Whether you have a breed dog, or your family pet is pregnant by a happy accident, your dog will need different care. Knowing how long a dog stays pregnant can help you better prepare for that care.
Your dog’s needs will change during her pregnancy, and her gestation period isn’t very long. Planning for her pregnancy is best started before she gets pregnant.
Here are some dog pregnancy tips and information about how long dogs stay pregnant.
How Long do Dogs Stay Pregnant?
Your dog’s entire gestation period is actually quite short. She will only be pregnant for about two months. That means her nutritional requirements will go up during this time. You want her to be able to have a healthy litter. If you already give your dog a high protein food, you will not likely need to change food for her.
If you are not sure if your dog is pregnant, take her to your vet, and they can perform a diagnostic test to determine if she is. Once you know that she is pregnant, you will notice a lot of changes in her rather quickly.
How to Tell if my Dog is Pregnant?
There are a few signs you can keep an eye out for while trying to determine if your dog is pregnant.
She may be eating more or seem to be hungry. You will also notice that she is gaining weight or starting to look rounder. You will also notice her nipples getting larger and fuller as she produces milk.
If you are not sure, you should always take her to the vet to make sure. They can take x-rays, determine if she is pregnant by feeling her abdomen, or give her an ultrasound.
Caring for Your Pregnant Dog
There are a few steps you can take to make sure your dog is as healthy and comfortable as possible during her pregnancy.
Your dog will need to have proper nutrition during her pregnancy. Always consult your veterinarian to see what they recommend. As her pregnancy continues, you can feed her a bit more that you normally would, to help get those puppies up to a good healthy weight.
In the last few weeks, give her smaller meals of higher protein food. As the puppies get bigger, they will take up more space, and it may be difficult for her to eat more substantial portions.
It is recommended that you give her puppy food in the last few weeks, as it has a higher calorie count and more nutrition. Start her on this puppy food about halfway through the pregnancy and continue it while she is nursing.
Make sure she still gets her daily exercise. Walks in the park and fresh air will help her stay fit and mobile. Avoid anything too strenuous in her later stages of pregnancy.
Also, avoid areas with a lot of other dogs to avoid fighting or any chance of her becoming injured. Even getting overstimulated around other dogs can cause undue stress.
During the last few weeks, it’s best to keep her away from other animals and maintain her daily exercise at home. Let her out in your backyard if that is an option. Otherwise, make sure she has regular walks around the house indoors.
She may not feel like moving as much, so don’t force her to exercise. She may be experiencing some discomfort, so let her rest. You also want to avoid other animals in the park to avoid any type of parasites or other infections she may encounter.
Visit the Vet
Visit your vet regularly. Even though your dog does not stay pregnant for very long, you want to make sure everything is okay, and her puppies are developing normally.
The vet will be able to determine if anything is wrong or if you may be looking at complications. They can keep an eye on her for any signs of discomfort or illness.
Ask them what to expect and any signs that may indicate there is something that isn’t right. If this is your first time caring for a pregnant dog, it’s common to nervous. Ask your vet for advice.
You need to watch your pregnant dog for any signs that things may be out of the ordinary. Watch for pain or discomfort, bleeding, or discharge or if she seems lethargic or lacking energy.
If you notice anything that seems unusual, take her to the vet right away. It could be nothing. It could be problematic. You don’t want to take any chances with your dog or her puppies.
Preparing for the Birth
You will need to prepare a quiet, clean space for your dog to have her puppies. A whelping box is ideal, but you can construct your own. It needs to have high sides, and you will need to line it with absorbent disposable pads.
Keep a few first aid tools handy, just in case. Have clean lining pads or a clean towel or blanket for her bed or the whelping box. Keep some disposable gloves handy and many even an aspiration bulb in case the puppies need help.
Your dog should not require any help during her birthing, but you want to monitor her situation to make sure there are no complications. Make sure all puppies are accounted for and safe, watch that all puppies can nurse, and none are being rejected to having difficulties.
Let Her Tell You
While your dog isn’t talking to you, she will still be letting you know how she is by her behavior. Keep an eye on her and watch for anything that doesn’t seem right. Pretend you are her emotional support helper instead of the other way around.
It’s better to be overcautious than to assume it’s all okay. You want to make her pregnancy as comfortable and pleasant as possible, so it’s up to you to make sure everything moves along smoothly.
Her pregnancy is a very short time, and a lot can happen, so take care, keep vigilant, and enjoy her pregnancy with her.