How Long Does it Take for Dog to Have Puppies?

When your dog is pregnant, it is an excellent opportunity to take care of your pet. Like humans, a pregnant dog also goes through changes in appetite, hormones, weight, and behavior.

How Long Does it Take for Dog to Have Puppies?- Even though it is one of the most beautiful moments, dogs also feel insecure at the same time. How long does it take for dogs to have puppies will be known once you get them checked with the vet?

Absolutely! Here’s a comprehensive guide about dog pregnancy, including labor signs, stages, and what to expect.

Understanding Dog Pregnancy

  • Duration: On average, a dog’s pregnancy lasts around 63 days (9 weeks). Your veterinarian can help estimate a more accurate due date and monitor for any complications.
  • Early Signs: While not always reliable, possible early pregnancy signs include:
    • Increased appetite
    • Weight gain
    • Enlarged or pink nipples
    • Decreased activity
    • Mild behavioral changes
  • Diagnosis: An ultrasound around 4 weeks into the suspected pregnancy can confirm and assess the number of puppies.

Signs Your Dog is Going into Labor

As your dog’s due date approaches, watch for these telltale signs of impending labor:

  • Temperature Drop: A dog’s normal temperature (100-101°F) drops below 97°F for about 24 hours before labor.
  • Appetite Change: Dogs often stop eating a day or two before labor and may vomit.
  • Nesting Behavior: Your dog seeks a quiet, safe place to deliver her puppies. Provide a cozy box with blankets to encourage her to use it.
  • Restlessness & Panting: Pre-labor discomfort leads to these behaviors.
  • Visible Contractions: Her abdomen hardens as contractions start.
  • Amniotic Sac Appearance: The fluid-filled sac surrounding each puppy emerges as pushing begins.

The Stages of Dog Labor

  • Stage 1 (12-24 hours):
    • Cervix dilation, uterine preparation
    • Visible restlessness, panting, reduced appetite, nesting
    • Temperature drop below 97°F
  • Stage 2 (Active Delivery):
    • Strong contractions and pushing
    • Puppies born every 30-60 minutes (up to 2 hrs can be normal)
    • Dog cleans puppies, breaks the umbilical cord
  • Stage 3 (Placenta Expulsion):
    • Greenish-black placental tissue passes after each puppy or in batches
    • It’s crucial to count the placentas to ensure none are retained

How Long Does the Birthing Process Take?

Labor can last from a few hours to a whole day. A puppy should be born roughly every 30-60 minutes. Consult your vet if there’s a gap of over 2 hours without a new puppy, if your dog strains without progress, or if you have other concerns.

Helping Your Dog During Labor

  • Stay Calm: Be patient and reassuring to your dog, keeping the environment peaceful.
  • Be Prepared: Have supplies on hand (whelping box, blankets, towels, gloves, etc.)
  • Contact Your Vet: Keep them updated and be ready to seek their help if needed.
  • Monitor Puppies: Ensure they’re breathing, remove amniotic sacs if necessary, and encourage nursing.

Caring for Your Dog After Birth

  • Nutrition: Provide high-quality food specifically for nursing dogs.
  • Rest: Ensure she has a calm recovery area.
  • Monitor Health: Watch for signs of infection (fever, discharge).
  • Puppy Care: Keep newborn puppies warm and dry, help them nurse.

Key Takeaway

Dog pregnancy and birth are natural processes, but being informed will help you be the best support for your dog. Work closely with your veterinarian for a safe and smooth delivery of healthy puppies.

Important Notes:

  • Spaying/Neutering: If you don’t intend to breed, consider spaying your dog after her heat cycle to prevent unwanted pregnancies and health issues.
  • Responsible Breeding: If planned, ensure optimal health for both the mother and the puppies through prenatal care and responsible practices.

Let me know if you have further questions!

How Will You Tell if Your Dog is Pregnant?

Your pet might have some external or internal changes in the body or behavior. Weight gain, decrease in exercise, unusual behavior, and swelling of nipples are a few signs of pregnancy. These symptoms could be due to pregnancy or some other serious health issue.

Your dog might not show these signs in the early stages of pregnancy. It is good to get your dog checked with the vet every two to three weeks. You can see the growing puppies in 4 weeks through ultrasound.

By the end of 40 days, your pet’s belly might seem more prominent than usual and will sway as it walks. You can see puppies inside your dog’s bellies during the last two weeks of the pregnancy. Learning the signs will help deliver healthy puppies.

Signs and Process of Labor in Dogs

Dog pregnancy usually lasts between fifty-six to sixty-nine days, and you can look at labor signs after forty-nine days. A few common symptoms of labor are

Vomiting and Loss of Appetite

Pregnant dogs stop eating a day or two before labor. Your dog is likely to throw up if it consumes food during the early stages of labor.

