Dog Pregnancy Calendar
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Your Dog Is Expecting Pups, Now What?
Getting a litter of new puppies can be one of the most exciting things that a dog owner can experience.
The good news is that dogs tend to be pretty self-sufficient and have plenty of built-in instincts to handle a pregnancy on their own.
However, to keep your dog as comfortable as possible and ensure the safety and health of the puppies, there are several things steps you should take to make the pregnancy go as smoothly as possible.
- Don’t know when the due date is? Find out by using our Dog Pregnancy Calculator!
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a stressful thing if you know how to prepare and how to handle emergencies.
To start, let’s breakdown a dog’s pregnancy timeline.
The Canine Pregnancy Timeline
While a human’s pregnancy lasts nine months, a dog’s only goes on for about nine weeks!
However, like people, this is only an average, and your new puppies may arrive in as little as 56 days or up to 70 days.
Consequently, if your dog goes into labor earlier than 8 weeks or hasn’t given birth by 10 weeks, you’re going to want to contact an emergency veterinarian.
If you are currently unsure if your dog is pregnant then read through these signs of dog pregnancy first.
After mating, several eggs will be fertilized high up in the uterus and slowly travel down until implanting on the uterine wall by the end of the first week.
This does produce a series of hormonal changes in your dog, but since this is so early in development, there won’t be any noticeable physical changes.
Your dog shouldn’t exhibit any strange behaviors if everything is in order.
At this point, you can continue to feed your dog and play with them regularly.
The developing embryos don’t need too many extra calories to grow, so there is no need to modify your dog’s diet.
However, to reduce stress, we recommend carefully grooming your dog.
Be sure to monitor your dog’s weight carefully.
From this point until about day 35 or the end of week 5, your dog’s weight should stay the same.
If her weight begins to drop, the puppies may be at risk. You should seek out veterinary care as soon as possible.
The puppies at this stage are covered in a protective membrane that supplies them with nutrients.
However, there still won’t be any noticeable changes in your dog’s appearance.
So, there is still no need to change your dog’s routine or activities.
That said, she may start to have a bigger appetite so a little more food won’t hurt.
This is the stage where you should take your dog to the vet, even if she looks completely fine.
By the middle of this week, or day 25, a vet can do an ultrasound so you can find out how many puppies to expect.
In addition to getting an idea of the health of the pups, the vet can spot any noteworthy developmental abnormalities.
By this point, the puppies have ended embryogenesis, and distinct organs have begun to form.
For this reason, the puppy fetuses will begin to gain weight quickly.
Consequently, by the end of this stage of the pregnancy, your dog should start to put on considerable weight as well.
To address this, you should feed your dog more, though we suggest consulting your vet to get an exact amount.
Amazon is a great resource for ordering food specifically for pregnant dogs.
Your vet will help you or may even sell you food that they recommend. Depending on your dog’s current diet you might need to change what you have been feeding them for the remainder of their pregnancy.
For the next 4 weeks plan on feeding your dog more than their usual amount of food.
Don’t Forget The Puppy Pregnancy Food!
These are some of the recommended foods for pregnant and nursing dogs.
Don’t forget that when your pup delivers she will also be nursing them as they grow bigger.
Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food
One of the top dry foods you can give your pregnant dog is “Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets” dry dog food. If you were to change your diet completely you would want to do it little by little, thus limiting the chances of having an allergy or intolerance problem. If you have ever changed your dogs diet and they got sick, it could very well have been an ingredient in whatever food you changed to. This food is also a high source of protein and carbohydrate that your pregnant dog will need during and after pregnancy.
During week 5 or even before, you can start changing your dogs diet by adding one of these types of dry food.
Just keep in mind that your dog will start to eat more once they reach this state.
At this point in the pregnancy, your dog’s puppies will develop even more distinct organs and tissues – including claws!
To provide enough nutrients to your puppies and the mother, you’re going to want to change your dog’s diet.
