Gestation Period for Bitches


Gestation period for dogs


I think my dog is pregnant - How long until the puppies are born?

Whether it is a Great Dane, or the tiny Chihuahua, the gestation period is the same, approximately nine weeks!

My dog is pregnant.  How long until the puppies are born?  This is a question we are often asked?  It shows a lack of planning and ignorance on the part of that breeder.  So many people are breeding dogs without any idea of what is involved, and it is a sure road to regret, great sadness and tragedy, unless immediate steps are taken.
When no attempt is made to learn what it's all about, it is unforgivable.  Some things can never be undone, like dead puppies and or dead bitch!

If you find yourself in this predicament, all is not lost and you have some time to prepare for the arrival of the puppies.  Read on.

Basic Principles of Breeding:

1. You must determine whether your physically mature bitch is worthy of being bred from a conformation point of view.  You do this by comparing her to the breed standard.  If she has a major fault, probably you should not breed her.
In addition to the breed standard, you must evaluate her from a health point of view.  That means having her tested for whatever skeletal problems, eye problems, and or other health problems plague that breed. If you do not get satisfactory clearances for all the known problems, then you should not breed the bitch.

2. You must find a suitable stud dog which is also worthy of being bred from a conformation and health point of view and whose conformation will compliment and strengthen that of your bitch.  The motivating reason for breeding should always be to better the breed.

3. Both bitch and dog should be tested for Brucellosis, and must test negative.

4. The breeding should be supervised by an experienced breeder and should never be left to chance.

You can have your bitch "tested" by your veterinarian at about day 30 - 32.  The experienced vet can feel the tiny fetuses by gently palpitating the bitch, but only during this narrow window of time.  It is suggested that the layperson not try this palpitation for fear of harming the fetuses.  Of course you can also use ultrasound to see if the bitch is pregnant, but the cost is rather high.

Now you must prepare for the arrival of the puppies:

You must know what to feed your bitch and what not to feed her.
You must prepare a safe whelping box.  Temperature is crucial for newborn puppies!
You need a notebook for recording your bitch's temperature twice a day from about day 58 onward.
Morning temperature differs a bit from evening temperature but when you see that temperature plunge from her normal (of about 101 F.) to close to 98 F. degrees, you know that the puppies will be whelped within 24 hours. You need scales for measuring the weight of your puppies twice a day and recording them.
What if the puppies are born and your bitch cannot or will not nurse them?
You need to have a milk substitute on hand before the whelping, just in case, and the means of administering the warmed food, by dropper or 5 cc syringe (no needle!) or by tube (for experienced breeders only).  Cows milk is not good.  Goats milk is digestible, but prepared, balanced puppy formula in tin cans is best, obtainable from large pet supermarkets.
You must know how to look after your bitch after the whelping.  What dangers to be aware of, what to feed her and how much, and what supplements to feed her.

There are many more things to be aware of and so it is in your best interest to get a good book on this subject.
Fortunately, there are several available and not too expensive nor is the material too complex for the beginner. We urge all those who are breeding dogs to have a good reference book available at all times.

Books on breeding => Click Here




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