Day by Day Dog Gestation Calendar
The dog pregnancy calendar is 63 days long. Starting with ovulation and ending with approximate puppy birth. Keep in mind that this is not an exact calculation, but will give you an idea of due dates. For example: If your dog was bred on Feb 5th, her approximate due date is Apr 8 (see yellow highlighted numbers in the chart).
This first chart is Jan through June
July through December
Frequently Asked Dog Pregnancy Questions
Canine Pregnancy Stages
Day 1 The length of gestation, and therefore the date of whelping, is determined by the date of ovulation which we have named DAY 0.
In fact, there is normally some degree of uncertainly regarding the date of ovulation, which is difficult to identify without precise monitoring of heat by a vet.
Day 2 My Dam accepts the male. If your Dam becomes receptive to the male, it means that her body is secreting sufficient hormones to stimulate ovulation and that she finds the male acceptable. He will thus be able to cover her.
Mating is preceded by a courting phase during which they play, but penetration can occur rapidly, in under a minute. There can however be a number of attempts particularly if the partners are lacking in experience. The male mounts the Dam and penetrates her, generating a vaginal reflex in the Dam which traps the male until the act of mating is complete.
This lock phenomenon, that keeps the two dogs locked together for 15 to 30 minutes on average, can seem even stranger if the male does a 180° turn, which is more often than not the case. The two partners thus find themselves with their respective hind quarters stuck together, each dog facing the opposite direction.
It is vital not to try separating them as this could cause a hemorrhage or a tear. Above all, do not spray them with water in an attempt to interrupt mating. Mating can be repeated two days later The mating process does not necessarily mean that fertilization has occurred. Mating might have taken place at a time when the Dam’s fertility had not yet reached its peak. Of course, the sperm can survive in the uterus for up to 7 days and fertilization can therefore take place several days after mating. To increase chances, however, mating can be repeated once after a two day interval.
Day 4 The sperm reach the ovum. Gestation begins when the female’s ova are fertilized by the male spermatozoa.
This fertilization gives rise to a fertilized egg of which half of the genetic heritage stems from the father’s chromosomes and half from the mother’s chromosomes. This egg is the first component of a new living being, first of all an embryo until the 35th day of gestation and then a fetus and future puppy in the final third of gestation.
Did You Know? Whatever the breed, gestation lasts on average 63 days in the Dam, when you count the duration between the day of ovulation and the day of whelping. This can vary between 56 to 70 days, if we are not precisely aware of the day of ovulation, as the egg can have been fertilized immediately or several days after the introduction of the spermatozoa at mating.
Day 7 The embryos are afloat in the uterus
Towards the end of the first week following fertilization, the embryos, which are formed very high up in the uterus, will migrate towards the uterine horns. They then float and move around within the uterine liquid.
Day 8 The Dam’s heat has finished, it’s time for grooming When her heat has come to an end, you may groom your Dam as usual. The embryos are well-protected in the uterus membrane and will not come to any harm.
The embryos become embedded in the uterus, this is called nidation nidation_medium The embryos become embedded in the uterus lining where they will subsequently develop. They will progressively be enveloped in a protective membrane that provides them with the necessary supply of nutrients. This transient organ, the placenta, will be expelled at birth and very often eaten by the Dam.
Day 22 Ears begin to form.
Day 25 Your vet can confirm gestation
By performing an ultrasound from the 25th day of presumed gestation, the vet can establish a reliable diagnosis, giving you an idea as to the size of the litter and detecting any abnormalities.
To diagnose gestation, your vet can also do a blood test to determine the level of relaxin. This hormone is only secreted by the placenta. Its presence in the blood stream is therefore proof of gestation.
Whichever method your vet chooses, it is very useful to confirm your Dam’s gestation as early as possible in order to properly monitor her condition.
As from the 25th day, little more than one month remains to prepare for the happy event.
Day 32 The development of the embryo remains modest, but as from the 30th day, it becomes quite clear.
Embryos The eyelids appear
Day 35 Fetuses The toes separate
Now we’re in the fetal stage The 35th day marks the end of embryogenesis, the first phase of gestation. The organs are all now beginning to form and we may now talk about fetuses even though their development is not complete. It is during this fetal phase (and in particular as from the 40th day) that almost three quarters of the of the puppies’ birth weights acquired by the fetuses.
