How long does a dog stay pregnant? The average pregnancy is 63 days but can range between 58 to 67 days from ovulation. The length depends on many factors such as age, breed size, and family history.
How Long Does a Dog Stay Pregnant?
Pregnancy lasts on average 63 days after the day of ovulation, but it is very difficult to determine what day ovulation occurs on. It is not necessarily right after mating. Dog sperm can live for 10 to 11 days inside the womb. If the female isn't fertile while they mated, then the pregnancy could appear to be longer than normal. If for example the female became fertile 5 days after being bred, then there would be an additional 5 days until birth.
A large litter size will cause a shorter pregnancy because there is less room for each puppy to develop.
How Does Breed Size Affect Litter Size?
The body size of a dog has a big effect on litter size. A small dog doesn't have room for a large litter so they tend to have smaller litters. Large dogs have a lot more room for large litters but aren't guaranteed to have one. Large dogs have a larger variation in litter size compared to small dogs.
How Does Family History Affect Pregnancy Length?
Pregnancy length is very similar when compared to the dog's mother or grandmother. You may be able to find this information from your dog breeder.
How Does Pregnancy History Affect Litter Size?
As the saying goes: Practice makes Perfect! Female dogs tend to have larger litters with each pregnancy until they are about 4 years old. At 5 years of age, litter sizes tend to get smaller.
At What Age Can a Dog Get Pregnant?
Male and female dogs become sexually mature between the ages of 6 and 12 months. Some large breeds may take up to 2 years to become sexually mature.
The female dog will be able to become pregnant once they have had their first estrus cycle. Smaller dogs will generally reach their first cycle faster than a larger dog.
How Does Dog Age Affect Litter Size?
When the male dog ages, sperm count and quality decrease. Because of this, younger male dogs tend to have larger litters and older male dogs tend to have smaller litters. You will get the best litter size if the male dog is under 5 years old.
When the female dog ages, her ability to support a larger litter decreases. The American Kennel Club suggests to have female dogs breed during their second heat. This typically occurs while they are between 6 and 18 months of age.
Do Healthy Dogs Have Larger Litters?
Healthy female dogs have larger litters. If the dog is overweight, then the litter size will be smaller. It is a bad idea to give pregnant dogs protein supplements according to a study performed by Russ Kelley. It is best to provide a high quality dog food and ensure that the dog isn't overeating.
How Do I Know if My Dog is Pregnant?
You will best be able to tell if your dog is pregnant by looking for these clues:
Early Stage of Pregnancy
- Small appetite
- Not as active
- Morning Sickness
- Change in behavior (affectionate or shy)
- Nipples get bigger
Late Stage of Pregnancy
- Large Appetite
- Fast Weight Gain
- Abdomen will be large and firm
- Nipples may leak milk
- May be able to feel puppies moving
What the Vet has to Say About Dog Pregnancy
There are many factors that affect how long a dog stays pregnant. I hope this article provided you with a good overview!