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How long does Dogs pregnancy last?

How long does Dogs pregnancy last?

Puppy time is fun. The wait can seem endless if you are new to breeding or are impatiently awaiting the arrival of a reserved puppy from a breeder's litter. Thankfully, the gestation time in dogs is substantially shorter than the gestation period in humans, which benefits both us and the dog. How long does a dog's pregnancy last, though?

The Dog Reproductive Cycle

Understanding the canine reproductive cycle is necessary before you can respond to the query "how long are dogs pregnant." Approximately every six months, intact female dogs go into heat, though this can vary depending on the breed. The heat cycle has four distinct stages and lasts 18 to 21 days. These phases help breeders decide when it is best to breed their dogs.

The reproductive cycle of a female dog goes through these four stages:


The proestrus phase of the reproductive cycle lasts for around 9 days. Females begin to draw males at this point, though they will reject their advances until stage two.

Proestrus symptoms include:

Expansion of the vulva

Bloody spittle

Estrus might continue for three to four days or seven to eleven days. The bitch is at her most open at this time. To ensure that they breed their dogs at the ideal moment, many breeders have blood tests and vaginal smears performed by veterinarians during proestrus and estrus.

Proestrus symptoms include:

a swollen, soft vulva

Discharge loses intensity and changes color.

Diestrus is the cycle's last phase. Usually, it happens around day 14. The bitch will no longer allow mating during diestrus, when her discharge turns redder and lessens in intensity. When there are no longer any visible signs of swelling or discharge, the heat is over. Anestrus, the interval between one heat cycle and the following, often lasts six months.

Determining the length of pregnancy requires an understanding of the heat cycle. Breeders can accurately test for pregnancy since they can calculate the conception dates by monitoring their bitch's heat cycle and breeding season.

How to Spot a Pregnant Dog

Instant pregnancy tests have been created by humans to make it simple to find out if we are pregnant. With our pets, it is more complicated. To find out if your dog is pregnant, you should probably make an appointment with your veterinarian. As all canine pregnancy testing procedures are time-sensitive, if at all possible, be sure to tell your veterinarian the exact date your dog was bred or your best estimate of the time period.

Veterinarians can determine a dog's pregnancy using one of four methods:

test for hormones

X-ray, ultrasound, and hormone tests

To detect whether a bitch is pregnant, veterinarians can do a test for the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is a fairly accurate diagnostic test because it is only secreted from placental tissue during pregnancy. For the test to be accurate, the bitch must be at least 30 days along in her pregnancy. Prior tests might have returned a false negative.


The simplest and most affordable method of determining pregnancy is by palpation. The membranes surrounding each fetus expand to form fluid-filled sacs as it grows. Between days 21 and 35 of gestation, or roughly three to four weeks, these sacs can be felt. In a 45-pound dog, they can reach a size of about a table tennis ball. The sacs lose their characteristic structure after a month, and the uterus starts to feel floppy and can be mistaken for fat or a pyometra.


Breeders can estimate how many puppies their heifer will produce by using an x-ray. Because the fetal skull and spine are not visible on an x-ray until days 42 through 45 of pregnancy, X-rays are most useful later in the pregnancy. By delaying until after day 55, veterinarians may accurately estimate the expected number of puppies and choose the ideal time for an elective cesarean section.


Early in the gestation period, an ultrasound is the greatest tool for determining whether a dog is pregnant. Between days 25 and 35 of pregnancy, veterinarians advise ultrasounds. By detecting fetal heartbeats, ultrasounds not only reveal whether a pregnancy is present but also whether the fetus is alive. Moreover, ultrasounds can be used to rule out additional uterine distension reasons, such as a pyometra, and to determine the gestational age of the fetus.

how long does dogs pregnancy last

How Long Do Dogs Pregnant For During Gestation?

Dogs typically gestate for about 63 days after conception, though this might vary by several days. Although it would seem like a simple response, it can be challenging to pinpoint conception. The act of mating alone is not a precise gauge of gestation since sperm can survive for many days inside the female and eggs can stay viable for up to 48 hours. Because of this, estimating the duration of pregnancy without a veterinarian's help can be challenging.

