The Pregnant Dog’s Timeline

Now that we’ve had a successful breeding, the changes in a female and pups are amazing;

Pregnancy Timeline

Week One
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

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Normal feeding
  • Check any and all medications with vet prior to administering
  • No insecticides (i.e., flea treatments)
  • No vaccines (especially live vaccines)

TO DO LIST

  • Put together pedigree on litter
  • Write contract
  • Contact AKC for litter registration application
  • Start taking puppy reservations

Week Two (Days 8-14)
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Embryo will be 4 cell 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

  • Continue as with Week One

TO DO LIST

  • Nothing special this week

Week Three (Days 15-21)
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Day 19 — Implantation of embryos in uterus

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • See above

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • See above

TO DO LIST

  • Nothing special this week

Week Four (Days 22-28)
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
  • Days 26 – 32 are the best days to palpate (i.e.. feel for the puppies)

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Possible clear vaginal discharge
  • Mammary development begins

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • After Day 26, palpation may be possible to diagnose pregnancy
  • Limit strenuous activity (such as working, jumping, long runs)

TO DO LIST

  • Schedule ultrasound or palpation with vet if desired

Week Five (Days 29-35)
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Development of toes, whisker buds, and claws
  • Fetuses look like dogs
  • Gender can be determined
  • 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

  • Swelling becomes noticeable
  • Loss of “tuck-up”
  • Weight will start to increase

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Slightly increase amount of food. If you feed one meal a day, add an extra meal. If you feed twice a day, slightly increase one of the meals.
  • Palpation no longer possible due to fluids in uterus

TO DO LIST

  • Nothing special this week

Week Six (Days 36-42)
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 continues to enlarge

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Increase the amount of food in the extra meal

TO DO LIST

  • Assemble whelping box
  • By this time you should be fairly sure that the bitch is pregnant. Notify the people on your puppy list. Let them know when you expect delivery.

Week Seven (Days 43-49)
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Growth and development continues

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Abdomen hair will start shedding
  • The bitch will start to look pregnant at this point

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Slightly increase both meals

TO DO LIST

  • Stop any roughhousing or jumping
  • Radiographs (X-rays) possible to determine number and size of puppies

Week Eight (Days 50-57)
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.

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Add moderate lunch

TO DO LIST

  • Gather whelping kit
  • Prepare phone list for help/support. It should include your vet’s phone number, the emergency clinic’s phone number, the number of any friends who will be offering support during whelping, and anyone else you might need to contact before, during, or after whelping (like your office to let them know you won’t be in!)
  • Make sure your car is gassed up and ready for a possible emergency trip to the vet’s office.

Week Nine (Days 58-65)
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Growth and Development continues

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Nesting behavior may be seen
  • Bitch may become distressed (panting, pacing, acting uncomfortable)
  • Temperature should be around 100.2-100.8 degrees Farenheit
  • When temperature drops to around 98-99.4 degrees Farenheit, puppies should be born within 24 hours
  • Appetite may disappear as whelping approaches

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Start taking temperature three times a day

TO DO LIST

  • Notify vet or emergency clinic when temperature drops so that they will be ready if you have any problems
  • Keep detailed records on temperature and behavior of bitch
  • Double check that whelping supplies are ready

Post Partum

  • Make sure each puppy gets some of the bitch’s colostrum (first milk) within first 24 hours.
  • Lochia (vaginal discharge) should be reddish to reddish-brown (green is okay on first day). If you see black discharge, contact your vet immediately!
  • Check for cleft palates as these puppies probably won’t survive.

Modified from the Pregnancy Timeline by Patty Lemke (© Copyright 2005).

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