Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by Becky Roberts
Paint a mental picture of this one.
You’ve been owning a female dog for quite some time now. Ever since she was a puppy, you were always around to provide her all the love and care she needed.
Then eventually, you notice a change in your dog’s behavior. You start to notice the little changes in her appetite, and the next thing you know, what once was a puppy is now giving birth!
Pregnancy in dogs is obviously inevitable. For us pet parents, it doesn’t come off as a surprise that your puppy giving birth will require some sort of preparation and readiness. Regardless of your dog’s breed, chances are you have already brushed up on your pet care tips and tricks.
But the case for pregnancy can be a bit different to deal with. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to be equipped and ready for potential heat cycle, behavior changes, and even the birth itself in some cases!
In this feature, we’re going to talk about how you can be prepared for the said cycle, how long does it take for a dog to give birth, and other useful tips you can use for handling this period in a dog’s life.
Let’s get started!
How Long Does Pregnancy Take?
Probably the reason why you are still reading is you are curious about how long does your dog’s pregnancy take.
After she gets pregnant, a dog will go into labor on an average of 63 days, or 9 months.
However, knowing the pregnancy duration is never considered to be enough in terms of preparation. Just like any responsible pet parent, you’re going to want to be in the know of what stages you need to be aware of, and how you can deal with the situation when the time comes.
Let’s have a closer look at what you can expect as a soon to be pet god-parent!
Related: Can Dogs Get Abortions?
Signs Of Pregnancy
For our four-legged friends, the early signs of labor are not that easy to spot. Aside from the behavioral changes, there isn’t really anything that you can work from.
According to experts, just like humans, dogs carry their babies in trimesters. Although known to be shorter by 21 days, their pregnancy is often measured from the day they ovulate to the day that the puppy (or puppies) are born.
For the common signs of pregnancy, a pet parent may have to wait until the second trimester before the obvious symptoms show up. Hormone changes are common around week four, and a change in energy and loss of appetite starts to surface.
Since your pooch doesn’t want to eat, it helps to not force her appetite, since there will be times in which she will not want to eat anything at all. It’s important that you allow her to follow her body’s instincts, as most often than not, she will eat whenever she prefers to. If unsure, you can always pay your veterinarian a visit.
You may also start no notice that her nipples start to swell, and it appears to redden as it starts to get ready for milk production.
After which, weight gain is then noticed at around the fifth or sixth week, depending on the breed and size of your pooch. You start to notice an increased appetite, and because of this, you may want to feed her foods rich in energy but low in fiber count.
Since the abdominal pressure increases as the fetus increases in size, it’s highly advisable for the pet owner to give meals small in size.
If any of the signs do not show and you have a suspicion that your pooch may be pregnant, a visit to the veterinarian may be the way to go.
Your licensed pet professional may be able to identify your hunch via hormone tests, palpation, x-ray, and ultrasound. Highly considered as the last remaining signs (just in case it still isn’t that plainly obvious), your veterinarian will then proceed with performing abdominal palpation, just to feel your dog’s belly to identify the growing puppies. The x-ray scans will be able to help in identifying just exactly how many puppies you should expect.
Trust me, knowing how pups you’ll be having will help you later on.
Signs and Procedures of Labor
According to the American Kennel Club, there are three stages of labor.
For the first stage, symptoms such as restlessness, intermittent nesting, refusing to eat, vomiting, panting, a clear vaginal discharge, and reclusive behavior start to show.
As for stage two, this is when the puppy is delivered, and can take any time between 1 to 24 hours. It’s crucial to know exactly how many puppies are expected, so as to be able to monitor every time your dog delivers a puppy, which should be in intervals of every 30 to 60 minutes, and delivery should not be more than 1 to 2 hours.
And now for the third and last stage, the placenta is known to be delivered. With stages two and three usually happening at the same time, stage three is only completed once all placentas have delivered. It usually happens 15 minutes after a puppy is born.
Post-Pregnancy: Best Practices
Your best shot will always be having a licensed professional around the time that your pooch gives birth. At the end of the day, their advice would serve your dog best, and the entire process of pregnancy can be a bit messy.
Aside from all the professional help you can find, it also helps to have yourself equipped with all the knowledge you can find about puppy care, potential food diet for both the mother and the puppy, and overall methods you can use in taking care of a mother dog and her pups.
Now that we’re all aware that pregnancy takes 63 days or 9 months for our four-legged friends, it’s important to be made aware of the potential help your dog will be needing from you for a successful birth. It helps to maintain a proper diet, a fair amount of exercise, and constant visits to the veterinarian to ensure that your dog will have a safe delivery!