Hormone measurements provide a considerably more precise gestational time estimate. Blood tests and vaginal swabs are frequently used by breeders to track the levels of reproductive hormones during breeding. They can use this information to estimate the gestation period and prospective delivery date, as well as the ideal time to breed their bitch.

Gestational period as determined by precise hormone measurements:

64–66 days after the first day of diestrus and 56–58 days after the beginning of the progesterone rise

58–72 days after the bitch's first permitted breeding

In contrast to human pregnancy, a dog's pregnancy lasts only around 9 weeks, thus every day counts. In order to monitor nutrition and veterinary treatment during pregnancy and to ensure the health of the pregnant bitch and the puppies, it is crucial to know how long the gestation period is.

Dog Pregnancy Stages

Dogs go through their pregnancy stages swiftly. Dogs have relatively short gestation periods, thus the puppies grow quickly within the womb over a two- to three-month period.

First month

The embryos go to the uterine horns during the first month, often around day 7, and they are lodged in the uterine lining around day 16. By day 22, the fetus starts to take shape, and by day 28 or 30, a veterinarian should be able to hear the heartbeats of the fetus using an ultrasound.

During the first three weeks of their pregnancy, many dogs don't exhibit any signs. Here are a few signs to look out for in the first month:

higher appetite

a little bit bigger nipples

Added affectionate actions

vaginal discharge that is clear (around week four)

a decrease in exercise

"Morning ill"

The second month is a time of rapid fetal development. Around day 32, eyelids begin to form, and by day 35, toes are apparent. By day 40, the claws had developed, and a few days later, the coat and skeleton (day 45). The number of puppies in the litter will be determined by an x-ray by day 50, and around day 58, the bitch will begin hunting for a spot to nest.

During the second month, the bitch's pregnancy symptoms become significantly more pronounced:

increased appetite clearly

growth of 20–50% of body weight

Enhanced urination Behavioral modifications

odorless, clear vaginal discharge

hard, enlarged abdomen (days 45 to 50)

a diminished appetite (day 45)

abdominal puppy movement that can be seen (day 50)

By the beginning of the third month, the bitch is prepared to give birth. About day 58, puppy development is nearly complete, which means the puppies will start to shift into whelping position in the birth canal over the next three days.

Dog pregnancy symptoms in the final few days:

As puppies travel through the delivery canal, the waist will be trimmed.

loss of appetite around days 61 or 62

12- to 24-hour drop in body temperature before labor

Unstable behavior

Panting, shivering, digging, or pacing

How Long Do Dogs Give Birth?

Labor starts once the gestation period is over. Labor progresses through three stages.

Stage 1

The first lasts for 12 to 24 hours and is frequently not visible to the naked eye. Throughout stage one, the strength and frequency of contractions in the uterine muscle wall increase, but no outward signs of contractions are present. Instead, keep an eye out for these signs of canine labor:

A shift in attitude and behavior


A reclusive attitude

sporadic nest building

not wanting to eat



vaginal discharge that is clear

Stage 2

During stage two, puppies are born. Bitches deliver one puppy at a time during this period, which can last anywhere from one to twenty-four hours. Given that deliveries typically take place every 30 to 60 minutes and should not last longer than an hour, it is useful to determine how many puppies will be born in total. Owners can then call a vet if they think their dog may be in trouble and know when the bitch has finished stage two.

Stage 3

At stage three, the placenta is delivered. The delivery of all placentas marks the end of stage three, which really occurs around the same time as stage two. This typically happens soon after stage two is complete.

If your dog gives birth throughout a 24-hour period or if there are more than two hours between puppies, you should call your veterinarian. This may indicate a significant issue, and both the life of the bitch and the unborn puppies may be in danger.

The Next Step

How long do dog pregnancies last? Just enough time for a litter of contented, healthy puppies to be born. You will be giving those puppies the best start possible if you educate yourself, follow through, and feed and care for your pregnant dog and new puppies properly.

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