The development of the fetuses begins to speed up from this week onward. With roughly a month to go before she gives birth, your dog needs extra attention and care as well. The level of aminiotic fluid increases to protect the ever-growing puppies, and they begin to develop rapidly. You’ll also notice an increase in the dam’s weight. Her dietary requirements expand to include more proteins and minerals. You may also observe a slight dip in her appetite, but you must ensure that she has her prescribed meals.
Day 40 Fetuses – The claws appear. The growth in the dam’s tummy becomes rather obvious by the sixth week. The puppies begin to develop markings on their skin―which basically determine their eventual looks. In this week, you can begin preparing a whelping box for your dam. This box should be well-padded, warm, and comfortable, and kept in a quiet, dark area of the house. Make sure that your dam feels protected to camp in it, and is given ample privacy.
Day 45 The first hairs appear, the skeleton ossifies.
The coat is one of the last organs to develop, as is the skeleton which only begins to ossify in the final third of gestation.
Prepare a place for your Dam to whelp to avoid being caught by surprise, start preparing the place for your Dam to whelp. The chosen place must be quiet and removed from the bustle of the household. Don’t forget that the room must be kept warm as newborns need heat. The floor must be easy to clean.
Your Dam needs to be wormed, make an appointment with your vet. Parasites are a serious threat as they can infect the puppies at birth. This is why your vet will tell you how and with which product to worm your Dam.
The mother and pups will need to use this place for a few weeks, well away from any excitement so as not to disturb suckling.
Day 50 The fetuses can now be seen on an x-ray. With the puppies’ development complete, it is now time to take the dam to the vet for an x-ray. This reveals the exact number of puppies she is carrying―armed with this information, you can be sure that no puppy remains undelivered while whelping. You’ll notice that your dam has begun nesting―carrying her favorite items to her whelping box, and perhaps even storing some food there. Clean the bedding in the box regularly, and ensure that the box and the room is sufficiently warm. With roughly one week to go before she gives birth, milk begins to flow from the dam’s teats.
Towards the 50th day of gestation, the fetuses skeletons are ossified. You can therefore ask your vet to do an x-ray.
This examination, in most cases, will enable the number of fetuses to be counted. At whelping, this will reassure you that no puppies have remained stuck. The x-ray is not damaging to the health of your Dam or her puppies.
Day 53 All set to go. Check that you have enough linen to change the bedding regularly. They must be completely dry when you use them. Make sure you have an extra heater to ensure an ideal temperature when the puppies are born, around 30° during the first week, and plan to put in one or two containers filled with water so that the air is not too dry.
Day 54 Milk production Milk begins to flow from the teats about one week prior to whelping. This is not, however, reliable in determining the date of whelping.
Day 55 Did you know? The fetuses are sensitive to touch, stroke your Dam’s tummy. In their mother’s womb, the future puppies are sensitive to touch. Don’t be afraid to stroke her tummy, as this tender gesture can be nothing but beneficial both for her and for them.
Day 58 – 63 The Dam is looking for a quiet place to make her nest.
In the final days before whelping, you’ll see your Dam’s body shape changing. Her vulva, in particular will dilate and the pelvic ligaments will relax so that the puppies have enough room to pass through.
By instinct, the future mother will seek out a quiet place to make her nest and will seem on edge. This shouldn’t worry you.
If you haven’t yet done so, set up the whelping nest in the selected place, well away from any excitement and make it easy for her to reach. It’s a good idea to line the box with thick layers of newspaper so that she’s properly insulated from the floor. You can cover them with towels or sheets or any other material that will have to be frequently changed once the pups are born.
It’s time to prepare your Dam for whelping
Unless you think this will cause too much stress, it is advisable to wash your Dam so that she can give birth to her puppies in the most hygienic conditions possible. If she has long hair, you can clear the area around the vulva using round tipped scissors.
Finally, to avoid being taken by surprise at the onset of whelping you can, as most breeders do, take her rectal temperature three times a day. A drop of around one degree as compared to the average of the previous days occurs within a few hours, 24 or 48 hours, prior to whelping.