Human pregnancies usually last nine months, but for dogs, it is much shorter, averaging around nine weeks. However, this is just an average, and the puppies may arrive anywhere between 56 and 70 days. If your dog goes into labor before eight weeks or hasn’t given birth by ten weeks, contact an emergency veterinarian immediately. If you are unsure if your dog is pregnant, check for signs of dog pregnancy first.
After the mating process, ovulation and fertilization occur within the initial week. During this period, the fertilized eggs travel from the uterus and implant themselves into the uterine wall. Identifying your dog’s ovulation can aid in creating an accurate canine pregnancy calendar and estimating the due date.
It is important to note that ovulation is crucial for successful breeding, but determining whether your dog is ovulating can be challenging. However, tracking your dog’s heat cycle can help confirm ovulation.
During the early stages, most dogs do not exhibit noticeable signs of pregnancy, although hormonal changes take place in their bodies. Physical changes are not typically evident, and only a few dogs may experience occasional morning sickness, which is uncommon. Most dogs continue to behave and appear the same as before becoming pregnant.
During this stage, it is advisable to maintain the same diet, exercise routine, and playtime with your dog as before pregnancy. Unless advised otherwise by your veterinarian, there is usually no need to introduce any nutritional supplements at this point.
As your beloved dog enters the second week of her pregnancy, a remarkable transformation begins. During week two, the embryos will begin to develop into blastocysts, and they will burrow into the uterine wall. Since they are still in the early stages and quite small, they don’t require an increase in calorie intake. Hence, there’s no need to modify your dog’s diet at this point, and you can continue feeding her as you did before.
During this period, it becomes vital to closely monitor your dog’s weight. From now until the end of the fifth week of pregnancy, maintaining a stable weight or experiencing a slight increase of no more than 10 percent is ideal. However, any unexpected weight loss could potentially endanger the well-being of the precious puppies. In such circumstances, it is crucial to immediately reach out to your trusted veterinarian and schedule a thorough checkup.
While these early days of pregnancy unfold, there’s no need to disrupt the familiar exercise and play routines you share with your dog. Feel free to engage in activities together as you did before, fostering a joyful and active bond. As for grooming and bathing, there’s no rush to introduce any changes just yet. Moreover, unless specifically advised by your veterinarian, additional nutritional supplements are not necessary during this stage of the pregnancy journey.
As your dog progresses into the third week of her pregnancy, a significant milestone takes place as the embryos begin to establish their presence within the uterine lining. Nestled within this protective membrane, they embark on a remarkable journey of receiving essential nutrients for their optimal growth and development. Given their size, which is less than a centimeter, you may not observe any noticeable alterations in your dog’s overall appearance at this stage.
During this crucial period, it is important to maintain your dog’s regular feeding and exercise routine without any necessary modifications. However, it is worth noting that some dogs may exhibit an increased appetite during this time. Keep a watchful eye on your dog’s eating habits for any signs of heightened hunger.
Should you notice your dog’s ravenous behavior, you can slightly adjust her portion sizes to accommodate the growing needs of the puppies. However, it is important to remember that making significant dietary changes is premature at this point. Therefore, while a slight increase in food can be considered if your dog appears hungrier than usual, it’s best to avoid excessive adjustments.
By week four, the fetuses will be around 1 inch long and will start to look like miniature dogs. This is the time to take your dog to the veterinarian for an ultrasound to determine how many puppies she is carrying. It is highly recommended to entrust the confirmation of pregnancy to a professional, as improper handling could potentially harm the unborn puppies.
It is advisable to schedule a visit to the vet by the middle of the fourth week, regardless of your dog’s apparent health. In addition to assessing the mother’s well-being, the veterinarian can identify any potential developmental deformities in the growing puppies. Their facial features begin to take shape, while the development of their eyes and spine also becomes evident. It is worth noting that this stage is particularly critical, as the risk of developmental abnormalities is heightened.
During this phase of your dog’s pregnancy, it becomes essential to exercise caution and limit rough play and strenuous activities that may jeopardize the well-being of the puppies. While it is not necessary to completely halt exercise, it is crucial to exercise vigilance. Opting for a leisurely long walk instead of a vigorous morning run is a prudent choice to ensure the safety of the growing puppies.
Additionally, this is an opportune time to engage in a discussion with your veterinarian regarding your dog’s evolving dietary needs. The vet can offer valuable advice on potential supplements to support your dog’s delicate state and recommend suitable food options to ensure her well-being and the healthy development of the puppies.
As the fifth week of your dog’s pregnancy unfolds, a significant transition occurs as embryogenesis, the initial stage of gestation, draws to a close, paving the way for the second stage to commence. During this time, the developing puppies undergo rapid organ formation and substantial weight gain, transitioning from embryos to fetuses. Encouragingly, the risk of encountering developmental issues diminishes considerably from this point onward.
In the course of this week, the individual toes of the puppies begin to take shape, accompanied by the growth of their claws and whiskers. Additionally, their male and female reproductive organs begin to develop, allowing your veterinarian to determine the genders of the puppies through an ultrasound examination.
