Pregnancy in Dogs

Pregnancy is the period of gestation when the young are developing in the mother's uterus. Normal gestation in dogs is 58 to 68 days (the average is 63 days).

The litter size in dogs varies from one puppy to more than 17 in some giant breed dogs. Litter sizes are often smaller in young and old animals and largest when the mother is around three to four years of age.

Conditions that may be confused with pregnancy include false pregnancy, mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands), mammary gland neoplasia (cancer), abdominal enlargement due to fluid accumulation or organ enlargement, or pyometra (infection of the uterus).

What to Watch For


Your veterinarian may perform some diagnostic tests to confirm your dog's health and to determine if she is pregnant. These include:

Your veterinarian may recommend other diagnostic tests (not typically done with a normal pregnancy) on a case-by-case basis. Tests may include:


Home Care

Good nutrition is essential for healthy puppies and mothers so feed your pet a high-quality diet formulated for pregnant or nursing dogs.

Whelping (birth of the puppies)

The more that you can learn about whelping the better prepared you will be for any difficulties that might occur. Once you know that your bitch is pregnant, you should begin preparing for the puppies delivery.