How Long Are Dogs Pregnant?

When a dog is expecting a litter, owner's should find out information on pregnant dog care like how long are dogs pregnant and what signs to look for to determine if a dog is carrying puppies.

Dogs are normally pregnant for 9 weeks, but this time period can fluctuate by a week before or after the average 63 days of gestation. For larger litters the pregnancy usually lasts less than 9 weeks, while the opposite is true for small litters.

Determining If Your Dog Is Pregnant

Initial signs of pregnancy in the first three weeks include:

  • demanding and affectionate behavior
  • wanting to be left alone
  • enlarged or swollen nipples
  • lethargy
  • decreased appetite

Later in the pregnancy you should notice weight gain and an increase in appetite. Pregnancy can be determined by an ultrasound after 28 days, the presence of a clear vaginal discharge, or blood test. After 60 days an X-ray can offer a more clear and accurate picture of the pregnancy, including litter size.

In some dogs, a false pregnancy, or pseudocyesis, can occur 6 to 12 weeks after a heat cycle and is caused by hormones. Symptoms usually last for about 3 to 4 weeks and include vaginal discharge, weight gain and nesting behavior, like shredding blankets. This is a common occurrence in female dogs and is not a medical concern.