With the puppies entering a phase of accelerated weight gain, your dog will experience a noticeable increase in weight as well. Consequently, it becomes essential to adjust her diet and provide her with additional nourishment. Instead of sticking to two main meals, consider transitioning to multiple smaller meals to accommodate her changing needs.
Depending on your dog’s current diet, now might be an opportune time to consider switching to a specially formulated food designed for pregnant dogs. If you have any uncertainties or queries regarding your dog’s nutrition, it is advisable to seek guidance from your veterinarian. They can provide valuable insights into the appropriate quantity of food required during this stage of pregnancy and might even recommend the most suitable food for pregnant dogs.
As your dog enters the sixth week of pregnancy, a notable acceleration in the growth and development of the puppies takes place. During this crucial stage, the distinctive features of the puppies begin to manifest, while their bones and skeleton undergo the process of solidification.
At this juncture, your dog’s expanding belly becomes more pronounced, making her pregnancy evident to everyone around. If you haven’t already done so, it is imperative to make adjustments to her diet. Transitioning to a high-quality dog food specifically formulated for pregnant dogs becomes essential to prevent any potential nutritional deficiencies or inadequate calorie intake.
It is not uncommon for some dogs to experience a decrease in appetite during this stage, likely due to the discomfort associated with pregnancy. However, it is crucial to ensure that your dog receives an ample supply of calories to support the ongoing growth of the puppies. If your dog shows a reduced appetite, consider offering several smaller meals throughout the day or adopt a free-feeding approach by leaving food accessible for her to consume as needed.
Furthermore, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian during this period to assess whether any specific dietary supplementation is necessary for your dog. They can provide valuable guidance on whether additional nutrients or supplements would benefit her overall health and the well-being of the developing puppies.
As the seventh week of your dog’s pregnancy arrives, the remarkable development of the puppies continues to unfold. During this stage, their growth is marked by the emergence of hair, further solidifying their developing bones. It is not uncommon for your dog to begin shedding hair from her belly during this time, as she prepares herself for the impending arrival of the little ones. Rest assured, this shedding is a normal occurrence as dogs instinctively prepare for the birthing process.
Now is the opportune moment to focus on preparations for the upcoming birth of the puppies. Designating a dedicated whelping area is paramount during the seventh week of the dog’s pregnancy calendar. Select a calm and secluded location, away from frequent foot traffic, where your dog can feel secure and at ease while bringing her precious offspring into the world.
Take into consideration that your dog will spend several weeks with her puppies in the designated nursery area, so it is advisable to choose a room that will not be required for immediate use. The chosen birthing area should be warm and easily cleanable, ensuring a comfortable and hygienic environment for both the mother and her puppies. If you do not plan on frequent breeding, a simple yet suitable option for a whelping box could be a cardboard box lined with soft blankets, providing the necessary comfort and insulation.
In the eighth week of your dog’s pregnancy, a significant milestone is reached as the puppies’ skeletons attain complete formation. At this stage, your veterinarian has the option to perform an x-ray examination to accurately determine the size of the litter. However, it is crucial to note that this procedure is invasive, and the decision of whether it is necessary or not should be made in consultation with your veterinarian, considering the specific circumstances.
With the imminent arrival of the puppies, it is paramount to ensure that all necessary preparations have been made. Take this opportunity to meticulously review and make any final adjustments to the whelping area, ensuring its readiness for the forthcoming labor. Verify that you have all the essential supplies and equipment at hand to provide optimal care during this critical period.
Towards the conclusion of the eighth week, an unmistakable sign heralds the impending labor: your dog will begin lactating. Typically, most dogs commence lactation approximately one week prior to giving birth, offering you a valuable indication of when the puppies are likely to be born.
In order to enhance your dog’s comfort during the whelping process, it is advisable to consider trimming the hair surrounding her nipples and rear quarters. This thoughtful grooming practice serves to minimize potential mess and greatly facilitates the birthing and nursing journey for your dog, ensuring a smoother experience for both mother and puppies.
As your dog reaches this stage of her pregnancy, the moment of whelping could occur at any given time, necessitating your preparedness to warmly welcome the arrival of the new puppies. You may observe your dog displaying nesting behaviors, seeking comfort in her designated whelping box, and displaying restlessness and unease as she instinctively prepares for the impending birth.
Should your dog allow it, you have the option to begin monitoring her temperature, as a drop of approximately 1.8°F indicates that labor is imminent. However, it is important to exercise caution and consider your dog’s well-being and comfort above all else. If performing temperature measurements causes stress or discomfort for your dog, it is best to refrain from doing so.
Once your dog enters the labor phase, it is crucial to maintain a calm and supportive environment, refraining from displaying signs of stress or anxiety. Remember that most dogs possess innate maternal instincts and possess the capability to manage the birthing process unaided. Nevertheless, to provide peace of mind, it is advisable to inform your veterinarian that your dog has initiated the whelping process, ensuring they are on standby should any assistance be required during the labor and delivery.