Pregnancy Time line

Pre-Season

Be ready by already having your stud dog chosen and have agreements already in place.  As soon as your female comes into season, get her brucellosis test so that it is current for the stud dog owner.  Track when your female started so that you are aware of when she is ready to breed.  Most females are ready between days 10 and 15.  I've noticed with my girls that a tie on day 11 and day 13 are typically perfect.  If she doesn't seem ready by day 11, you still have day 13, and then you can do a 3rd attempt on day 15.  I've yet to miss a fertile period with these dates (knock on wood!). 

 

Week One

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Fertilization occurs
  • 2 cell embryos are in the oviduct
  • The embryo is fairly resistant to external interference in development

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Possible morning sickness & personality changes

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Normal feeding
  • Check any and all medications with vet prior to administering
  • No flea treatment
  • No live vaccines

Week Two (Days 8-14)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Embryo will be 4 cell at start of week and 64 cell by end of week
  • Embryo enters the uterus

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Possible morning sickness (can also come in week 5)

Week Three (Days 15-21)

 

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

 

  • Day 19 — Implantation of embryos in uterus
  • The embryo is sensitive to external interference in development

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Make sure week 3 is calm for the bitch.

Week Four (Days 22-28)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Development of eyes and spinal cord
  • Faces take shape
  • Fetuses grow from 5-10 mm to 14-15 mm
  • Organogenesis begins– Embryos are at their most susceptible to defects
  • Days 26 – 32 are the best days to palpitate (i.e.. feel for the puppies)

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Possible clear vaginal discharge
  • Mammary development begins

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • After Day 26, palpitation may be possible to diagnose pregnancy
  • Limit strenuous activity (such as working, jumping, long runs)
  • Add Omega 3+ oil or similar daily

Week Five (Days 29-35)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Development of toes, whisker buds, and claws
  • Fetuses look like dogs
  • Gender can be determined
  • Eyes (previously open) now close
  • Fetuses grow from 18 mm – 30 mm
  • Organogenesis ends — embryos are fairly resistant to interference with development

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Swelling becomes noticeable
  • Loss of “tuck-up”
  • Weight will start to increase

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Slightly increase amount of food and switch to puppy kibble. If you feed one meal a day, add an extra meal. If you feed twice a day, slightly increase one of the meals.
  • Palpitation no longer possible due to fluids in uterus

Week Six (Days 36-42)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Development of skin pigment
  • Fetuses should weigh around 6 grams and be 45 mm long
  • Fetal heartbeats can be heard with stethoscope

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Nipples darken and enlarge
  • Abdomen continues to enlarge

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Increase the amount of food in the extra meal
  • Bitch can start sleeping in whelping box

TO DO LIST

  • Assemble whelping box
  • By this time you should be fairly sure that the bitch is pregnant. 

Week Seven (Days 43-49)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Growth and development continues

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Abdomen hair will start shedding
  • The bitch will start to look pregnant at this point

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Slightly increase both meals

TO DO LIST

  • Stop any rough play or jumping
  • Radiographs (X-rays) possible to determine number and size of puppies

Week Eight (Days 50-57)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Fetal movement can be detected when bitch is at rest
  • Puppies can safely be born from here

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Milk may be squeezed from nipples
  • The bitch will be very large.

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Add moderate lunch

*Be sure to start tracking her temperature!  Her normal temperature should be around 100.2-100.8 degrees farenheit.  When her temperature drops to 98-99.4, expect puppies within 24 hours!

 


Week Nine (Days 58-65)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Growth and Development continues

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Nesting behavior may be seen
  • Bitch may become distressed (panting, pacing, acting uncomfortable)
  • When temperature drops significantly, puppies should be born within 24 hours
  • Appetite may disappear as whelping approaches

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Continue taking temperature three times a day

Post Partum
* Make sure each puppy gets some of the bitch’s colostrum (first milk) within first 24 hours.
* Lochia (vaginal discharge) should be reddish to reddish-brown (green is okay on first day). If you see black discharge, contact your vet immediately!
 

Photos courtesy of National Geographic "In The Womb - Dog" Series

 

Glen Burnie, MD             (443) 800-5709           Tanya@GreatestDanes.com