What Are The Dog Pregnancy Stages?

Just like human females, your dog has a pregnancy schedule, and a uterine calendar that can pinpoint which pregnancy stage she is in according to her body’s symptoms.

In a dog’s first pregnancy stage, when she is in the first two weeks of since copulation, the dog’s nipples start to enlarge. When you notice this phenomenon your dog should see a veterinarian, to determine if there is a pregnancy and if so what pregnancy stage she is in.

The veterinarian will be able to tell if puppies have been conceived just by feeling the dog’s stomach. Just as with human pregnancy tests, the dog’s pregnancy or lack of it can be verified through a blood test.

litter of dogs
Image credit: Karel Van der Auwera

The pregnancy stage for a canine is shorter than that of humans because dogs give birth only sixty three to sixty five days after conception. Each pregnancy stage for a dog is only about 21 days long as compared with a woman’s pregnancy trimester of three months.

In the dog’s sixth week of pregnancy, her need for nutrition will increase as will her appetite. At this point she is truly eating for several little ones including herself, and should be fed more food accordingly. Her food consumption will increase approximately 50 percent over what she normally consumes. It is very important that her diet be balanced.

A dog that is going to have a litter of many puppies will have a visibly enlarged tummy, although there are some dogs – especially those giving birth to just a few – whose abdomen won’t enlarge noticeably. For these dogs, the pregnancy stage where they are showing is about one week long. Dogs who deliver a great number of puppies tend to deliver them prematurely.

In general, your dog can deliver her own puppies without the intervention of a veterinarian. There are exceptions to this, and it’s important to be able to know what these exceptions are and when they are occurring.

You should call the vet if your dog has been carrying the puppies for more than 65 days, or has been having contractions for more than two hours without delivering any puppies.

If your dog has given birth to a puppy or puppies but not all, and now three hours have elapsed since the last birth, call the vet. This is especially crucial if you see your dog pushing and putting in a lot of effort.

If your dog is very tired and her contractions are so slight that they don’t bring on delivery you should call the vet too.

Once your dog has advanced to the stage of pregnancy where she has given birth you’ll need to step in to give some care to the newborns. As puppies are still being delivered those that have been born can be pushed towards their mom for warmth and comfort. It’s important that the babies have heat. A puppy crib is ideal, somewhere away from any circulating air.


  • Dustin Cannon

    The guest author is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast with years of experience in canine care and training. With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners.

    View all posts