How Long Are Dogs Pregnant For

Are you worried about your pregnant furry friend?
You might be asking yourself, “How long are dogs pregnant for?” “What are the signs that she's already pregnant?” “How can I help her and myself be more prepared?”
No need to fret about your dog anymore.

How Long Are Dogs Pregnant For?

A dog’s pregnancy, also called a gestation period, usually lasts about 58–68 days.
However, predicting the timing of the birth can be tricky. For starters, the breeding date doesn’t typically match the date of conception.
Moreover, the pregnancy duration can vary depending on the breed and litter size. So, the first thing you have to be aware of is your dog’s breed.

Signs That Your Dog Is Pregnant

There are typically three stages in a dog’s gestation period. The most notable signs are usually in the second and third stages.
Here’s what you need to look for in each of the three stages.

Stage 1

In the first four weeks, you’ll notice:
  • Lethargy: this includes drowsiness, fluctuating appetite, and even not wanting to play
  • Dark nipples: due to increased blood flow, there may also be some swelling
  • Erratic behavior: either demanding more attention or acting quieter than usual

Stage 2

In the following 4–6 weeks, you’ll see:
  • Morning sickness: usually affects dogs due to hormonal changes by the end of the third or fourth week
  • Increased appetite: due to hormonal changes, it’ll seem like your pooch is always hungry
  • Belly size: a direct result of the growing size of the unborn puppies and extra pregnancy weight

Stage 3

At this point, you're not looking for any symptoms of pregnancy. Instead, you’re more likely to spend this time searching for an explanation for certain odd behaviors, as well as simply looking after your dog’s wellbeing.
Take a look at what happens during the last stage:
  • Nesting: your dog will start to tear bedsheets and gather toys in an out-of-sight area where she feels safe to create a nest for her pups
  • Shedding: dogs will shed their undercoat in preparation for the suckling puppies about to arrive
  • Lactating: on average, lactation begins a week before the birth date

Visiting The Vet

If you don’t think you can tell the signs on your own, visiting the nearest vet might be a good idea.
There are multiple ways a vet can help you, such as:


After the first 3–4 weeks, a vet can perform an ultrasound to determine if there’s a pregnancy. It can also help you find out how big this litter can be.

Hormonal Test

Pregnant dogs produce a hormone called Relaxin. After the first month, your vet can perform a hormone test to check if your dog is producing this hormone and that she’s on the right track.


Effective only after the 8th week, x-rays are one of the surest ways to determine if your dog is pregnant or not. It’ll also give you an accurate count of how many puppies to expect.

How To Care For A Pregnant Dog

Seeing our furry friends in discomfort and pain is heartbreaking. Therefore, it’s best to start preparing for the gestation period from the beginning.
Here’s what to do:


Pregnant dogs shouldn’t do any intensive activity. Like other expectant mothers, pregnancy in dogs requires gentle, non-strenuous exercise.
During their gestation period, the moms usually benefit from: regular daily walks, gentle playtime, and loads of attention. The important thing is to avoid overstimulating your dog with lots of noise and activities.
It’s best to keep a pregnant dog apart from other dogs and animals during the last three weeks of pregnancy. During this period, it’s better to stick to indoor activities rather than going outdoors.


In the first four weeks, you can feed your dog her usual amount of high-quality dog food. These foods usually contain all the right amounts of nutrients required.
Try to avoid homemade food, as it may not contain all the necessary nutrients a pregnant dog needs.
Over the final few weeks of the pregnancy, your dog will be consuming about 50% more than she did before. However, she might not be able to eat it all in one meal due to the puppies pushing on her stomach.
A good idea is to divide her food into smaller, more frequent portions throughout the day.
Another helpful tip is to avoid adding any minerals, vitamins, or calcium to your dog’s food unless instructed by the doctor.


Last but not least, it’s time to take care of the newborn puppies properly without agitating the mom or scaring her..


You should know that their mother can take care of her puppies in the first few weeks, all on her own. So, there’s no need to touch or hold the newborn pups unless there’s an emergency.
The puppies will be able to move around on their own after about three weeks. After that, you can begin to interact with them.


New pups still can’t regulate their body’s temperature. So, keeping them warm should be at the top of your list. Make sure there are enough soft blankets for all of the puppies inside that nesting box.

The Mother

Because the pups’ survival depends on their time with the mom, it's best to avoid separating them from her under any circumstance.
Hence, make sure the mother’s time with her puppies is uninterrupted.


There’s no need to feed the puppies anything. Their mother’s milk provides the nutrients they need for a strong immune system and healthy development.
They usually feed every three to four hours. Bear in mind that they won’t be able to eat solid food until they’re approximately four weeks old.


When it comes to your dog's pregnancy, knowing how long dogs are pregnant is essential. You’ll be well-prepared to care for your pregnant dog and for the puppies about to arrive.
Make sure to consult with your veterinarian for any questions you might still have to ensure a safe, happy doggie pregnancy.