Dog Pregnancy Stages

Your dog's pregnancy can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience as a dog owner. There are four stages of pregnancy: stage one, stage two, stage three and delivery. These stages will better inform you on what your dog may be going through during her pregnancy.

Stage One of Dog Pregnancy

A dog's gestation is around 58 to 68 days (about 9 weeks). The first stage of pregnancy is the first three weeks. During this stage, your dog may show no obvious signs that she is pregnant. She may show little interest in eating and become easily tired. In this first stage, she should be examined by her veterinarian so that he is aware of her condition in case complications arise. Your veterinarian will also go over important information that will make you ready for the pregnancy process.

Stage Two of Dog Pregnancy 

Stage two of your dog's pregnancy takes place between 4 and 6 weeks. Her appetite may increase and she may begin to gain weight. Regular exercise is recommended to help keep her healthy and strong. Mammary glands will likely enlarge with milk production at a later date.

Stage three of your dog's pregnancy takes place between 7 to 9 weeks. During this stage an abdominal growth will be noticeable and milk production will begin. She may become more irritable. Young children and other pets may be bothersome to her. Another examine should be done by her veterinarian to insure proper growth of the puppies. Through abdominal palpation or an X ray the veterinarian can determine approximately how many puppies she is carrying. This is important so that when she is delivering her puppies you will know about how many to expect.


As delivery approaches your dog may become more restless and she may be looking for a quite place to have her puppies. She may experience vomiting, panting, pacing, shivering and whining. Normal temperature for a dog is 101 degrees F to 102.5 degrees F. If her temperature drops below 100 degrees F then delivery is within 24 hours. Dogs are capable of delivering their puppies without assistance. In some cases, like young inexperienced mothers, you may need to step in and help. As each puppy is delivered the mother should bite through the umbilical cord and lick clean the puppy. This is very important because the licking helps circulation and breathing. If the mother decided not to do this, then you must wipe away the fluid from the eyes and nose and rub the puppy vigorously to stimulate breathing. After each puppy is clean, then they should be placed next to their mother for warmth.

Warning Signs

If your dog is experiencing any of these signs during her pregnancy or delivery you should call her veterinarian immediately.

  • She has stopped eating or drinking
  • She has any bleeding during stage one
  • Strong labor for more than 2 hours without delivery of a puppy
  • She is pregnant beyond 65 days.
  • During delivery there is a puppy that is stuck
  • She becomes tired during delivery with more puppies to deliver