Canine Gestation

How long are dogs pregnant?  Canine gestation is 63 days, which is exactly 9 weeks.

However, just as in a human pregnancy, the 9 weeks is a guideline, rather than a date set in stone for your dog‘s gestation.

Regardless of their size or breed, all canine pregnancy length is the same.

Puppies can be born anywhere from 5 days before their due date to 5 days after the date. 

©Photo Courtesy of Amber Aanensen

In my experience, it is unusual for Golden Retrievers to give birth 5 days early. 

The earliest Goldens seem to go into labor is closer to 2 or 3 days early, and may go 2 to 3 days late. 

Smaller breed dogs tend to go into labor up to 4 nights early.

If puppies are born a week early, they will not survive.

Keep Accurate Records for the Canine Gestation Period

It is very important that you mark down the first day that you breed your dog, since this is your starting point for when to watch for puppies.

If anything should come up, you will have an accurate record of when each mating took place.

©Photo Courtesy of JoAnn Srein

By doing so, your vet will have a better idea as to whether there may be a problem or not.

Even if you breed your dog everyday for a week, you still need to mark the first mating as the start point for determining her due date.

Now the tricky part comes in. 

Let’s say that you bred your female daily, over a 4 day period, starting on a Monday.

On your calendar you count off 9 weeks from the Monday that she was first bred, as the starting point for her gestation period.

This is her first official due date. 

However, since she was also bred on Tuesday through Thursday, you can’t really count her gestation as being past due, until she is a few days past the last breeding, which was on a Thursday.

2009 Calendar by

By looking at the dog breeding calendar example, you can see that the first due date, which is in blue, is on a Monday, exactly 9 weeks from her first breeding.

©Photo Courtesy of Liz Lamoreux

The green represents the other possible due dates. 

The pink shows when you can start watching for puppies to be born and also the latest that the puppies should be born.

Notice that I did not allow 5 nights past her last due date. 

This is because your Golden Retriever probably would have conceived before the last mating.

If she has not gone into labor by the 3 late days allowed, I would take her to the vet just to make sure that everything was alright.

Throughout her canine gestation, your dog will have varying degrees of pregnancy symptoms and will need a slightly different level of care.

Go from Canine Gestation to Canine Pregnancy Care

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