This is particularly important since some dogs actually seem to have a decrease in appetite due to the discomfort caused by the pregnancy.
To prevent your dog and her puppies from suffering a nutrient and calorie deficiency, we recommend feeding her a high-energy, high-nutrition dog food formulated for pregnant dogs.
To make the transition easier, you should mix the new formula with the old dog food incrementally over the course of the week.
About 40 to 49 days into the pregnancy, the puppies have developed hair, but the coat has yet to develop fully.
Their bones are not fully solidified but have begun to take shape.
To protect them from parasites, you should make sure that your dog has received worm treatment.
To ensure your dog is comfortable giving birth, you should set up a clean, safe space away from foot traffic and noise.
This will be your dog’s nursery to give birth in a few weeks.
By week 8, the puppies’ skeletons have solidified, and in preparation for the litter, your dog’s teats will begin to swell with milk.
To keep her comfortable and make the birthing and nursing process easier, you might want to trim the hair around your dog’s vulva and nipples.
You may want to get an x-ray to be sure of how many puppies you should expect.
Preparing Yourself For Delivery
If this is your first time having puppies, you might be a little stressed.
Not knowing what to expect or how to deliver your new puppies adds to that stress.
Depending on where your dog is at in her pregnancy, you might want to look into getting a whelping box.
Preparing for Delivery and the Unexpected
By week nine, the puppies can arrive any day.
You should triple check to make sure the birthing area is ready and that the location is fairly warm.
The room’s temperature should be around 86 degrees Fahrenheit during the first 24 hours after birth to prevent the newly born puppies from getting too cold.
After that, reduce the temperate to 77° F to make your dog comfortable but still keep the puppies warm.
In the days before she goes into labor and while she’s in the middle of giving birth, keep your dog as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
As we brought up earlier, her natural instincts have prepared her for the pregnancy and labor.
Labor times vary and can be as quick as a few minutes or last for several hours.
When the first puppy is delivered, the mother will likely tear open the fetal sack, though you can if she does not.
However, you should not try to pull the puppies free during delivery as this can cause harm to the puppies and the mom.
Litter sizes vary, but most dogs carry and give birth to 5 to 6 puppies.
Smaller breeds may only give birth to 3 to 4 puppies.
Larger breeds, like Labradors, often give birth to 7 to 8 puppies.
Once the puppies have been delivered, your dog may eat the placenta, but if she does not, you can discard it like you would any other form of organic waste.
And to make her recovery easier, you can help by gently rubbing the puppies dry with a clean, dry towel and place them near a nipple.
Revival Animal Health Breeder’s Edge Oxy Momma – Nursing & Recovery Supplement
Of course, if you have any questions or experience any issues, be sure to consult your vet immediately.
Leslie Brooks graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After graduation she moved to Indianapolis to do an intensive one-year internship at a specialty practice and then began working as a small animal general practitioner. She ran her own house call practice for three years, visiting pets in people’s homes. Currently, she works part time in clinical practice and volunteering her free time to serve pets of the homeless. Read more about us here.
I have been reading the comments. I have had dogs all my life but this is the first time i have had a pregnant dog. Her pregnancy was only confirmed on 23 July, but from the time I made the appointment and the date of the actual, it was very obvious. In the space of a week she grew very quickly. The vet said she is at roughly 41 days. She did have her scan and was told there is at least three but he can’t make out the rest so there is more. My dog is a 2 year old Shih Tzu, and the father is 2 year old shih tzu also that i own. They are treated better than the kids 🙂 but this is her first time, and our first time. I have switched her food to wet puppy food with a high quality mother and puppy food (I have to grind it to a powder and mix with her wet). I ordered a whelping kit also, so I have the stuff if required. Just afraid that things might go wrong on the day. She is fit and healthy but she is just tiny.
