How Long Is A Dog Pregnant: What You Need To Know

a pregnant dog

It’s crucial to understand how long is a dog pregnant, especially if you’re about to become a dog grandparent. The pregnancy duration in dogs is approximately 62 to 64 days, starting from ovulation to the birth of the puppies.

During this period, similar to human pregnancy, dogs experience bodily changes. One notable change is a decrease in appetite, akin to morning sickness in humans.

Should you suspect that your dog is expecting, a veterinary visit is advisable for confirmation. For more insights into the duration of canine pregnancy, reading further into this subject is recommended.


Dogs typically experience a 63-day pregnancy period

In the initial month of their pregnancy, dogs often show a decreased appetite. To reduce the chances of nausea and vomiting, you may need to serve them smaller meals more frequently.

dog eating

This is a key sign to look out for if you suspect your dog might be pregnant. The most reliable course of action is to visit the vet to confirm the pregnancy and get ready for the arrival of the adorable puppies.

On average, the pregnancy period for dogs spans about 63 days, or roughly two months. Predicting the exact birth date can be challenging, as the actual conception date might not align with the breeding date. The length of pregnancy can also vary based on the dog’s size and breed.

During the first month of gestation, the fertilized eggs travel through the lengthy oviducts to the uterus, where they implant and start developing into puppies.

When it’s time for birth, the puppies are expelled from the uterus, each accompanied by their placenta, similar to human childbirth. Witnessing the birth of these tiny puppies is truly a remarkable experience.

Insights into the dog pregnancy timeline

Understanding the heat cycle in dogs

Unspayed dogs experience a heat cycle approximately every six months, though this frequency can vary among different breeds.

Typically, a dog’s heat cycle extends for about 18 to 21 days. This cycle is divided into four distinct stages, each playing a crucial role in the reproductive process:

  • Proestrus
  • Estrus
  • Diestrus
  • Anestrus

Proestrus stage in dogs

The proestrus stage typically spans around nine days, though it can vary by a couple of days. During this phase, a female dog may begin to attract male attention, but she is not yet ready for breeding and will often rebuff any advances from males. Proestrus is characterized by specific symptoms:

  • Slight swelling of the vulva
  • Presence of bloody discharge

This period of disinterest towards male dogs is temporary. Leading up to proestrus, you might observe that your dog appears more anxious and fatigued than usual, indicating the onset of this reproductive stage.

Estrus phase in dogs

The estrus phase in dogs can last anywhere from a short span of 3 to 4 days to a longer duration of 7 to 11 days. It is during this phase that the female dog starts to show interest in male companions.

She may remain receptive to breeding for a day or two even after the peak of her cycle. Key symptoms define the estrus stage:

  • A decrease in discharge
  • Lighter colored discharge, often light pink
  • Enlargement and softening of the vulva

For breeders aiming to ensure successful mating, veterinary assistance is advisable.

Vaginal smears and blood tests conducted by a vet can help determine the most suitable time for breeding. These tests are recommended to start before and continue throughout the estrus period.

Diestrus stage in dogs

Diestrus marks the final stage of the canine reproductive cycle. In this stage, the female dog loses interest in male companions and prefers not to be disturbed. Distinct symptoms are noticeable during diestrus:

  • The discharge turns redder and starts to diminish.
  • The vulva returns to its normal size.

The end of the heat cycle is signaled by the cessation of discharge and the reduction of swelling.

However, if the dog has become pregnant, she will remain in the diestrus stage throughout the duration of her pregnancy.

Anestrus phase in dogs

The anestrus stage is a period of rest for the dog, typically lasting between 100 to 150 days.

This phase signifies the conclusion of the diestrus stage and leads up to the onset of the next proestrus stage.

It’s a time of physical recuperation and hormonal reset for the dog as she prepares for the next cycle.


How to identify pregnancy in dogs?

Recognizing signs of pregnancy in your dog is important, but it doesn’t replace the need for veterinary confirmation. Being aware of specific symptoms or signs can assist you in providing valuable information to the vet about your dog’s condition.

