Taking Care of a Pregnant Dog with a whelping box – A Comprehensive Guide

Being able to witness your dog get pregnant and produce a generation of tiny little puppies can be a gratifying experience. However, it is safe to say that the entire process can be very confusing and stressful for a new dog owner. For someone considering breeding their dog, there is much information they must first take into account. Multiple aspects like the dog’s breed and health must be considered before starting this time-consuming yet worthwhile journey.

Taking care of a pregnant dog may feel daunting, but a little research and knowledge can take you a long way.

How Longs Are Dogs Pregnant?

The first and arguably most important question must be answered: How long are dogs pregnant for? The answer to this question is essential for planning and preparing for the arrival of the puppies.

On average, a dog’s gestation period lasts around 63 days. However, this number varies depending on the size of the dog. Smaller breeds tend to have shorter pregnancies, while larger species have longer ones.

The length of a dog’s pregnancy can also be affected by how many puppies they carry. A dog carrying multiple puppies will often have a slightly longer pregnancy than one taking only a single pup.

How to Know When a Dog is Pregnant?

While the only way to ensure your dog’s pregnancy is through proper testing, there are a few signs you can keep an eye out for. The most prominent and easily recognizable sign is increased weight due to the growing puppies and their placentas. The stomach will likely grow 20-30 percent in size within the first two months, and your dog’s nipples will become larger and darker as her milk production increases. You may even notice excess vaginal discharge, and your dog may appear tired and easily irritable.

During the last two weeks of pregnancy, you’ll probably notice that your dog is nesting. She’ll start to create a comfortable space for herself and her puppies by rearranging her bedding or collecting items like towels or clothes.

If you’re unsure whether or not your dog is pregnant, your veterinarian can perform a simple blood test, x-ray, or ultrasound.

How to Care For a Pregnant Dog?

Proper Nutrition

A pregnant dog’s nutritional needs will increase during each stage of her pregnancy. She’ll need about 10 percent more calories during the first trimester than usual. This number will jump to 30 percent during the second trimester and then to 50 percent during the third.

Protein is essential for all dogs but becomes even more critical during pregnancy. A pregnant bitch needs about twice as much protein as she did before she was expecting.

It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. They can help you determine how many calories and how much protein your dog needs to be based on her weight, breed, and level of activity.


Moderate exercise is essential for all dogs but is especially vital for pregnant ones. Exercise helps to keep their muscles and joints strong, which can be helpful during labour. It also helps to prevent obesity, which can cause complications during delivery.

You should aim to take your dog on a short walk or play session once or twice a day. Avoid strenuous exercise like running or jumping, as this can cause harm to the developing puppies.


As your dog’s due date approaches, she’ll probably want to spend more time resting. This is normal behaviour; you shouldn’t force her to be active if she doesn’t want to be. During the last few weeks of pregnancy, it’s important to let your dog relax and get used to the idea of being a mother.

Preparing For Delivery

As your dog’s due date approaches, you can do a few things to get ready for the big day. First, ensure you have all the supplies you’ll need. This includes a whelping box, whelping kit, food, water, bedding, towels, and anything else you think she might need.

You should also create a quiet space for her to give birth in. This could be a crate, bathroom, or other small, enclosed area. The space should be large enough for her to move around in but small enough that she feels safe and secure.

It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency numbers on hand in case something goes wrong during delivery. This should include your veterinarian’s number and the number for a 24-hour animal hospital.


The average dog pregnancy lasts about 63 days but can be anywhere from 58 to 68 days. Once your dog goes into labour, she’ll start to exhibit certain behaviours. These include restlessness, panting, nesting, and licking her vulva.

As labour progresses, she’ll begin to have contractions and will eventually start to push. The first puppy should appear within 60 minutes of her starting to push. If more than an hour goes by without a puppy being born, you should contact your veterinarian.

Once the first puppy is born, the rest should follow within 30 minutes. If more than two hours go by without a puppy being born, you should again contact your veterinarian.

After all the puppies have been born, your dog will deliver the placenta. It’s vital to ensure she delivers all of it, as retained pieces can cause infection.

Once everything is over, you should give your dog a little time to rest and bond with her puppies. Once she’s ready, you can move them to their new home.



The Bottom Line

After your dog gives birth, she’ll need extra care to help her recover in her whelping box. Plenty of rest, as well as a nutritious diet. You should also keep an eye on her for any signs of illness or infection. If everything goes well, your dog will return to her usual self within a few weeks. Once she’s fully recovered, you can start thinking about breeding her again.

Related Posts