From approximately six months old (smaller breed dogs as young as four months can begin), usually lasting throughout the rest of her life, a female dog will experience estrus, or heat, about every six months. She’s going to be receptive to mating during this time. You’ll notice more frequent urination, bleeding, swelling of her vulva and increased nervousness or alertness. Although it depends per breed, a dog’s heat cycle will normally last from 2-4 weeks.
However, recommended sexual maturity isn’t reached until 2 years of age.
- Average females can experience heat cycles from six months
- Normally last from 2-4 weeks
Dog Pregnancy – Labor
This first stage of dog pregnancy lasts about 12- 24 hours. During this stage, the dog’s cervix begins to dilate and uterine contractions will begin. The female may moan, whimper, or pant during labor.
Stage one ends when the puppy first passes into the pelvic canal.
Stage two begins when the female dog actively begins to push her pups out. It usually takes 1-4 strong contractions to deliver each pup.
The amniotic sac should present itself first, followed by the puppy. The female should remove the sac herself; if she doesn’t, you need to do this so her puppy can breathe.
If the female doesn’t sever the umbilical cord herself, again you need to clamp and cut it.
- It’s very important that owners display a calm, relaxed demeanor at this point. Remaining as calm as possible will help the dog; she’ll likely reflect any nervousness or anxiety.
Stage three of dog pregnancy marks the delivery of the placenta. Each pup has a placenta it’s usually delivered with. The female mother will usually eat the placenta (some human cultures practice this as well); the placenta does contain nutritional value.
You’ll know when the cycle is over; her vulva will return to its’ normal size, and the bleeding will stop. For the first 3 weeks, on the other hand, you may not notice anything at all. Some females may become more demanding on your attention, and their nipples might enlarge.
- Be careful with your pregnant pup! Extreme conditions and rough handling could lead to miscarriage! Also, be sure to feed her a quality, ‘meat’ based protein source of dog food; try to avoid dog foods using corn as the primary ingredient.
Average Size of Litter
The number of pups born during dog pregnancy in fact varies considerably; making an ‘average’ hard to determine. Usually, medium to large breeds tend to produce the largest litters, with small/toy breeds producing smaller litters, although there are of course exceptions! Normal litters can range anywhere from one or two pups to ten. Some moms might give birth to over 15!
- Smaller breeds tend to produce smaller litters
- Normal size of litter: 2-10
Post Dog Pregnancy Care
Post labor car for your dam (mother of puppy or puppies) is extremely important! After she is finished whelping, all soiled surfaces should be replaces with clean, soft bedding.
If you think your dog is pregnant, take her to see your vet! They will answer any questions you may have perfectly, as well as offer diet advice, determine if any tests are requires, etc.
Spay/ Neuter; Importance
Are you actively trying to breed, or did this dog pregnancy occur by accident? I can’t stress the importance of responsibility here! A great many dogs are put down each year for no better reason than we can’t support their numbers. Unless dog pregnancy is your intention, try not to inadvertently add to that population.
Dogs for Sale
Are you trying to find any dogs for sale? Maybe you’re trying to find puppies to adopt? Why not give some of these needy puppies a home!