Refer to this dog 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, here's some information to help you and your lady-in-waiting through the experience of being pregnant.
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 bitch's hormone levels to tell you when ovulation occurs.
NOTE: Make sure she is up-to-date on her vaccinations before breeding since her vaccine immunities will be passed along to her puppies.
After the breeding, things may seem quiet during this first week of the dog pregnancy calendar. Your bitch's 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 a steady amount of exercise, but don't overdo it. This should continue throughout the pregnancy.
Do not give your bitch any medications unless they have been approved by your vet. If she hasn't been wormed recently then you should worm her.
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.
It's also a good idea to add a multivitamin to your bitch's diet. However, do
not add extra calcium as this could lead to eclampsia later - the result of the bitch's calcium levels being out
During Week 5 of the dog 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 bitch's food at this time and begin changing her food to a good quality puppy kibble which will have more calories than her normal food.
By this time, your bitch should definitely look pregnant. You can further increase the food you are feeding your bitch.
It's time to set up a whelping box for your dam and the future puppies.
This should be a large square box or even a plastic swimming pool lined with a whelping pad, 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.
It's fine to build your own whelping box, or you can buy one. It's best to make one or buy one that has rails to protect the puppies from being squished.
During Week 7 of the dog 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 dog pregnancy calendar you will probably be able to see puppies moving around in the dam's tummy. If you feel her stomach you can feel them.
You may be able to express milk from the bitch's 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.
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 there's a problem. But don't 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!