If your dog is pregnant, you may have a bigger responsibility on your hands than just looking after one or two adult canines – but for some, welcoming a bundle of puppies is well worth it. If your family is soon to get bigger, you may want to know how long you have before you need to make the necessary adjustments to cater to the additional upcoming care.
How long are dogs usually pregnant?
In most cases, a canine will give birth much sooner than a human will. While the average person will be pregnant for around 280 days (or 40 weeks), most dogs are only pregnant for 63 days (about 9 weeks), but there are a few factors that can increase or decrease this amount of time by a few days.
How to tell if a dog is pregnant?
During the earlier stages especially, it can often be quite difficult to tell whether your pooch is pregnant. Mainly, this is because there are quite a few medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms to the ones that a dog can have during pregnancy. Generally, a veterinarian will be able to tell the difference.
Fortunately, in most cases, a vet will be able to run tests to accurately see how long your little one has been pregnant – and this may determine when they are likely to give birth.
The pregnancy process in dogs
Around the 7th day of a canine pregnancy, the embryos will travel through the uterine horn. In most cases, they’ll embed themselves in the uterine lining on day 16. On the 22nd day, the foetuses are likely to start forming.
Excited pet owners may be interested to hear that, at around day 28, a vet will be able to see the heartbeats of the foetuses with an ultrasound – and while they’re generally still developing until the 58th day, a vet will often be able to use an x-ray to see the skeletons of the puppies to make an accurate count of how many to expect.
At around day 58, when the pups are fully formed, the mother is likely to try and find a good spot to nest and give birth. In these instances, you should expect labour to begin anytime in the next 4 days. It’s generally best for your dog to give birth in a veterinary, or to have a vet (or someone else with experience) present.
Often, labour will usually last 12 to 24 hours (from when contractions begin), although in most cases, it may not seem obvious. If your dog refuses to eat, is vomiting, is restless or panting; it may be a sign that they’re in labour.
For the duration, and depending on how many puppies you are expecting, your dog is likely to give birth to one pup every 30 to 60 minutes.