How Long Are Dogs Pregnant Before They Give Birth

By December 30, 2014 Dog Tips 13 Comments
Dog With Puppies

Dog With PuppiesAlthough dogs come in an extremely wide range of shapes and sizes, the gestation period from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane is within the same sort of time frame.

Most dogs are pregnant for between 58 days and 64 days.

The due date varies slightly depending on the breed and size of dog as well as the size of the litter she is carrying, but vast majority of dogs will give birth on the 63rd day.

If you know the date your female dog mated, you can count 63 days from that date

and be fairly accurate in placing the date she will give birth. It is best to have a special bed set up for her to give birth from around two weeks before the due date.

Although some dogs give birth earlier than 63 days, puppies that are born earlier than 58 days will unfortunately either be still-born or will die within the first couple of days.

This is because their lungs are the last part of the body to develop, and this happens in those last few days. Day 58 is the earliest a puppy can be born and survive.

Although by 58 days the lungs have still not fully developed completely, they are developed enough to just start working and for the puppy to have a chance at survival.

Labrador PuppiesPuppies that are born prematurely will have bright pink paws with no fur on them. It is wise to seek the advice of your vet if this is your first litter. If you don’t know the date your dog mated, you could use the last time she was on heat as a guide.

Take the date from the middle of her last heat cycle as the date of conception, and count 63 days from then. Of course this is not very accurate, but it will give you an idea of when you should start preparing for the birth (two weeks before).

Pregnancy Signs – 9 Quick Ways To Tell If Your Dog Is Pregnant

Labrador PregnantIf you haven’t had your female spayed, then you may find yourself wondering if you’ve kept her safe enough to avoid a litter of puppies during her heat cycle.

If you’ve intentionally had her bred, undoubtedly you are also wondering whether or not you can be expecting a litter of puppies in the near future. Here are 9 signs to look for to help you know whether your dog is about to become a mommy soon!

1. Eating habits change during the beginning of the pregnancy. In fact, you may find a significant decrease in appetite, to the point of not wanting to eat altogether.

There is no need to force her to eat, just let her obey her body, and keep food available in case she decides that she wants a little bit of something.

2. By the third week of pregnancy, a vet can feel your dog’s uterus and tell whether she’s been bred or not.

If you suspect that your dog has been bred, after the third week that her heat cycle is finished is a good time to take her in for a check up.

3. Usually, although not always, the female’s nipples will start to swell during pregnancy, especially if this isn’t her first litter.

4. Many females that have been bred start showing a little bit more need for attention. They may act a little insecure and you may notice them looking for more attention than usual.

While this alone isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be expecting puppies, pay attention, especially if you notice the other signs of pregnancy that we’ve already mentioned.

5. Many pregnant dogs also have a milky colored discharge. There should not be any odor to the discharge, and there is no reason for alarm, it’s just another sign that you should probably start preparing to welcome a new litter of puppies soon.

6. You’ll notice your dog will probably be more affectionate than usual in the beginning of her pregnancy.

7. She may also seem less energetic than usual, less interested in playing or doing other activities that she may normally enjoy.

8. Her appetite may well change and she may either eat less or more, or she may no longer like the food you normally feed her.

9. As the due date approaches she will of course start to put on weight and her pregnancy will be showing physically.

If you are seeing all of the warning signs, the chances are pretty high that your dog is pregnant. The next step is to do your research and get ready for the upcoming arrivals!

Take good care of her, and try to avoid picking her up as much as possible. You may find that as the due date gets closer she starts to become more irritable and testy; this is perfectly normal.

Make sure you are giving your dog a healthy balanced diet.

Dog Food BalanceCheck with your vet to get advice on what nutrients she needs and then make sure that the food you are giving her contains all of those.

If ever in any doubt it is best to consult your vet. It is not worth taking any chances with the pregnancy. Your vet may also be able to give you an idea of the due date if you aren’t able to work it out or don’t know the date of the last time she was in heat.

