The gestation period for canines is significantly shorter than that of humans, lasting just over two months. During that time, the pregnant mother will exhibit symptoms of pregnancy and may require a high-protein diet and an increase in food amount. A veterinarian can help you predict the due date of your dog's puppies.
What Is the Normal Gestation for Dogs?
Normal gestation for dogs is nine weeks (just over two months). According to Professor's House, dogs may safely deliver healthy puppies anywhere between 58 and 68 days.
Gestation period does not vary by breed. Large dogs like Irish Wolfhounds and tiny breeds such as Chihuahuas all have a nine-week normal gestation period. However, physical maturity and the onset of estrus (canine menstruation) does vary by breed. The duration of the estrus also varies greatly from a few days to nearly a month.
Physiology of Pregnant Dog
It isn't always easy to tell that a dog is pregnant. Towards the end of the gestation period (weeks 7 to 8), she will appear bloated and her nipples will swell. She will then exhibit other signs of pregnancy notably similar to those of humans: increase in appetite, lethargy and frequent urination.
A veterinarian can determine whether a dog is pregnant about halfway through the gestation period by use of gentle palpation. Though expensive, earlier detection is possible with use of an ultrasound.
If you suspect that your dog is pregnant, it's best to take her to the vet. Even if the vet cannot determine whether she is with puppies, the vet can provide information and resources on proper diet, nutrition and care of a pregnant dog as well as what to expect once the gestation period is through.