Canine Pregnancy Calendar
Refer to this canine pregnancy calendar as your weekly guide to what is happening during the dog pregnancy stages.
For many dog lovers there is nothing as happy and exciting as having a litter of puppies. If you think you may be
expecting a litter, then here is some information to help you and your dam through the experience of being pregnant.
Canine Pregnancy Calendar - Ovulation
Everything really begins when your dog ovulates. Most bitches are ready to be bred within about two
days from this time. If your bitch is bred then, you can expect puppies exactly 63 days post ovulation. Even if
your bitch is bred a little later, puppies will come 63 days after ovulation, not 63 days after breeding. If you
are trying to plan this breeding, your vet can test your bitchs hormone levels to tell you when ovulation occurs.
After the breeding, things may seem quiet during this first week of the canine pregnancy calendar. Your bitchs
progesterone levels have spiked and are dropping back to a steady level. That means that male dogs are losing interest
in her. She may seem more like her old self and not interested in breeding.
Continue to feed her as normal. Make sure
she is getting plenty of exercise. This should continue throughout the pregnancy. Do not give your bitch any medications
unless they have been approved by your vet. If she hasnt been wormed recently then you should worm her. Make sure
she is up-to-date on her vaccinations since her vaccine immunities will be passed along to her puppies.
At this time the future puppies are still miniscule. They are just now entering the uterus.
During Week 3 (around Day 21), the embryos will finally implant themselves in the uterine wall. This
will cause a change in hormones for your bitch which may make her a little queasy for a day or two (morning sickness for dogs). She may not want to eat much during this time. This can be a good indication that your dog is pregnant.
Around Day 28, up to Day 35, your veterinarian should be able to palpate your bitch and feel if there
are any puppies present. This is also the time to do an ultrasound to see if puppies are in the uterus. At this
time the puppies grow from about 5-10 mm to about 14-16 mm. They begin to have discernible faces and spinal cords.
The dam may have a clear, odorless vaginal discharge. Some bitches may have some mammary development at this time.
You should limit your bitch from any strenuous activity, but do continue to see that she exercises. Good muscles
will make whelping easier for her. Its also a good idea to add a multivitamin to your bitchs diet. However, do
not add extra calcium as this could lead to eclampsia later the result of the bitchs calcium levels being out
During Week 5 of the canine pregnancy calendar, the embryos start to look like little dogs. They are
clearly male or female. They have toes and claws and even whiskers. The dam will begin to put on weight. If your
bitch has long hair you may want to cut the hair around her stomach so the puppies will have an easier time nursing.
You can start increasing the bitchs food at this time and begin changing her food to a good quality puppy kibble
which will have more calories than her normal food.
Canine Pregnancy Calendar - Birth Preparations
By this time, your bitch should definitely look pregnant. You can further increase the food you are
feeding your bitch. Its time to set up a whelping box for your dam and the future puppies. This should be a
large square box or plastic swimming pool to allow your bitch to stretch out with the puppies. She can deliver
the puppies in this box and later they can all sleep and nurse there for several weeks. Its fine
to build your
own whelping box
, or you can buy one. Its best to make one or
buy one that has rails to protect the puppies from being squished.
During Week 7 of the canine pregnancy calendar the puppies are getting bigger. The dam is getting larger.
She may be having trouble eating now so make sure that you are offering her several small meals during the day.
You may have to tempt her to eat by putting something special on her food.
During Week 8 of the canine pregnancy calendar you will probably be able to see puppies moving around
in the dams tummy. If you feel her stomach you can feel them. After Day 57 the puppies can be born anytime.
Be prepared. Have your vets number handy. If you have a friend who has whelped puppies before, consider having
them on standby to come and help you. Have a whelping kit prepared with things you will need for the delivery.
You may be able to express milk from the bitchs nipples at this time.
Many people like to have an x-ray taken after day 56 to determine how many puppies are present. This way they will
know when the dam is through with the delivery. They can also make sure there are no potential problems ahead with
the delivery such as an overly large puppy that might need a C-section.
Your bitch is probably already nesting and trying to find a place to have the puppies. Encourage her to
use the whelping box. By Day 57 you should start taking her temperature 3-5 times per day. Once the temperature
drops from 101 to 99 degrees and goes up again, whelping is imminent. Its just a matter of waiting impatiently
until the puppies come. Try to stay calm and be supportive of your bitch.
In most cases whelping goes just fine and there are no problems. Keep your vets number handy and be prepared to
take your bitch and the puppies to your vet if there are any problems.
If your bitch is in active labor for more than two hours without producing a puppy you should call your
veterinarian. Or, if you just have a hunch that something is wrong, get in the car with your dog and go.
Sometimes people just know when theres a problem. But dont forget that dogs have been delivering puppies
for thousands of years and most of the time everything goes very smoothly, as nervous as you may feel.
Good luck with your new litter!
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