In order to give you an approximate due date the vet will need to conduct an ultrasound x-ray to determine the size of the puppies, which will give an indication of how far along the pregnancy is; and from there the due date will be calculated.

If your dog is having a small litter, the pregnancy may last a day or two longer.

This is because the puppies will have more room and labor will not need to be triggered until they run out of room. For a larger litter, the puppies will run out of room as they grow, much earlier, which will then trigger labor.

If it is an early labor and a large litter, make sure you keep an eye out for any premature puppies that may need extra care and protection.

If it is your first litter you may wish to have either your vet or a friend who has experience with breeding with you during the birth.

Complications can occur, especially for puppies that are born backwards, and having someone with you who has experience and knows what to do will help to give you confidence.

You will also then have the experience yourself for next time. It is very important to find out from your vet or an experienced breeder what signs you need to look out for.

Be prepared to watch out for insufficient milk.

Puppies can die from malnutrition if the mother is not producing enough milk. Knowing the danger signs to look out for will give you, your dog and the puppies the best chance of success.

Taking good care of the mother will also help to ensure the survival and health of the puppies. Make sure you keep all small children and other animals away from your dog while she is in labor.

Keep the surroundings and environment calm and peaceful. Although it is a natural event it can also be traumatic – and of course your dog cannot understand language, so give her lots of reassurance through your tone of voice and gentle affection throughout the process.

Dog Pregnancy Test Kit

Canine Pregnancy Test KitDo you suspect that your dog may be pregnant and you can’t wait to find out? Determining whether a dog is pregnant can be quite a challenge for new owners, or an inexperienced breeder.

The only sure way is to have a pregnancy test done. For owners who are eager to determine pregnancy themselves, there are canine pregnancy test kits available to help find out early whether your dog is pregnant or not.

This Canine Pregnancy Test Kit contains five tests to detect pregnancy in dogs. The test can be done as early as 21 days after the “luteininzing” hormonal surge, which is when the dog is no longer in heat.

Click Here For a Full Review Of Dog Pregnancy Test Kit


Girl Dog Names With Meanings
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Canine Reproduction:
Pregnancy Termination in Dogs and Cats:


  • Alice Duong says:

    My sister have a dog, but we don’t know she has puppies, until her belly is biger and biger. And we don’t know how to take care for her. Thank you for useful information

  • Maria Estela A. merka says:

    Hello. Just asking: What if my pregnant dog is a zitshu breed and the male is the same breed too. Is she still in 58-64 days before giving birth? |And how many puppies will be possible for her to give birth?

    • David Miller says:

      Yes she is Maria. The average litter of the Shih Tzu is 3 with a range of 1 to 5 being considered normal. I recomend that you bring her to a veterinarian at the first sign of possible pups on the way.

      • laura says:

        Hi, we breed shih tzu dogs and our usual is 4-7 puppies. Never has just the one in the last 20 yr of breeding. We also found early on that pregnancy is usually 56-63 days and 64 is a c-section. I hope everything went well with your girl.

  • Donna L. Anderson says:

    I learned more from you site than others I’ve been on. This is our first and only litter.

  • Actually, the day ovulation begins is day #1. Some girls are ready to breed sooner than others; in my case, my Havanese are ready around day 6 or 7. BUT, the counting begins on the first day of her heat (presumably first day of a little blood) and continues until the puppies are born (if you are successful at breeding) 63 days later. If you start counting (the 63 days) on the day of mating….your puppies will be delivered sooner than you anticipated!

  • Brandi Garcia says:

    I have a blue pit first time mommy very wild likes to playa and run alot not sure how far maybe a month how many puppies will she have

  • Luis Martinez says:

    What is the average amount of puppies siberian huskies have?

  • Stephanie says:

    I have a mix raterier and docs on she small.

  • Sue says:

    Hi ya my dog is 53 weeks and her bobs have got big and her bk end as got big do u think that she going 2 have them very soon thank u reading

  • sally and I'm 14 says:

    My dog is a female about 2 to 3 years old. She’s having puppies for the first timeband I think she’spregnant for about 2 months.



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