Due to the movement of the puppies, your pet may have a bowel movement, and it might result in vomiting of food. You have to keep your dog hydrated during labor if it throws up.

Milk Production

Many dogs start producing milk before the birth of the puppies, as it needs to feed the pups when they are born. Swollen breasts and enlarged nipples are also signs of labor. Few drops of milk might leak just before labor begins.

Fall in Temperature

The average body temperature of the dog is between 100-101 Fahrenheit. During the final stage of pregnancy, your pet’s temperature may fall below 97 degrees.

But this situation can be common before labor and when you need to worry when it is stagnant for two successive days.

Once you get low-temperature readings for two consecutive days, it is a clear indication that your dog is going into labor.


When your dog is nearing labor, it looks for a safe place to deliver as it wants a secure home for its puppies.

If you have a pet looking out to build a nest, labor is soon to begin.

You can give it a box with cozy blankets or have makeshift bedding built so that your dog may feel safe. Nesting begins a week prior and will be done rigorously within two days.


Shivering starts when your pet starts having early contractions. It happens when your dog’s temperature drops and rises as labor begin.

You can caress it gently on either side of the abdomen to give a soothing effect. Shivering may depend on the contractions your dog might have.


Along with shivering, dogs also undergo contractions similar to those in humans. When you see the stomach a bit hard and rub it for a relaxing effect, it is a sign that the contraction is occurring and labor has begun.


When your pet dog starts pushing, it is the start of labor, and it means that it is ready to get the puppies out.

Few dogs lay down while some squat on four legs for pushing. You can call the vet for help once this process starts.

Amniotic Sac

Amniotic Sac filled with liquid begins to emerge from your dog’s back as it pushes for birth.

The process may take time to complete till the placenta comes out. As your pet starts giving birth, you may see the fluid-filled sac protruding from its back.

Repeat the Process of Pushing

Since dogs do not give birth to individual puppies, you may know about the number once the ultrasound is done. Your pet needs rest between deliveries as pushing and panting require all the strength.

How Long Does it Take for Dog to Have Puppies?

Breeding in dogs occurs during the initial days of its heat cycle, and the egg is fertilized. During the next two weeks, the embryo gets developed, and there will be a change in your dog’s energy levels and food intake.

During weeks four and five, your dog will be in the second stage of its pregnancy, where the embryos change to fetuses.

As the fetuses grow, your pet’s belly might also start growing. In the sixth week of the pregnancy, your dog’s belly might be heavier. The size of its belly depends on the number and size of puppies.

The Seventh week will have the fetuses move, and your pet might start shedding hair from the belly. Now your pet might find nesting places to help keep calm.

During the ninth week, the dog may start showing labor symptoms, and you have to be ready to help it along with the vet.

Dogs’ births are not always complicated, and it is better to take care of the process in consultation with the vet.

Once your pet strives to find a nesting place, labor might start within three to four days. Daily monitoring of temperature should be started during this time.

The labor that lasts for more than 6 to 12 hours is divided into three stages.

Stage 1

When the temperature has dropped continuously for two days below 97 Fahrenheit, it indicates the start of the initial stage of labor.

Your pet might start having more minor contractions that might not be visible to you as the cervix and uterus start preparing for the delivery.

Your dog might start suffering from restlessness and show symptoms like vomiting, panting, and its vulva begins to swell. This stage of labor can last a maximum of up to 12 hours.

Stage 2

This stage is when the puppies are born and may take more than 12 hours. Your dog’s temperature that had gone down during the initial period will return to normal as the dog prepares to deliver.

It is followed by solid contractions and fluid coming out of its vulva. Next, a puppy will follow in the next 30 to 30 minutes.

Your pet might deliver a puppy every 30 to 60 minutes, but if a puppy is taking more than 2 hours, you may need a vet to intervene. Tail-first-born liters are standard in dogs. Your dog has to bite the umbilical cord before it cleans itself.

If there are more puppies, your pet might want to relieve itself, and sometimes it might rest in between deliveries. A vet should be notified if you see your pet strain for more than 60 minutes.

Stage 3

Once the puppies are delivered, your dog will now be in stage 3 of its labor. After the puppies are born, in the next 5 to 15 minutes, a greenish-black mass of tissue called the placenta comes out. This process happens every time a litter is born.

Several puppies born in succession will have all placentas coming out at once afterward. If there is a placenta missing, your dog might fall ill. In this stage, your dog might need help as you have to take care of one pup while the other is being delivered.

How Many Litters of Puppies Can Your Pet Dog Have?

With a few tests, your vet will be the best person to let you know how many puppies your dog will give birth to. A litter is made of 12 puppies, but in large breeds, it is 15. How long does it take for dog to have puppies can be calculated from the day your pet ovulates.

There are chances that your pup might give birth to a smaller number of puppies during the first pregnancy and later give birth to many more. Large breeds will have more giant puppies, whereas small ones will have tiny ones.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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