The normal pregnancy or gestation of a dog.
You have a dog who is pregnant or you think about taking a litter with your dog. Then of course many questions will come to you. On this page we answer most questions we get about the pregnancy or pregnancy of a dog.
The heat of the bitch
A bitch normally runs at least twice a year (some races once a year). This heat lasts on average three weeks with a spread of two to four weeks. After about two weeks the ovulation takes place and the bitch is fertile. However, this can vary considerably per bitch. There are bitches that ovulate on day 7 of the heat, some only on day 21 !. Usually, however, this occurs from day 9 to day 15. After ovulation, the egg is about two days viable and fertile. The semen of the dog stays for a very long time to fertilize an egg, up to 10 days! That is why it is so difficult to estimate in dogs when the fertilization took place exactly in the dog. In theory, it is possible that a bitch who has become pregnant has ovulated 2 days before the cover or 10 days after. This is a spread of practically two weeks!
The pregnancy or pregnancy of the dog
After successful coverage, the bitch gets pregnant from 1 to sometimes 15 puppies. Often larger dogs have larger nests than small dog breeds. A female bitch is on average 64 days pregnant, but there is a large spread. The gestation normally lasts between 57-69 days. A dog often prefers a big litter a little earlier.
In the beginning the pregnancy is not yet visible externally. As the pregnancy progresses, the abdominal circumference increases. Of course, this also depends heavily on the number of pups that the dog carries. The milk glands of the bitch become larger and milk production can take place just before the delivery. The delivery itself is a strong stimulus for the mammary glands to start producing milk by releasing the hormone prolactin which causes the mammary glands to produce milk and contract the uterus. A bitch normally has 10 nipples, sometimes less. This does not mean, however, that a bitch always produces enough milk to feed 10 pups.
The feeding needs of the pregnant bitch
In the beginning of the pregnancy, a pregnant dog does not need extra food. Depending on the number of puppies the mother bitch carries, the feed requirement increases as the gestation progresses. From about the last third of the gestation a pregnant dog needs more nutrition. A good puppy food is a good choice for a pregnant bitch.
How do I know if my dog is pregnant?
It can be difficult to assess whether a dog is pregnant without research. Of course, at the end of the pregnancy this is usually visible externally, but the first 45-50 days can sometimes be very difficult. A bitch who is fake pregnant can be very difficult to distinguish from a bitch that is really pregnant. That is why it is best to have the pregnancy confirmed by a veterinarian if in doubt. The most reliable method to determine gestation is with ultrasound. From day 21 it is theoretically possible to see with ultrasound if a bitch is pregnant. Because it is very difficult to determine exactly when the ovulation has taken place we advise to do this later. Between day 25-30 is optimal. Usually a good estimate can be made with echo how many puppies are present.
Later in the pregnancy of the dog, the diagnosis can also be made with X-ray. From day 43, ossification occurs and the puppies can be imaged with X-rays. Our advice is to only have this done from day 45 for greater reliability. With x-ray it is also possible to say exactly how many puppies are expected.
What measures should I take for the delivery of my dog?
A pregnant dog can still go outside during her pregnancy and do everything she normally does. By the end of the pregnancy, the abdominal circumference (properly) increases and it is advisable to no longer make heavy efforts. It is best to give her a special place where she can give birth. This can be her basket in a specially equipped place in the house. It is useful that this is a delimited place so that the pups can not crawl away. In addition, it is important that the place is well warm. Shortly after birth, a puppy can not properly regulate his or her body temperature himself. The ideal ambient temperature for a newborn puppy is 25 degrees Celsius. Often a heat lamp is hung up for extra heat. Please note, however, that it is not too close to mother and pups to prevent burns. The ground can best be covered with newspapers so that the spot can easily be cleaned.
What should I pay attention to with my newborn pups?
It is important to check the pups at e after delivery