How Long are Dogs Pregnant For?

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Have you ever asked yourself, for how long are dogs pregnant?

Puppies can be really exciting and if you are new to breeding or waiting for a puppy, you’ll be glad to know that dog’s pregnancies last considerably less than human pregnancies.

how long are dogs pregnant

If you want to know more, read on – we have gathered all the information you need:

The Reproductive Cycle in Dogs

In order to fully understand how and when your new puppy will come into existence, it’s best to start with the reproductive cycle, as this explains more about the different stages and how this may affect your wait.

As a breeder, being able to play this numbers game well will ensure you have excited buyers lined up in time and have properly scheduled in the amount of responsibility required of you.

Intact female dogs go into heat approximately every six months. This will vary depending on the breed of dog and the dog itself.

The heat cycle will last between 18 to 21 days. This cycle is broken into four stages, and these stages are used by breeders to determine the best time for putting mating pairs together.

Breeders can estimate the conception dates by keeping track of their dog’s heat cycle, and with some room for error, you can pin down exactly when the pregnancy will reach full term. This will also benefit the vet when taking pregnancy tests.

See also: How long are dogs in heat?

The Four Stages of a Dog’s Reproductive Cycle

how long are dogs pregnant for


This particular stage can last for around nine days, give or take depending on the dog’s age, health, and whether or not they’ve had complicated pregnancies in the past.

During this stage, the female will start to attract males. Usually females will reject male advances until stage two. The main signs: Swelling of the vulva and bloody discharge.


This second stage can last anywhere from 3-4 days to 7-11 days. During this time, the female will be interested in the males.

Some breeders will have a vet take vaginal smears and blood tests during these initial two stages to ensure they breed their dogs at the right time.

The main sign of this second stage is a soft and enlarged vulva and a decrease in discharge. The discharge can also be lighter in color during this stage.


This is the final stage in the cycle and usually occurs on day 14.

During this, the female’s discharge will become redder. The vulva will return to normal, and the dog will no longer allow mating.


The time frame between one heat cycle and the next is called anestrus.

This usually lasts around six months.

How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

Pregnancy in dogs is rather short compared to humans – lasting a total of nine weeks, barring any complications. Each day is extremely important, and knowing the gestation date is paramount for healthy puppies.

The average gestation period is 63 days from conception; however, this can vary by several days.

Conception can often be difficult to determine, as the sperm can live for up to a week inside the female. Eggs can remain fertile for up to 48 hours, so the act of mating itself isn’t the exact measurement of gestation.

how long are dogs pregnant for

Another method of measuring this time frame can be through hormone measurement. Some breeders will use vaginal smears and blood tests to help monitor the reproductive hormones during the process.

By doing so, this will help determine the length of pregnancy as well as the potential due date, so you can be certain to plan your schedule accordingly or notify a vet if it’s far overdue.

Stages of Dog Pregnancy

Dogs go through the stages of pregnancy fairly quickly, so puppies develop fast in the womb.

Stage 1

During the first month, the embryos are embedded in the uterine lining. This usually takes place on day 16.

The fetus will begin to take shape by 22, and it isn’t until day 30 that a veterinarian will be able to detect a heartbeat on an ultrasound.

Although most dogs won’t usually display symptoms during this stage, some dogs may show an increase in appetite, slightly enlarged nipples, as well as decreased activity and morning sickness.

Stage 2

The development of the fetus is very rapid during the second stage of pregnancy.

By days 32-35, eyelids and toes will be visible in an ultrasound. Claws usually form by day 40, and by day 50, an x-ray will be able to confirm how many puppies will be in the litter.

Common symptoms in stage two include: increased appetite, 20-50% weight gain, and behavioral changes.

Stage 3

During this last stage, puppy development will almost be complete.

Around day 58, the puppies will move into whelping position and to the birth canal.

The symptoms of this stage include: trim in waist due to puppy moving into the birth canal, appetite loss around day 60-62, and restless behavior.

Here’s a video showing tips on how to care for a pregnant dog.

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