During pregnancy

Puppies laying and drinking milk

How do I know if my dog is pregnant?

Usually the first sign will be about 21 days. You will start to see her teats go pink, get larger and gradually fur will start to disappear. From 28 days onward you will start to see weight gain and her temperament will become much calmer.

Stages of the pregnancy

When it comes to pregnancy, every dog is an individual. Below are the key milestones you can expect.

How long until I know my dog is pregnant?

From about 21 days onward you will start to notice signs. At 28 days you could see your vet for a scan.

Can I get her scanned?

Yes, scanning gives an idea of numbers and what to prepare for. Usually this is carried out from four weeks. Speak to your vet for guidance.

Once I know she is pregnant, what preparations should I make?

There are several things you can do to make your dog feel more at ease.

  • Prepare a comfortable area for her
  • Start to let her sleep in this area so she can get used to it 
  • Make sure wherever you put her is a safe area, without noise and distractions
  • Have a bed ready which is absorbent and easy to clean
How should I adjust her nutrition?

What you feed your bitch during pregnancy makes a real difference and sets both her and her puppies up for the best health possible. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of feeding during pregnancy.

How do I look after her during her pregnancy?

For the first three weeks you will be able to carry on as normal. With the fourth and fifth weeks, you need to become more conscious of the changes your dog is undergoing and start to slow down on exercise. During the last week, you will need to allow her to do as little or as much as she would like. 

Remember, every dog is different - if you are in doubt, please speak to your vet.

Are there any complications I should be aware of?

The vast majority of pregnancies are trouble free. However if you are in doubt of anything, please consult your vet right away.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more about breeding, pregnancy and raising puppies in a number of films available on The Kennel Club Academy.

Next steps - whelping your first litter

Whether you are a first time breeder or have had a litter before, the whelping of the litter is always to most nerve-wracking part. Our step-by-step guide about whelping your first litter will walk you through the process so you can be prepared.