Enlargement of nipples in pregnant dogs

If your dog is pregnant, you will notice a significant increase in the size of her nipples. Additionally, the hair surrounding the nipples will become visibly thinner. Closer to the time of birth, there might even be milk leaking from her nipples.

Weight gain in pregnant dogs

During pregnancy, your dog will undergo noticeable body changes. Similar to humans, expectant pups will gain weight. Their belly will expand and become more prominent, while the mammary glands will swell, preparing to produce milk.

Feeling the puppies move

When your dog reaches full term, you can gently place your hand on her belly and actually feel the puppies. You might detect some movement within her womb.


What other behaviors indicate dog pregnancy?

A pregnant dog’s behavior often changes, sometimes showing behavioral signs even before physical ones. These may include:

  • Decreased Appetite
  • Increased clinginess or affection
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Nesting behavior, such as seeking an ideal birthing spot

If your dog starts searching for a nesting place, she might scratch at the ground or move her bed around the house.

newborn puppies

This behavior is instinctive; in the wild, dogs need to find a secure and private area to birth and nurture their puppies.

Newborn puppies are extremely vulnerable and rely entirely on their mother for protection, guidance, and support.


How to assist your dog in preparing puppies with a harness?

When preparing for the arrival of puppies, you or your dog should select an appropriate spot for her to give birth. It’s essential to ensure that this area is comfortable for her and safe for the puppies.

Newborn puppies have their eyes closed for about the first ten days, so it’s crucial to prevent them from wandering into unsafe areas. Additionally, you should monitor that the puppies are nursing properly.

Proper nutrition is vital for the mother both before and during her pregnancy. If you’re assisting your dog in birthing for the first time, it’s recommended to measure her temperature rectally 7 to 10 days before the expected due date.

A drop in temperature below 100 degrees Fahrenheit typically occurs within 24 hours of labor, signaling the impending birth.

When breeding your dog, it’s advisable to wait until she has gone through two regular reproductive cycles. Early breeding might lead to complications for both her and her puppies.

Using a harness can help manage her movements and keep her comfortable during this critical period.


When is the right time to spay a dog after giving birth?

Spaying your dog has numerous advantages for her health, and it may be your preference to have her bred just once.

After giving birth, a dog is typically exhausted and her body needs time to recuperate. It is advisable to wait at least 6 to 8 weeks postpartum before considering spaying.

a dog ready to spray

The ideal time to spay your dog is when her puppies have transitioned to solid food and her milk production has ceased.

It’s important not to spay too early or too late; the average age for spaying is around six months. If you’re planning on breeding your dog, consult with your vet about the best time to spay her following childbirth.



How long is a dog pregnant typically spans about two months. If you decide to breed your dog just once, it’s advisable to spay the mother approximately 6 to 8 weeks following the birth. Opting to spay your dog when no further litters are expected is beneficial for her health and is a responsible choice to make.



FAQ: Can a Dog’s Diet Affect Pregnancy Duration?

Answer: While a dog’s diet doesn’t directly affect the duration of pregnancy, it’s crucial for her health and the development of the puppies. A nutritious diet, tailored for pregnancy, supports the dog’s increased needs and ensures healthy development of the puppies.

FAQ: How Can I Tell if My Dog’s Pregnancy is Progressing Normally?

Answer: Regular veterinary check-ups are essential. Your vet can monitor the pregnancy through ultrasound or other methods to ensure everything is progressing normally.

FAQ: What Are the Risks of Breeding a Dog Too Often?

Answer: Frequent breeding can lead to health complications for the dog, such as uterine infections or physical exhaustion. It’s important to allow sufficient time between litters for her to fully recover.

FAQ: Is It Safe to Exercise My Pregnant Dog?

Answer: Yes, but with moderation. Gentle exercise, like short walks, is beneficial. Avoid strenuous activities, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, to prevent any risk to the dog or her puppies.

FAQ: What Should I Do if My Dog Gets Cold After Giving Birth?
Answer: Keeping the mother warm is crucial. Use items like bandanas or specially designed dog blankets to maintain her body heat. Ensure her bedding is warm and away from drafts, especially when she is nursing her puppies.