Hi Stephen, sounds like an exciting time! Don’t be scared. Dogs have been procreating for a long long time 🙂 We know someone who has a Maltese (small dog). She had mated and they thought she wasn’t pregnant as the normal signs of pregnancy didn’t start showing up until about 2 weeks from delivery. Its not uncommon for signs to show up right towards the end. You also got the scan done so you know what to expect at delivery. Not only that but you also have a whelping kit so it sounds like you are prepared!
Hi my Jack Russell is ready in next few days to give birth, I have everything ready but my concern is the amount she will have. In her last litter she had ten which was a shock, she seems bigger this time so I am worried she won’t cope. I have taken her to the vets twice for a scan and all they say is there are 6 plus? She had low Calcium last time and was ill but I have all the tablets etc from the vets which I have been giving her from day 48 but fretting if she has to many and won’t cope?
Hi Tracey, sounds like you are doing everything you can do and have done. It is always best to go to your local vet for any checkup since they know you, know your pet and can be hands on. You also mentioned having the scan done, which is also great. Now you know what to expect, at least 6 pups. I would not stress or worry too much and don’t want to stress your dog out as well. Just let her do her thing and keep calm and have a relaxed environment.
Hi I have a question, my husky is going to be a first time mom and I’m nervous on her delivery. I’m afraid that the pups will get stuck, do huskys normally do well with giving birth?
Hi Vicente! First of all, congrats to the soon to be mom! Your best option is always to call your local vet if you have any questions regarding the health and well-being of your husky. In general Huskys tend to do well with giving birth. When the time comes let your Husky have the space she wants. Don’t try to ‘intervene’ with the delivery. In most cases you will be a support, watching her and making sure she is doing well. Your vet can give you tips and help if you need it. Just keep in mind that the natural instinct of your Husky will kick in and she will do most of the work with delivery and care of the new puppies. Your job is to provide a clean, quiet area, with food and water if she wants it.
My English Bulldog Faith had her first AI done on March 15. We are going for ultrasound this week. Extremely excited.
That is awesome. Exciting news indeed! Hopefully our dog pregnancy calendar can help you keep track of her progress! Let us know when she delivers.
Loved this page. It is cute to follow and see how the puppies are developing and how mom has been changing looks to be right on. She is 5.5 weeks right now and acting like she is starving. She is right at eating double, she is happy and healthy. We cant wait for the big day
Hello, my dog is 10 weeks pregnant today and she is not giving any sign that she wants to give birth any time soon, what should I do?
Hi Taiwo, since you are at the upper limit of the delivery date time frame I would suggest contacting your local veterinarian. Knowing the exact time of conception might be off by a few days, your pregnant dog could start whelping at any moment. Your local vet could do an ultrasound and check your dog to make sure everything else good.
My German shepherd appears to be pregnant. Her stomach is vigger and hard. Her nipples are also growing and appear to be swollen. She isn’t as active and crazy as usual. She is a fluffy dog so should I trim the area that need to be? I predict shes around 5 weeks pregnant and I’m clueless help!
Hi Samantha, sounds like all of the signs are there! I wouldn’t trim anything and just make sure she stays in good health, has plenty of food and water. If you call your local veterinarian they can advise you on what you should do going forward. If you want to know a better delivery date, they should be able to do an ultrasound on your German Shepherd. That would confirm pregnancy as well and give you peace of mind knowing a better due date.
Thank You 😊
Your information was very informative and helped me to further understand my dogs pregnancy. She should be due actually by Valentine’s day.
I’m totally unprepared for my pitbull giving birth I’m stressing because I don’t know when she got pregnant from are stub I felt her tummy n I can feel the puppies move I’m totally clueless.. help
The best thing you can do is see your local Vet. They should be able to do an ultrasound, just like how humans have them. This can tell the vet a lot of what you should expect. Just keep in mind that dogs have been giving birth since the beginning of time. Your Vet will most likely tell you what to expect, keep an area clean for when the time comes.