How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

A Poodle Dog Feeding the Puppies

Have you ever wondered how long are dogs pregnant? Well the answer is dogs are pregnant for about 63 days, which is approximately nine weeks.

This period, known as the gestation period, can vary slightly depending on the breed and size of the dog.

Early Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs

Once a dog becomes pregnant, early signs might not be immediately apparent.

However, within a few weeks, symptoms can include mild lethargy, slight changes in appetite, and possibly a more affectionate demeanor.

As the pregnancy progresses, physical changes will become more obvious.

The female dog’s abdomen will grow, and her nipples may become larger and darker.

The Stages of Dog Pregnancy

Dog pregnancy is generally divided into three stages, each lasting roughly 21 days.

During the first stage, you might not notice many outward changes, although the dog’s body is preparing for the developing puppies.

In the second stage, the dog begins to show, and by the third stage, she is usually quite large, and her movements may slow down.

When Do Dogs Go Into Labor?

As the end of the pregnancy approaches, you’ll need to watch for signs of labor, which include nesting behavior and restlessness.

Dogs typically go into labor within 48 hours after their body temperature drops below 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do Dogs Give Birth?

Dogs give birth through a process called whelping. Most dogs handle birth well and don’t need much help. However, it’s important to provide a quiet, comfortable space where the dog can feel safe.

  • Set Up a Whelping Box: Create a comfortable, safe space for your dog to give birth and care for her puppies. This should be a quiet area away from busy parts of the house. Line the whelping box with clean, soft bedding that can be easily replaced, such as old towels or blankets.
  • Gather Necessary Supplies: Prepare a kit with necessary items including clean towels, scissors, sterile gloves, a bulb syringe for clearing puppies’ airways, and iodine for cleaning the puppies’ umbilical cords. Having a phone number for your vet or an emergency clinic readily available is also crucial.

During the Birth

  • Monitor Labor: Watch for signs of labor, which include nesting behavior, restlessness, and panting. Normal labor can last from a few hours to a full day. If your dog seems excessively uncomfortable or distressed, contact your veterinarian.
  • Assist if Necessary: Most dogs can give birth without human intervention. However, you may need to help if a puppy is born inside its amniotic sac and the mother does not break it. Gently tear the sac open and clear the puppy’s mouth and nose to breathe. Use a bulb syringe if necessary.
  • Ensure All Puppies Are Nursing: After birth, ensure each puppy finds its way to the mother’s nipple and begins to nurse. This is crucial as the first milk, or colostrum, contains antibodies essential for the puppies’ immune systems.

Post-Birth Care

Adult Short-coated Tan and White Dog Sleeping on Gray Textile at Daytime
  • Keep the Area Clean: Replace soiled bedding frequently to maintain a clean and hygienic environment for the mother and her puppies.
  • Monitor the Mother: Post-birth, your dog will need plenty of rest and increased nutrition to help her recover and produce enough milk for her puppies. Monitor her for signs of postpartum complications, such as excessive bleeding, fever, or behavior indicating pain.
  • Check on the Puppies: Ensure that the puppies are warm enough and continue to nurse regularly. Puppies should not lose weight after the first day; if they do, consult your vet.
  • Veterinary Check-Up: Schedule a postpartum vet visit to check the health of the mother and her puppies. The vet can ensure that all the placentas were delivered and check the overall health of the newborns.
  • During the Birth: Monitor your dog’s labor to ensure there are no complications. Puppies are usually born every 30 to 60 minutes, with a rest period in between. It’s normal for the mother to take a break during whelping, so don’t be alarmed if there is a pause in the delivery.

Postpartum Care

After all the puppies have been born, it’s important to ensure they are nursing properly and the mother is comfortable.

Check that the puppies latch onto the mother’s nipples and monitor their progress over the first few days.

Causes of Postpartum Issues in Dogs

Several factors can contribute to postpartum issues in dogs:

  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations after birth can impact a dog’s mood and behavior.
  • Physical Exhaustion: The physical demands of labor and caring for newborn puppies can be exhausting.
  • Nutritional Deficiency: Proper nutrition is crucial during the nursing period. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to health and mood issues.
  • Medical Problems: Conditions like eclampsia (milk fever), mastitis, or infections can also influence the dam’s behavior and health.


Understanding the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care of dogs helps ensure the health and safety of both the mother and her puppies.

By providing the right support and environment, you can help make the process as smooth as possible.

By keeping informed about the signs and stages of dog pregnancy, you can prepare adequately for the arrival of new puppies and ensure they receive the best start in life.