Pregnancy in dogs is relatively short compared to humans and lasts for about 58-65 days or about nine weeks. Which means that puppies develop rapidly inside the womb over a period of two to three months. A veterinarian will be able to run tests to  determine how far along the pregnancy is and when a dog will give birth. The act of mating itself is not an exact measurement of gestation because in dogs, sperm can live for several days inside the female and the eggs can remain fertile for up to 48 hours. Like with humans, we separate the dog gestation period into three trimesters, each lasting about 21 days.

Dogs are pregnant for about 63 days  however this may vary by a few days. Like people, dogs are pregnant for three trimesters, each about 21 days long.

Stages of Dog Pregnancy

First Trimester

In the first few weeks, there are few signs that you many notice or change your dog behaviour. In that time the embryos travel to the uterine horns and eventually the embryos are embedded in the uterine lining. The fetus begins to take shape after about 3 weeks.

While many dogs do not show signs in the first three weeks some symptoms to watch for are:

  • Increased appetite.
  • Slightly enlarged nipples.
  • More affectionate behaviour.
  • Decreased physical activity.

Other medical  conditions result in similar symptoms so you should consult a vet if you believe your dog is pregnant.

Second Trimester

Between the 25th and 28th day of pregnancy, a vet will be able detect fetal heartbeats on an ultrasound. At this stage the puppy develops quickly Eyelids are formed by day 32, Toes by Day 35, claws by day 40 and the coat develops by day 45.

Signs a dog is in her second trimester:

  • Noticeable increased appetite with significant weight gain
  • Increased urination and a clear, odorless vaginal discharge.
  • Increased urination.

Third Trimester

In the third trimester the vet can take an x-ray to see the skeletons of the puppies and determine the size of the litter.

Signs a dog is in her third trimester:

  • Visible puppy movement in abdomen  at around day 50
  • Decreased appetite to appetite loss just before pregnancy
  • Restless behaviour
  • Waist will trim as puppies move into the birth canal

How Long Are Dogs In Labour For?

Dogs give birth in three stages. The first stage lasts about 12-24 hours. In this stage the dogs body prepares for birth but often there are no visible signs. In stage two which lasts up 24 hours is when the dog delivers puppies. The puppies are delivered one at a time and each puppy should be delivered under 2 hours (otherwise contact a vet as their maybe complication) and typically lasts for 30-60 mins. Once all the puppies are delivered than in stage three is when all the placentas are delivered. Stage two and stage three can happen around the same time.