irish hound laying down

Dog Pregnancy Guide

What to do during dog pregnancy

By Mary Nielsen, My Sweet Puppy 

When your dog becomes pregnant, it will last for approximately 63 days on average. Each dog goes through 3 trimesters, just like humans do, they may go through a morning sickness phase, usually within the 3rd or 4th week of pregnancy, and it is a good idea to get her into the vet at about 2 or 3 weeks after mating.

But that’s only the beginning, and until the birth of the puppies, here is what you can expect for you and the mother to be.


Your dogs dietary requirements have just changed due to the puppies inside of her. She needs much more protein than normal, and a good way to supply that is by feeding her either a high grade puppy chow or a food for active adults.

Take particular care to look at the ingredients, as many experts agree that both EPA and DHA fatty acids should be present in the food. These fatty acids are thought to boost the neurological development of puppies, so they are vital components when feeding. If the abbreviations of the fatty acids are not listed, just look for fish oil instead.

Also, make sure there is always food in the food bowl and don’t limit food intake. She will need the extra calories for the formation of the litter, so make sure food is a available and ready when she wants it..

The 4th Week

The 4th week is when you’ll have to begin changing your dogs routine. You’ll still want her to get exercise, but very strenuous exercise must be curtailed at this point. By the 8th week, only short walks should be taken with virtually no strenuous activity at all.

boxer dog laying down

The 4th week is also the time when a vet can possibly feel the puppies through palpitation, and some people may add a bit of cottage cheese and an egg daily to their regular food. Your vet may recommend a multivitamin now, and this is the time to scour your home and make climbing onto things, and jumping off of them, difficult or impossible.

The 7th Week

It’s now time to return your dog to her regular food, but make sure she gets as much as she wants. She will also begin to shed tummy hair to aid in the birthing process, and this is a normal and natural occurrence, so don’t be alarmed when it happens.

The 8th Week to Birth

From now on, the pups may be born at any time, so a place, called a whelping bed, where she can be alone, warm and comfortable is a necessity. She will begin nesting at this stage, spending more and more time in the bed, and when laying down, you may even be able to see the puppies moving around within her.

By week 9, it will be any time now, so make sure everything is in order. As the birth process gets closer, she may begin to eat less, and that’s a sure sign that her puppies are on the way.


Once the puppies are born, contact your vet and let them know, in case you have any emergencies. For the first week or so, let the mother do her job and don’t bother her much. She knows what to do instinctively, and just make a few checks now and again to make sure she is acting like a mother should, and that there is no sign of rejecting any pups.


puppy behind a tree

Of course if you have any questions about any of the aspects of pregnancy, feeding, exercise and exactly what to expect and how to react, always contact your veterinarian. They will be able to answer all of your questions, and if there is an emergency, they will make arrangements to get you in as soon as possible.