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Canine Pregnancy; Everything You Should Know!


You may have made the big decision to breed your dog, or perhaps you adopted one who may be pregnant. Facing pregnancy in any species can be an overwhelming scenario, but if you are prepared with the basic knowledge you need about your dog’s pregnancy you can help her and your family pass through this special time as stress free as possible!

Gestation, how long are dogs pregnant?

A lot of people ask the question, how long are dogs pregnant. Surprisingly, there is a lot of misinformation out there. After mating occurs, your female’s eggs will be fertilized by the male’s sperm. Then, gestation happens! This is when the puppies become puppies inside your female’s uterus. Gestation usually takes 63 days on average, but can be slightly shorter or longer. During the first half of the gestation your female can remain her normal daily schedule of exercise and her normal diet. It is not until the second half that you need to take special care and precautions to ensure her safety for a smooth delivery and health puppies as a result!

During that second half of gestation, you will want to slow down her exercise quite a bit, but do not take it away completely. She may begin to lose interest in moving around too much, but encouraging her to take short, slow walks is a great way to keep her health and strength up while maintaining a good weight for her and her puppies!

Her diet should contain more fat and calcium than what she is used to! Her growing puppies are using up a lot of her nutritional resources in her body so that they can grow to be healthy dogs by delivery, and she needs that extra nutrition to maintain her own health! Many quality breeders will choose to provide a puppy formula and calcium supplements to their female during gestation so they have that peace of mind in knowing that both their female and their unborn puppies are getting everything they need!

Labor and Birth

Most of the time, your dog can handle the labor and birth all on her own. Her instincts will guide her so that she knows what to do and how to care for her newborn puppies. It’s common for her to chew off and eat the puppy’s umbilical cords and clean them by eating the sack and mess that comes with the birthing process. When she cleans them off, her warm tongue stimulates the puppies to clear their lungs and take their first breaths of fresh air!

Sometimes, though, a new mom may need some extra help getting through the painful labor. Stand by just in case your dog needs you during this time. If she takes too long between delivering puppies or seems to be in an extraordinary amount of pain or distress it is time to consult your veterinarian!

Cesarian sections are normal in domestic dog breeding, but most of the time it is not always needed. Many breeders choose to have this surgery to make sure all puppies come out safe and sound with risk of labor. However, some are due to an emergency in which the female is having trouble delivering on her own. In this case sometimes the female is spayed at the same time, depending on the issue with the puppies. If one is stuck, it is critical that a veterinarian frees the puppy for both his sake and for that of the mother. A stuck puppy, if left alone, could be fatal.

Critical Thinking

Before ever making the decision to breed your dog or even rescue one that is already pregnant, you should learn all you can about the entire process from conception to weaning the puppies. One mistake or wrong assumption can easily lead to the death of a puppy or the mom, and it is entirely preventable! Use your critical thinking skills so that the entire experience is a safe and enjoyable one for all involved!

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