Tips for Dog Pregnancy Care and Preparation

Tips for Dog Pregnancy Care and Preparation

When it comes to dog pregnancy, understanding and preparation are key to ensuring the health and safety of both the expecting mother and her puppies. From recognizing the early signs of pregnancy to knowing what care is necessary during the gestation period, this comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about dog pregnancy.

Dog Pregnancy Months

Dog pregnancy or gestation typically lasts about 63 days (around two months), though this can vary slightly depending on the breed and number of puppies. Knowing how to tell if your dog is pregnant is crucial for early care.

Symptoms of Dog Pregnancy

  • Change in Appetite: Early in pregnancy, some dogs may experience a slight decrease in appetite, but it often increases later.
  • Behavior Changes: Your dog might become either unusually affectionate or withdrawn.
  • Physical Changes: As the pregnancy progresses, you’ll notice weight gain and swollen nipples. Later on, you might even see abdominal distention.
  • Decreased Activity: As her body works harder to support her pregnancy, a pregnant dog may become less active.

How to tell if your dog is pregnant at home?

  • Veterinary Visit: A vet can confirm dog pregnancy as early as three weeks into the gestation period through a blood test, ultrasound, or a physical examination.
  • Abdominal Palpation: Skilled veterinarians can sometimes feel the puppies between 28-35 days through palpation, but this method can risk harming the fetuses if not done correctly.
  • Ultrasound: This can confirm a dog pregnancy and offer a visual of the developing puppies, typically around 25 days into the pregnancy.

Caring for a Pregnant Female Dog

Once pregnancy is confirmed, the care you provide for your dog will need to adjust to accommodate her changing needs.

Nutrition During Pregnancy

  • Quality Diet: Increase her intake of high-quality, nutrient-rich foods gradually, especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy when the majority of puppy growth occurs.
  • Vitamins and Supplements: Consult with your veterinarian on any needed supplements to ensure the health of the mother and her puppies.

Exercise and Comfort

  • Moderate Exercise: Regular, gentle exercise can help keep your pregnant dog healthy, but avoid strenuous activities that might stress her.
  • Comfortable Resting Area: Provide a quiet, comfortable space for your dog to rest. As her body grows, she’ll appreciate having a peaceful place to relax.

Preparing for Delivery

As the delivery time approaches, it's important to prepare for the birth of the puppies.

  • Whelping Box: Set up a whelping box in a quiet corner of your home about two weeks before the expected birth date. This will give her time to get used to it.
  • Know the Signs of Labor: As the due date nears, watch for signs of labor, which include restlessness, panting, shivering, or nesting behavior.

Stages of Dog Pregnancy

Understanding the stages of dog pregnancy can help you provide appropriate care at each phase:

  1. First Month (Days 1-30): Fertilization occurs, and the embryos begin to develop. You might not notice many outward signs at this stage.
  2. Second Month (Days 31-60): This is when major development happens. The fetuses grow skeletons and develop organs. This is typically when symptoms become noticeable.
  3. Last Days (Days 61-63): Prepare for birth. Labor could start at any time during this period.

Monitoring Health During Pregnancy

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial during dog pregnancy to monitor the health of the mother and the development of the puppies. Your vet can provide you with information on what to expect during delivery and when to intervene if necessary.


Caring for a pregnant dog requires attention, patience, and proper knowledge of the pregnancy process. By ensuring your dog gets the right care, nutrition, and comfort during her pregnancy, you're setting the stage for a successful delivery and healthy puppies. Remember, always keep in contact with your veterinarian and seek their advice whenever uncertainties arise. With the right preparation, you can look forward to the joyous arrival of new puppies in your home.