The Dog Gestation Period

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Are you expecting a litter and do you want to know more about the dog gestation period? Have you ever wondered about the details about pregnancy in dogs? How long are dogs pregnant?

dog gestation period xray

Female dogs carry their puppies for around two months or nine weeks and there are some magical moments during the gestation period.

Dog Gestation Period Explained

Check out the infographic below to see some quick facts about the dog gestation period:

dog gestation period infographic

4 Stages of the Female Reproductive Cycle

  • PROESTRUS – 9 Days (Attracts males but is not receptive)
  • ESTRUS – 3 – 11 Days (Attracts males and it is receptive)
  • DIESTRUS – Occurs around day 14
  • ANESTRUS – 6 Months (The period between two cycles)

Normal gestation period is about 63 days from the day of conception.
Sperm lives several days in the vagina and the eggs stay fertile for 48 hours.

The 3 Stages of Labor in Dogs

  • Stage 1: Lasts 12-24 hours
    – Restlessness
    – Loss of appetite
    – Nesting
    – Vomiting
    – Clear vaginal discharge
  • Stage 2: Lasts 1-24 hours
    – Each puppy should be delivered in 30-60 minutes
  • Stage 3: Delivery of the placenta

How to Tell if Your Dog is Pregnant

There are not so many visual signs at the beginning of a dog’s pregnancy and unfortunately, there is no quick test like for humans. So, in order to find out if your dog is really pregnant or not, the vets are here to help you. Veterinarians use 4 methods to determine whether a dog is pregnant.

pregnant long haired chihuahua

They can do a hormone test, to look for the hormone relaxin. This test can be done only after 30 days from the conception, to be fairly accurate.

Veterinarians can do a palpation test, which can be done between the third to fourth week after conception. They palpate the uterus area of the dog’s stomach and determine if there are puppies.

During later pregnancy, veterinarians can do x-rays to determine how many puppies are the bitch carrying.

The method that is the most accurate and that can be done earliest in the pregnancy, is ultrasound. With ultrasound, the veterinarian can tell if the dam is pregnant between the 25 and 35 day of gestation.

Facts on Dog Gestation

Did you know that the gestation period for dogs is a whopping 67 days? That’s longer than most humans, with only one month and two weeks left before giving birth. Fortunately, the average human pregnancy lasts about 280 days or about 11 months. So while it may be an ancient animal by human standards, a dog’s time to grow its young can be stretched out quite a while before the baby is on its way.

Dogs can also have puppies as early as six weeks or even as late as 18 months. However, most female dogs have puppies around nine months. Due to this extended time period for growth, the average litter size of a dog is between four to six pups though it can range anywhere from two to ten puppies at a time.

Did you also know that there are several types of gestation periods in dogs? If you have ever questioned why some dogs are small and others big or how the dog was able to breed?

The Size of The Pregnant Dog

If you have ever wondered what determines the size of your dog’s pregnancy then you should be aware that it is all based on genetics. The size of a dog is determined by a number of things including breed, age, and sometimes even gender.

If you want to know if your dog’s pregnancy can be small or large then knowing the history of its genetic background may help.

black great dane

If you liked this article, read our article on “Animal gestation periods” on our blog.

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