Dog Pregnant: Signs, Care, and Preparing for Puppies

June 14, 2022
dog pregnant
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Welcoming a new litter of puppies into the world is immensely rewarding, but dog pregnancies can be confusing and stressful, as well as time-consuming.

If you are thinking of breeding your dog, there is a lot of information you need know. You should be knowledgeable with your breed's standard and unique breed health test recommendations, as well as the responsibilities that come with raising healthy, well-socialized puppies. You will also need to understand the indicators of pregnancy in dogs and how to care for your pregnant dog. Here are the answers to some of your queries.

Find out more: Shih Tzu, Pomeranian, Siberian Husky

How Long Can Dogs Be Pregnant?

Dogs are pregnant for about 62-64 days, or about two months. The length of a pregnancy can also vary depending on breed and litter size.

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Pregnant

Because we cannot get a dog pregnancy test kit from a pharmacy, we must rely on alternative methods to establish if a dog is pregnant. Diagnostic testing is the most accurate approach to determine whether or not a dog is pregnant.

Dog Pregnant
Dog pregnant


If you know when your dog was bred, your veterinarian can start doing belly palpation around the 28-30-day mark. Depending on the size of the dog, the puppies feel like miniature golf balls or grapes at this stage of the pregnancy. These "balls" are sacks of fluid that surround the fetus. Abdominal palpation should not be undertaken without the supervision of a veterinarian, since it may cause harm to the puppies. After one month, the sacks lose their characteristic structure, so the timing of this test is critical.


Alternatively, between 25 and 35 days of gestation, your veterinarian can perform an ultrasound. An ultrasound can usually detect fetal heartbeats, allowing you to determine how many puppies the bitch is carrying. The heartbeats of the puppies are 2-to-3 times faster than the mother's.

Hormone testing

At about 25-to-30 days of gestation, your veterinarian can do a blood test to see if the dog is releasing the hormone relaxin. Because relaxin is only created during pregnancy, the test is relatively accurate.


X-rays are one of the most effective methods for determining whether or not a dog is pregnant. However, because the puppies' skeletal systems do not show up on an x-ray until they are 55 days old or older, this is best done when they are 55 days or older. An x-ray at this point allows you to get an accurate count of the number of puppies, allowing you to know when your dog is done delivering.

Dog Pregnant
Dog pregnant preparation

Dog Pregnancy Sign

Although diagnostic testing is the most accurate technique to establish whether a dog is pregnant, it is not the only way. You can look out for indicators of dog pregnancy such as:

- Increase in appetite

- Weight gain

- Increase in nipple size

- Swollen belly

-Tires more easily

- Nesting behavior

- More affectionate Irritability

Dog Pregnant

Caring for a Pregnant Dog

Once you've discovered that your dog is pregnant, there are some precautions you should take to ensure her health throughout her pregnancy.

Proper Nutrition

Providing good nutrition to your pregnant dog is one of the most important things you can do for her. Veterinarians advocate gradually increasing her food consumption as her weight rises in the last weeks of her pregnancy, until she consumes 35- to 50 percent more than usual. Increase her intake gradually and feed her little, regular meals to avoid discomfort.


Your dog's best activity during her last trimester should not be too strenuous. Shorter, more frequent walks will be more beneficial to the expectant mother, as she will need her energy to carry the puppies and feed them.

Visits to the Vet

Take your dog to the vet for a pregnancy checkup before breeding her. She should have all of her vaccines up to date. Prior to mating, your vet will likely recommend either a fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites or just having your dog de-wormed using a medicine that is appropriate for your dog.

Preparing for Puppies

As your dog's pregnancy draws to a close, you'll notice a noticeable increase in the size of her breasts and nipples, as well as some milky fluid as the milk glands expand and swell. As she walks, her abdomen will grow larger and she may wobble slightly. You may be able to see or feel the puppies moving about inside the mother at the very end of the pregnancy.

You and your dog should be ready for whelping, or puppy birthing, at this point. Setting up a whelping box is the best method to do it. Whelping boxes provide a secure, comfortable, draft-free, and easily cleaned environment for your dog to give birth to her puppies.

Dog Pregnant

Be Ready

It doesn't have to be a stressful time for dogs and their owners during pregnancy. You'll be better prepared to care for your dog if you learn more about dog pregnancy ahead of time. Consult your veterinarian for further information on dog pregnancy.

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