The average duration of pregnancy in dogs is approximately 63 days, although the timing of birth depends on the number of puppies in the litter: more puppies typically result in an earlier delivery. Newborn puppies generally arrive between 50-71 days after mating.
Calculating the exact duration of pregnancy can be imprecise, as puppies may be born earlier or later than expected. This could be due to inaccuracies in determining the moment of conception. For example, if a dog was mated three times, the difference between the first and last mating could be about a week. As a result, predicting the exact birth date of puppies can be challenging.
During the first month of pregnancy, it can be difficult to assess the dog’s condition. Only an ultrasound from around the third week can provide a relatively accurate determination of the number of puppies and their presence in the womb. By the fifth week of pregnancy, the dog’s belly begins to grow, its nipples enlarge and soften, and two weeks before birth, the puppies start to move in the womb, confirming pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it is crucial to be attentive and cautious with the dog. The dog should be active but not overworked, taking gentle walks in the fresh air. Its diet should be balanced and provided in small portions throughout the day. Avoid stressing the dog by frequently transporting it in a car or keeping it in stuffy rooms. Falls and jumps from heights are particularly dangerous. When lifting the dog, do so slowly, firmly holding it beneath its body and pressing it close to you.
You may continue with regular hygiene procedures, but they should be shorter and more gentle. Bathe the dog carefully, trim its nails, and a week before labor, shave its stomach and apply baby cream to prevent dryness.
If the dog exhibits unusual discharges from its genitals or shows signs of lethargy, contact your veterinarian immediately, as these could indicate a serious issue requiring medical intervention.
Dogs that have not been mated can experience “false pregnancy,” exhibiting symptoms similar to actual pregnancy. They may prepare a “nest” for puppies, have swollen nipples, and gather toys in the designated area. Veterinarians often prescribe sedatives in such cases, which can be caused by hormonal imbalances, such as excess progesterone and prolactin in the dog’s blood.
A “missed pregnancy” is a complication that occurs when a dog exhibits signs of pregnancy but the puppies “disappear” after about a month. The causes for this can range from harmless to life-threatening, such as sexually transmitted infections. It is highly recommended to schedule check-ups and consultations with your veterinarian after mating and during pregnancy, even if no abnormalities are observed in the dog’s behavior.