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Dog Pregnancy Week by Week

RPBA advocates for the ethical breeding of all dog breeds, whether purebred or crossbreeds. One of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of being a registered dog breeder is helping to bring a new litter of puppies into the world. However, it’s not always easy – especially if you’re caught by surprise. 

Knowing for sure can help you begin preparing for the arrival of puppies and ensure your dog has the best care during her pregnancy. Let’s talk about how to tell if your dog is pregnant and how to properly care for her throughout the journey.

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Dog pregancy week by week

How can you tell if your dog is pregnant?

The first sign that your dog may be pregnant is a change in her appetite. Most dogs will start eating more food than usual during pregnancy, so it’s a good idea to monitor your dog’s food intake. In addition, you may notice that she begins to gain weight or looks bloated due to the extra fluid retention common in pregnancy. 

Another sign of pregnancy in dogs is behavioural changes such as increased restlessness, irritability or clinginess. She may also seem more affectionate than usual, seeking out more cuddles and attention from you than normal. 

Behavioural changes are often accompanied by physical changes like swollen nipples and an enlarged abdomen. If your dog appears to be getting larger around the midsection and has darkened nipples, this could indicate that she’s pregnant. 

Of course, the most accurate way to determine whether your dog is pregnant is through testing. Your veterinarian can conduct a simple blood test or ultrasound exam – a blood test can detect hormone levels that are elevated during pregnancy, while an ultrasound can show images of developing puppies inside the uterus after about three weeks of gestation. 

Alternatively, they may perform abdominal palpation. By feeling the abdomen, a veterinarian can assess whether a dog is pregnant or not, as well as determine how far along she is in her pregnancy.

It’s important to note that abdominal palpation isn’t always 100 percent accurate and should never replace other diagnostic tests. However, it remains one of the most reliable methods available and with proper training and experience can offer valuable insight into a dog’s condition prior to birth.

Dog pregnancy week by week

A dog’s pregnancy generally lasts 63 days, though there is some variance depending on the dog.

Week Notes
Week 1 This is the first week after your dog has mated and is officially pregnant. During this period, there are no physical signs that your dog is pregnant; however, her reproductive organs are beginning to prepare for the upcoming puppies. Her uterus will start to thicken as it fills with fluid and goes through other changes to prepare for the puppies’ growth.
Week 2 By this point in your dog’s pregnancy, her body should have started producing progesterone. This hormone helps support the growing puppies in utero.
Week 3 During this week, your dog’s embryos will embed in the uterine lining – and will start to grow. At this stage in the pregnancy, she may start showing more obvious signs of being pregnant, such as increased appetite and more frequent urination due to her growing uterus pushing against her bladder.
Week 4 By now, all of the puppies in your dog’s womb are starting to grow rapidly. Your vet may be able to detect them on an ultrasound at this point in their development. Your dog may also begin to produce milk or colostrum (the nutrient-rich fluid produced before true milk).
Week 5 At this stage in your dog’s pregnancy, the foetuses are larger and more developed, with internal organs starting to form. Your dog should still be relatively mobile and energetic at this point, though you may want to be more careful with how she plays. It’s likely that your dog will gain weight, and you may need to adjust her diet if her appetite increases.
Week 6 Now your dog’s puppies are almost fully developed. The puppies’ skeletons and claws will start to solidify and harden. It’s at this point that the puppies will be visible through an x-ray. Your dog’s nipples will become enlarged and pigmented at this point, since lactation has begun and she is preparing to feed her offspring when they arrive.
Weeks 7–9 This is usually considered “full-term” in canine pregnancies; however, it can range anywhere from 56 to 72 days depending on breed size and other individual factors. Your dog’s puppies will be ready to come out any day now. You might notice that she has stopped eating much at all as labour nears and her discomfort grows.

When in doubt, consult your veterinarian

While most pregnancies will go smoothly, there is always a chance for something to go wrong. Monitor your dog’s health closely throughout their pregnancy, and bring them to the vet if you are ever in doubt or have any concerns. Your vet will have more specific recommendations as they will have a clearer understanding of your dog’s health and needs.

RPBA encourages all breeders to be responsible when breeding their dogs. To help our members get through the 9 weeks of dog pregnancy with a little stress and worry as possible, we provide our members with downloadable and printable templates to assist breeders throughout different stages of life. Get access to these resources and more by clicking the button below.

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Easy to follow puppy checklists & templates

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:

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Customer reviews


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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