Canine gestation is just the scientific term for dog pregnancy.
The gestation period begins from the day our Poodles mate and lasts
until the puppies are delivered or "whelped". Gestation lasts from 58 to 67 days on average, or about eight to nine weeks
depending on the dog's size (smaller dogs typically have a little shorter pregnancy), the size of the litter and how soon fertilization occurred after the breeding took place.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? However, what's going on inside our Poodle's reproductive system
is anything but simple, and she needs a great deal of care to ensure not only her continued health,
but the health and development of her growing pups.
Fast video of a 3 week old puppy growing inside the womb
This week-by-week canine gestation calendar below, will help you understand how your puppy is developing inside mom.
Some of the clear photos you see are 4-D Ultrasound of Fetuses in mom's Womb.
Hopefully through our efforts you can appreciate how much care and attention Bijou Poodles puts into each Planned Breeding
Raising and caring for each of our beautiful Poodle Moms and of course each Puppy.
To read what we do more specifically you might wish to read this
Canine Gestation Calendar
Weekly Photos of Mom (what is going on outside and inside
Females will usually come into heat every 6 months.
Some breeders will breed second heat, some breeders will not breed until the female is 24 months of age
Regardless of what age a female is bred they can only be bred when they are in "heat".
Heat is when a female is bleeding and soon to be receptive to a male's attentions.
Standing Heat is when bleeding stops and a female will flag and will let a male mount her.
Flagging is when the female will lift her rear and put her tail to the side if you touch her rear or if a male sniffs her.
Standing heat usually occures 10 days after you see initial bleeding and will last up to 16 days after initial bleeding is seen.
When a Breeding takes place you will generally know the male has made entry, when he is breeding and lifts his rear leg.
The Male remains joined inside female, as his bulbous glandis swells inside the female, locking them together for a few seconds to hours.
The male will try to lift his back leg over the female so he is more comfortable, rear to rear.
After they seperate, they can tie again right after or several times a day.
However sperm count will be less the more time he breeds within a few hours.
Most breeders will seperate them for 12-24 hours to let sperm build up and male to rest.
Within a few days, the sperm reaches the eggs and fertilization occurs.
Breeder's know she will give birth around 60-65 days after initial breeding
Fetus @ 2 weeks of age
The fertilized eggs make their way to the uterus for implantation.
You may notice behavioral changes in your dog. She may become moody or more affectionate.
Most of my females will get morning sickness and may have some discharge, which is all normal.
I advise people to take weekly photos of their females side ways and up on their hind legs
as in my photos, so that you can see the growth and know things are progressing.
Hairy dogs could have their belly's shaved down, or photos taken when momma is
being bathed and is soapy enough for the coat to stick tight to the body to show baby belly.
Fetus @ 3 weeks of age
Implantation has taken place and the embryos begin to develop.
Your dog may begin to display mood swings, appetite changes and breast tissue development.
National Geographic Video of a puppy in the womb
Fetus @ 4 weeks of age
Ultrasound of fetuses @ 4 weeks of age
Fetuses can be felt (Palpation) by Vet in the uterine horns around day 28, and can also be seen by ultrasound.
Because we know our mother's so well, it is easy for us to know when our mom's are pregnant. Therefore we do not
subject them to any stress of going to the Vet's office for confirmation. However we want to offer this information.
The spinal cords are developing, and the fetuses are beginning to grow facial features.
Your bitch's uterus will shortly fill with fluids to protect the fetuses. After this, it will be weeks until the puppies can be felt again.
After day 30 in the fetus, unborn pups form eyeballs and vision similar to a color-blind human, who can't discern red, yellow or green.
Scientists believe that dogs' color blindness adapted from their earliest ancestors who needed to compete for prey against other animals during nighttime. More Information about Pregnancy
Your dog's appetite will likely increase, so offer her more of her food.
... Week Five
The fetuses develop their sex organs and begin to look like actual puppies. The leg buds lengthen and develop toes.
Your dog's belly will begin to look noticeably swollen as the pups take up more space.
With less room for full meals, it's time to begin serving smaller meals more frequently.
... Week Six
Fetus @ 6 weeks of age
Pups continue to grow and pigmentation develops. The eyes now have lids and remain sealed until approximately ten days after birth.
Your dog is noticeably more uncomfortable at this point. She may vomit occasionally due to the extra pressure against her stomach.
You may also notice clear fluid discharge from her vulva. This is normal.
... Week Seven
(*Click to enlarge photo of my Glory who had 12 pups inside !)
Xray of Fetuses @ 7.5 weeks of age
Puppies are well-developed, and now begin attaining size in preparation for birth.
You may be able to see/feel the puppies' movements in your bitch's abdomen.
Her breasts are well developed and probably contain a bit of colostrum or "first milk".
Your dog is noticeably tired and may begin search for a place to whelp. Time to set up a whelping box.
I do NOT routinely do an Xray. Only if I have concerns.
... Week Eight
Fetus @ 8 weeks of age (click on imsge to enlarge)
The pups have fur and are now crowded in the uterus.
You may notice a lot of activity as they get into position for the coming birth.
Your bitch may begin digging the bedding in the whelping box. This is natural nesting behaviour.
Photo of Mom getting an ultrasound, to ensure pups have a heart beat
as she was due, and not in labour. Heart rates on pups were normal and visable
Fetal Heart Rates can be variable but should remain above 200.
Ultra Sound detection of fetal HR below 180 is indicative of fetal distress,
is often accompanied by fetal bowel movements, and can be the basis
of elective intervention in near-term bitches.
Ultra sound can also reveal fetal overgrowth or growth retardation
and other abnormalities including hydrocephalus, fetal anasarca
herniation of the ventral abdominal wall. Such cases can then benefit form intervention.
Xray (click on image of Spice to enlarge) showed 10 pups all good size
Good skull development and positioned fine for delivery so we went home.
I was getting concerned as it was day 65 and she showed NO signs of whelping.
Vet said positioning, heart rate and size of pups all look normal and probably just
needs a couple more days of being inside mom. I had bred 10 days in a row that she stood
with Oscar an experienced male so actual due date was sketchy.
Mom's usually start shivering, panting and looking for a place to whelp
12 hours prior to puppy being born
My girl "nesting" getting ready. I will let her do anything
to the blanket, and then I straighten it again for her to fluff again.
I redirect her from digging the bottom of my box or the papers.
It is important during this time that you redirect her to her whelping box
and not in your bed. ALWAYS potty her on a leash outside and bring a flashlight and towel
Allow your bitch to feed freely as she is able.
My Vet advises me to start taking temperatures a week before due date
said that the normal temperature is 38F for my poodles and will drop
to 37-37.5 12-24 hours prior to whelping, maybe as long as 36 hours.
Puppy Being Born still in sack
Puppy all the way out
Mom cleans off the sack from puppy
enabling puppy to breath for the first time
Next mom eats the placenta and cleans up the puppy
then mom cuts the umbilical cord freeing the puppy to nurse
Breeder is always with the moms to make sure Puppy is all cleaned up,
warm and ready to nurse (whelping can take up to 24 hours & is always during the night !)
A puppy must be warm BEFORE allowed to nurse otherwise the organs
will shut down and puppy will not live.
Finally the pups are clean, dry, warm and enjoying their first taste of mother's milk.
Puppys will be nursing for the next 3-4 weeks.
After this I wean them onto RAW Goats milk from a farmer and RAW
fine ground chicken, adding more meat to the mix as they mature and are able to eat.
*Click to continue to Week 1 - 8 and Until they come home to you
The pups are ready for birth, and may be quite still
as they rest in preparation for the marathon to come.