Kelso's Gr8 Danes

Home of the Natural Ear Danes!!!!

Canine Pregnancy Timeline

A lot of people have asked me about pregnancy, fetal growth and how I care for my pregnant bitches. I thought I would add this page to give some insight and answers to those questions. I hope to add pictures to this timeline at a later date. Hopefully this will answer some questions most of you have asked me.


***Note: Sperm can stay viable in a bitch for 3 to 5 days after a breeding, therefore I am assuming for the dates that conception occurs at the time of mating.***

Week 1

(Day 1 to 7)

Puppy Development

Fertillization occurs

2 cell embryos are in the oviduct

Embryos are fairly resistant to external interference in development


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Possible personality changes

Possible morning sickness

Possible increased or decreased appetite

Possible increased tiredness


Care of the bitch

Check with your vet before giving ANY AND ALL MEDICATIONS!!!!!

DO NOT GIVE ANY INSECTICIDES (i.e. flea & tick treatments)

No live vaccines

Normal feeding with a hard boiled egg and a tablespoon of cottage cheese or yogurt added in

Normal exercise (NOTE- if your bitch did not receive any, you should start to slowly build her up to a moderate exercise regimen every day)


Week 2

(Day 8 to 14)

Puppy Development

At the start of the week embryos will be at 4 cells and be at 64 cells by the end of the week

The embryos will enter the uterus


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Same as week 1


Care of the bitch

Same as week 1

Week 3

(Day 15 to 21)

Puppy Development

Day 19- Embryos will implant in the uterus


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Same as week 1


Care of the bitch

Same as week 1

Week 4

(Day 22 to 28)

Puppy Development

Organogenesis begins- Embryos will be at the point where they are most suscepible to defects

Fetuses will grow from 5-10 mm to 14-15 mm by weeks end

Faces take shape

The eyes and spinal cord will devlop

Days 26- 32 are the best days to palpitate (feel) for puppies ***Note: Please only let your vet palpitate! An inexperienced person can cause damage and death to forming puppies!***


Noticable Changes in the bitch

The bitch may expeirence clear vaginal discharge

Development of the Mammary glands begin

It may be possible after day 26 to have your vet palpitate to diagnose a pregnancy


Care of the bitch

Limit or cut out all strenuous activity (i.e. jumping, long runs, working, etc)

Increase the cottage cheese or yogurt to 1/4 cup


Things to do

Schedule an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy with your vet (I find between days 32-36 are best to determine litter size and health)

Week 5

(Day 29 to 35)

Puppy Development

The development of toes, whisker buds, and nails

Gender can be determined

Fetuses now look like dogs

Eyes were previously open are now closed

Fetuses will grow from 18 mm to 30 mm

Organogenesis ends- Fetuses are now fairly resistant to interference with development


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Swelling will become noticeable

Bitch will lose her "tuck up"

Her weight will start to increase


Care of the bitch

Due to the added abdominal fluids, palpitation is no longer possible

Slightly increase the amount of kibble your bitch is getting

Week 6

(Day 36 to 42)

Puppy Development

Skin Pigment will Develop

Fetuses should be approx. 4 mm long and weigh around 6 grams

Fetal heartbeats can be heard when listening with a stethoscope


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Your Bitch's nipples will darken and enlarge

Her abdomen will continue to enlarge


Care of the bitch

Increase the cottage cheese to 1/2 cup a day and a hard boiled egg

Add an extra meal mid-day


To do list

put whelping box up

start gathering supplies

Week 7

(Day 43 to 49)

Puppy Development

Puppies continue to grow and develop


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Bitch's adomenal hair will start to shed

Bitch will look pregnant at this point


Care of the bitch

Slightly increase meals


Things to do

Make sure the bitch is no longer "roughhousing", jumping, running, etc.

Schedule appointment for x-rays (x-rays should be taken after day 50 to determine number and size of puppies)

Week 8

(Day 50 to 57)

Puppy Development

When the bitch is at rest fetal movement can be detected

Puppies can be safely born from this point forward


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Milk can be squeezed from the nipples (It may be yellowish. This is colostrum)

The bitch will be quite large at this point (Large dogs carrying one or two puppies may not show signs of pregnancy)


Care of the bitch

Make sure she eat 3 moderate meanl a day


Things To Do

Make sure you have all your whelping supplies in order and ready to go!

Prepare a phone list (include your "helper's" number, your vet, emergency vet, etc)

Make sure you gas up the car and have it ready for emergencies!


Week 9

(Day 58 to 65) ***Note: Most bitches will whelp on day 63 after conception***

Puppy Development

Puppies will continue to grow and develop


Noticable Changes in the bitch

Puppies getting close to making their arrival:

The bitch may start nesting behaviors

Bitch may "become or look" distressed (panting, pacing, or acting uncomfortable)

Her temperature should hold around 100.2 - 100.8 degrees farenheit (You will notice some temperature fluxing)

Once her temperature drops to/below 99.0 degrees farenheit puppies should be born within 24 hours time (Please keep an eye on the bitch's temperature because once it drops it does not nor should not stay there, but rather start to climb again.

***NOTE: If her temperature falls below 98 degrees or above 102 degrees GET YOUR BITCH INTO THE VET!!!!!!***


Care of the bitch

Start taking your bitch's temperature 3 times a day


Things to do

Double check your whelping supplies!!!

Notify youe vet and emergency vet clinic when her temperature drops below 99 degrees to put them on noticy that puppies are coming, just incase a problem crops up!

Keep a detailed record of your bitch's temerature and behaviors

Once puppies start to arrive also keep detailed records of times the puppies have arrived

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