RPBA encourages ethical and responsible breeding of all dog breeds, whether purebred or crossbred. For many, the journey of breeding and welcoming a litter of puppies into their family can be exciting. Before deciding whether or not to breed, it’s important to understand all of the hard work that goes into breeding, including how long dogs are pregnant and what to expect throughout the gestation period.
This article contains general information. Always consult with your veterinarian for medical advice specific to your animal/s.
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Generally, dogs are pregnant for 57 to 65 days, with most giving birth at around 63 days or 9 weeks. This goes for all dog breeds – a small breed dog will tend to have the same gestation period as a giant breed. However, this timeline can vary slightly depending on the individual dog.
For dog pregnancies that are pre-planned with a stud dog, it’s a good idea to make a note of the date of mating so that you know what day your dam is most likely to give birth.
The first trimester of dog pregnancy typically lasts around 21 days. During this time, your dog may not even begin to show outward signs that she is pregnant. You can generally continue with life as normal with your dog, giving them the same level of exercise and nutrition that they normally get.
Some dogs may feel slightly sick or unwell during the mornings – much like a human would – but this is relatively rare. If your dog vomits or appears to be lethargic for more than a few days, you may consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues.
With intentional breeding, you can schedule a prenatal checkup in this period and let your veterinarian know when your dog mated with the stud dog. Your vet may check your dog’s hormone levels or advise other noninvasive tests to determine whether or not your dog is pregnant.
During the second trimester of 21 days is when you will start to notice that your dog is pregnant. Her abdomen will continue to swell as the puppies grow larger inside her womb. Your dog’s nipples may enlarge and darken as her body prepares to produce milk for her puppies.
There is often no reason to change your dog’s routine during this trimester, and most pregnant dogs in this phase will be able to maintain normal day-to-day activities. However, some care should be taken to be mindful of activities that involve jumping or extended periods of running.
The third trimester starts around day 42 to 45 and continues until your dog gives birth. During this stage, you can expect your dog’s belly to really start growing larger in preparation for labour. You should also notice an increase in nesting behaviours such as digging or sniffing around for potential nesting sites where she plans on giving birth.
This is a good time to prepare a whelping box for your dog so that she doesn’t end up nesting under furniture or somewhere it’s hard to monitor her puppies.
At this point it is important to have a check-up with your vet, especially if your dog is a smaller breed. Your veterinarian will be able to determine whether the puppies are too big to pass though your dog’s birth canal, which means that she may need to have a C-section for a safe birth.
During this stage, it’s important that you remain patient with your pup since being pregnant can be very tiring for them. Make sure you are providing her with nutritious meals rich in vitamins and minerals as well as plenty of fresh water throughout the day. Exercise should be kept light during this time but still encouraged since it keeps their muscles strong for labour.
If you have done your research and understood all of the care and dedication that goes into being a responsible pet breeder, RPBA are here to help support your breeding journey from start to finish. We provide our members with downloadable and printable templates to assist breeders throughout each of the 9 weeks of pregnancy, and resources to help you throughout each of your puppy litter’s life stages. If you are interested in becoming a RPBA breeder, click the button below.
Newborn puppies are at a critical stage of development. RPBA provides its members with downloadable and printable templates to assist breeders throughout different stages of puppy life:
They have great resources for first time breeders like myself which made me feel a lot more comfortable knowing I have their ongoing support and guidance.
The discounts and specials they offer members saved me 10 times more than their membership fee. A no brainer. And the support from fellow RPBA breeders has been reassuring and welcoming too. Very happy!
RPBA has been excellent to deal with from start to finish. My application was processed within 24 hours and their breeder offerings are great.
I’ve already used some of their templates and the learning documents they provide also has made it easier for me to educate new families on health matters and ongoing care of the pups once they leave our home. Great to be part of a proactive and supportive group.
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