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Canine Pregnancy Timeline

The following information is intended as a guide ONLY.If you have any concerns during your bitches pregnancy you must always consult/contact your vet.The average Canine pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days (9 weeks); however bitches can give birth (whelp) any time between day 58, and day 65 of pregnancy. The exact whelping date depends entirely on when ovulation/fertilisation took place. If you have not had progesterone tests done to pin point exactly when this was you can only estimate an approximate due date.

In order to estimate approximately when your bitch is likely give birth you should make a note of the exact dates of her matings, and count forward 63 days from her first mating and mark the date down as the first possible due date. You must closely monitor your bitch in the last week of her pregnancy to watch for any signs of labour.

Assuming a sucessful mating/s has taken place

Week 1 (day 0-7)

 

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
Possible personality changes, more loving/clingy or even stand offish.
CARE OF THE BITCH
Normal feeding
Check any and all medications with vet prior to administering
No insecticides (i.e., flea treatments)
No live vaccines

 

Week 1-2 (Days 7-14)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

Embryo will be 4 cells at start of week and 64 cell by end of week
Embryo enters the uterus
CHANGES IN THE BITCH
Possible morning sickness
CARE OF THE BITCH
As above

 

Week 2-3 (Days 14-21)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

Day 19-21 Implantation of embryos in uterus
CHANGES IN THE BITCH
Possible morning sickness
CARE OF THE BITCH
As above

 

Week 3-4 (Days 21-28)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES 

Development of eyes and spinal cords
Faces take shape
Fetuses grow from 5-10 mm to 14-15 mm
Organogenesis begins-- Embryos are at their most susceptible to defects
CHANGES IN THE BITCH
Possible clear vaginal discharge
Mammary development begins
CARE OF THE BITCH
Limit strenuous activity (such as working, jumping, long runs)
TO DO LIST
Schedule an ultrasound with vet from day 28 - 35 if desired. This can be helpful to confirm pregnancy. An ultrasound may also be able to identify roughly how many pups she is carrying which can help you prepare for whelping date. If a bitch has a very small litter, IE only 1 or 2 pups, there is a possibility that the pups will grow larger than the norm size. This can sometimes cause the bitch to have problems giving birth to them due to their size, and a c-section may be required.

 

Week 4-5 (Days 28-35)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

Development of toes, whisker buds, and claws
Fetuses look like dogs
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
Weight will start to increase abdomen should start to enlarge
CARE OF THE BITCH
Slightly increase amount of food and switch to puppy kibble. If you feed one meal a day, divide food into 2 meals. If you feed twice a day, slightly increase the quantity of each meal.

 

Week 5-6 (Days 35-42)

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 enlargement should be clearly noticeable by now if an average sized litter is present. This change may not be noticeable if the bitch is carrying a small litter.Marmary glands should also be slightly larger by now and should be beginning to point.
Do not allow too much strenuous activity (such as working, jumping up and down, long runs)
CARE OF THE BITCH
Increase the amount of food further, feed 3 smaller meals if necessary 
Bitch should start spending time/sleeping in the whelping box
TO DO LIST
Assemble whelping box

 

Week 6-7 (Days 42-49)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

Growth and development continues
CHANGES IN THE BITCH
Hair on abdomen and around the nipples will start shedding
The bitch should definitely look pregnant by now
TO DO LIST
Stop any rough playing or jumping

 

Week 7-8 (Days 49-57)

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

Fetal movement can be detected when bitch is at rest
CHANGES IN THE BITCH
Milk may be squeezed from nipples
the bitch will be very large.
Feed the bitch smaller meals but more often.
TO DO LIST
-Prepare a phone list for help/support. It should include your vet's phone number, or the numbers of any friends who will be offering support during whelping.
Ensure that you have notified your vet of expected due date so that they will be ready if you have any problems at whelping.

 

Week 8-9 (Days 57-65)

 

DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

Growth and Development continues
Viable Puppies can safely be born any time from approx day 58.

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

She may start losing a jelly like discharge from her vulva,Nesting behavior may be seen, digging/scratching in her whelping box.Bitch may become distressed (panting, pacing, acting uncomfortable)

Appetite may disappear as whelping approaches.