitch’s discharge gets redder and lessens throughout diestrus, the vulva recovers to normal, and she refuses to allow mating. When there are no symptoms of swelling or discharge, the heat is complete. Anestrus is the period of time between one heat cycle and the next, and it normally lasts around six months.

Understanding the heat cycle is crucial in calculating how long a pregnancy will last. By keeping track of their bitch’s heat cycle and breeding season, breeders may determine conception dates, making it simpler for vets to precisely test for pregnancy.

How to Tell if a Dog Is Pregnant

Instant pregnancy tests have been produced by humans, making it simple to identify whether or not we are pregnant. Our pets, on the other hand, do not have it as easy. Whether you want to know if your dog is pregnant, you should go to your veterinarian.

If at all feasible, inform your veterinarian when your dog was bred, or provide your best estimate, since all pregnancy testing procedures for dogs are time sensitive.

Veterinarians may use one of four procedures to detect whether a dog is pregnant:

  1. Tests for hormones
  2. Palpation
  3. X-ray
  4. Ultrasound

Hormone Tests

If a bitch is pregnant, veterinarians may test for the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is only produced in placental tissue during pregnancy, making it a very reliable diagnostic tool. The bitch must, however, be at least 30 days pregnant for the test to be accurate. Tests performed prior to that may result in a false negative.


Palpation is the simplest and most cost-effective method of detecting pregnancy. The membranes that surround each fetus swell to create fluid-filled sacs as they mature. Between days 21 and 35 of pregnancy (about three to four weeks), these sacs may be felt and expand to about the size of a table tennis ball in a 45-pound dog. The sacs lose their characteristic structure after one month, and the uterus has a floppy feel that might be mistaken for fat or a pyometra.


Breeders may use an x-ray to figure out how many pups their bitch will produce. Because the fetal skull and spine aren’t visible on an x-ray until days 42 through 45, x-rays are most useful later in pregnancy. Veterinarians can accurately measure the number of anticipated pups and decide the optimal time for an elective cesarean birth by waiting until after day 55.


An ultrasound is the most accurate approach to determine whether a dog is pregnant early in the pregnancy. Ultrasounds are recommended between days 25 and 35 of pregnancy by veterinarians. Ultrasounds can not only identify pregnancy, but they can also tell whether the baby is alive by detecting fetal heartbeats. Ultrasounds may also be performed to rule out other causes of uterine distension, such as a pyometra, as well as to determine the baby’ gestational age.

Gestation Period: How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

Dogs typically have a gestation length of around 63 days after conception, however this might vary by few days. While this may seem to be a simple response, conception is frequently difficult to establish. Because sperm may linger for many days within the female and eggs can be viable for up to 48 hours, mating isn’t a perfect assessment of gestation. This makes predicting the duration of a pregnancy without the help of a veterinarian difficult.

Hormone measurements provide a considerably more precise gestation time period. During the breeding phase, several breeders utilize vaginal swabs and blood tests to check reproductive hormones. This information aids them in determining the optimal time to breed their bitch, as well as the duration of gestation and possible delivery date.

Length of pregnancy based on reliable hormone measurements:

  • From the first day of diestrus, 56-58 days had passed.
  • After the initial surge in progesterone, it takes 64-66 days for the levels to drop.
  • 58-72 days after the bitch first permitted breeding

In comparison to humans, a dog’s pregnancy lasts just around 9 weeks, and every day counts. The gestation time is vital for the health of the pregnant buck and her babies, and it is used to track diet and medical treatment throughout pregnancy.

Stages of Dog Pregnancy

Dogs go fast through the phases of pregnancy. Dogs have very short gestation periods, which implies that the puppies grow swiftly within the womb during a two-to-three-month period.

Month One

The embryos move to the uterine horns during the first month, generally around day 7, and are lodged in the uterine lining around day 16. By day 22, the baby is starting to take form, and a veterinarian should be able to identify fetal heartbeats on an ultrasound by day 28 or 30.

During the first three weeks of their pregnancy, many dogs exhibit no signs of being pregnant. During the first month, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Appetite increase
  • Nipples that are somewhat larger
  • An increase in loving behavior
  • Vaginal discharge that is clear (around week four)
  • Physical activity has decreased.
  • “Morning sickness” is a term used to describe a condition that occurs in the

Month Two

During the second month, fetal development accelerates. By day 32, eyelids have formed and toes are visible. By day 40, the claws have formed, and the coat and skeleton have formed a few days later (day 45). An x-ray will disclose the number of pups in the litter by day 50, and around day 58, the bitch will begin hunting for a spot to nest.

During the second month, the signs of pregnancy in the bitch become even more obvious:

  • An increase in appetite is seen.
  • Gaining 20 to 50 percent of one’s body weight
  • Urination is becoming more frequent.
  • Changes in behavior
  • Vaginal discharge that is clear and odorless
  • Abdomen enlargement and firmness (days 45 to 50)
  • Appetite decreases (day 45)
  • Puppy movement may be seen in the abdomen (day 50)

Month Three

By the third month, the bitch is ready to give birth. Around day 58, puppy development is about complete, which means the pups will begin to shift into whelping position in the birth canal during the bitch’s pregnancy’s last days.

Symptoms in dogs during the latter days of pregnancy include:

  • As the pups go down the delivery canal, the waist will be trimmed.
  • Around day 61 or 62, you’ll notice a decrease in your appetite.
  • Body temperature drops 12 to 24 hours before delivery.
  • Unstable behavior
  • Pacing, panting, shivering, or digging are all examples of physical activity.

How Long Are Dogs in Labor?

Labor starts when the gestation period has ended. Labor is divided into three phases.

Stage One

The first lasts 12 to 24 hours and is usually undetectable. The intensity and frequency of contractions in the muscular wall of the uterus increase during stage one, although there are no visible contractions. Instead, keep an eye out for the following signs of dog labor:

  • A shift in attitude and conduct
  • Restlessness
  • Isolationist behavior
  • Nesting is done on a regular basis.
  • Refusing to consume food
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Vaginal discharge that is clear

Stage Two

During the second stage, puppies are born. Bitches birth one puppy at a time during this period, which may take anywhere from one to twenty-four hours. Each delivery should take no more than one to two hours and should happen every 30 to 60 minutes, which is why knowing the total number of pups anticipated is useful. Owners will know when the bitch has completed stage two and may contact a veterinarian if they believe their dog is in distress.

Stage Three

In stage three, the placenta is delivered. Stages two and three occur at around the same time, with stage three ending when all of the placentas have been delivered. This generally happens soon after stage two is completed.

If your dog’s labor lasts more than 24 hours or if there are more than 2 hours between babies, you should call your veterinarian. This might indicate a significant problem, putting the lives of both the bitch and the unborn pups at jeopardy.

Taking the Next Step

How long does it take for a dog to get pregnant? Just long enough to produce a litter of happy, healthy pups. You’ll be giving those pups the best start possible if you educate yourself and follow through with correct food and care for your pregnant dog, as well as proper newborn puppy care.

The information provided above covers the entire pregnancy process, including timing and how to set up a pregnant mother dog. With any luck, the information above will provide you more insight into how to raise your pregnant puppies.

Michael Hogan

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