Puppies are adorable. Your excitement is understandable and the wait for a puppy, either from a breeder or when your dog is expecting her first litter, might seem eternal. Luckily, the gestation period of a dog is a lot shorter than that of humans. But, how long is the gestation period of a dog?
Though there are a few physical pregnancy signs in dogs, it can be hard to determine if a dog is expectant without a veterinary diagnostics. Particularly, during the early stages, since there are some medical conditions which have symptoms that are mistakable for those of that show during pregnancy.
Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy in dogs.
Human beings have developed instant pregnancy tests, which make it easy find out whether or not we are expecting. This is not the case for dogs. It’s likely that you will have to visit your vet to know if your pet is pregnant.
When possible, make sure to notify your vet the exact time when your pet dog was bred, or the best estimation of the time period, since all pregnancy-testing methods for the dogs are time sensitive.
Vets use four methods to help determine if a pet dog is pregnant:
This is the ideal way to determine if your dog is expectant early on in gestation. Veterinarians advocate for ultrasounds between days 25 – 35 of gestation.
An ultrasound will not only notice pregnancy, they determine fetal heartbeat to know if they are alive. They can also help rule out any other causes of uterine enlargements, like a pyometra. They can even help figure out the gestational age of a fetus. You can even get a portable ultrasound scanner to Do-It-Yourself.
Vets will test for the relaxin hormone to find out if a dog is pregnant. Relaxin hormone is released from the placental tissues only during pregnancy.
Making hormone test a fairly accurate identification test. But, a dog must be about 30 days into her pregnancy for this test to get accurate results. Tests are done before this might indicate a false negative.
X-rays are a good way for breeders to find out how many puppies they are to expect from their dog. They are the most effective late in pregnancy since the fetal spine and skull do not become visible on x-rays until after days 42 to 45. Waiting to after day 55 will let vets give a precise count of how many puppies are expected and to work out the best time for the elective cesarean.
This is the cheapest option and also the most convenient way for you to determine a dog’s pregnancy. While each fetus grows, the membranes surrounding them grow also to make fluid-filled sacs. It is possible to feel these sacs on day 21 and 35 of a dog’s gestation (about 3- 4 weeks).
These will then grow to reach the sizing of a table tennis ball for a 45-pound dog. After a month, these sacs will lose their typical shape, and then the uterus gets a floppy feel that may be mistaken for pyometra or fat.
Puppies are coming – but when? This is what most expectant parent will be asking.
The regular gestation period of a dog is 65 – 75 days I.e from conception all through to birth. That’s roughly 9 weeks, and that is rather fast for a dog mum to grow from 3 to 12 squirmy bundles of love.
Expect your brand new dogs in around 9 to 10 weeks!
If you are not a breeder, this is normally a good time frame to work with and ensure you are ready for this big event.
However, breeding is a totally different story altogether and it often involves the careful planning of breeding and the many hormone tests done before and also after insemination.
The last several days before the D-day are mostly marked with changing of the dog’s behavior. So, this should not surprise you.
After the gestational period has gone along, labor begins. This is marked by three stages of labor.
This lasts 12- 24 hours and it’s often not noticeable outwardly. Contractions within the uterus’ muscular wall increase all through stage one. That is both in frequency and strength, but there’s no visible evidence of contractions. Instead, look for the below signs of labor in your dog:
In this stage, puppies are delivered. This stage might last for a period of 1- 24 hours and the dog delivers one pup at a time.
Every delivery will not last beyond 1- 2 hours and it usually occurs after every 30- 60 minutes. This is why it can be helpful that you know the entire number of puppies expected. This way, dog owners know once the dog is finished at stage two. Then they can call a veterinarian when they think their dog is experiencing some difficulty.
In this stage, the placenta is delivered. Stage two and three normally occur around the same span. Stage three is only complete once all the placentas get delivered. This process normally occurs shortly after the second stage is finished.
You must contact your vet doctor if your dog’s labor goes beyond 24 hours, or when over 2 hours go by in between deliveries. This might be an indication of some serious complication. Meaning that both the dog and the unborn puppies’ lives might be at risk.
Though there are a few physical pregnancy signs in dogs, it can be even harder to determine if a dog is expectant without a veterinary diagnostics. Luckily, vets have four methods that they use to find out if a dog is expecting. These are Ultrasound, Hormone tests, X-ray, and Palpation. Feed you dog with fruits they love to eat, too. These will help you prepare for the puppies and know when they will come.