Pregnancy Timeline

submitted with permission by Marj Brooks
with thanks to Kevin & Donna Frizzell of DeSaix St. Bernards for generously allowing us to use many of their superb array of articles

Week One (Days 1-7)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Fertilization occurs
  • 2 cell embryos are in the oviduct
  • The embryo is fairly resistant to external interference in development

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Possible morning sickness
  • Possible personality changes

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Normal feeding
  • Check any and all medications with vet prior to administering
  • No insecticides (i.e., flea treatments)
  • No live vaccines

TO DO LIST

  • Put together pedigree on litter
  • Write contract
  • Contact AKC for litter registration application
  • Start taking puppy reservations

Week Two (Days 8-14)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Embryo will be 4 cell at start of week and 64 cell by end of week
  • Embryo enters the uterus

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Possible morning sickness

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Continue as with Week One

TO DO LIST

  • Nothing special this week

Week Three (Days 15-21)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Day 19 — Implantation of embryos in uterus

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • See above

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • See above

TO DO LIST

  • Nothing special this week

Week Four (Days 22-28)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Development of eyes and spinal cords
  • Faces take shape
  • Fetus’ grow from 5-10 mm to 14-15 mm
  • Organogenesis begins– Embryos are at their most susceptible to defects
  • Days 26 – 32 are the best days to palpate (i.e.. feel for the puppies)

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Possible clear vaginal discharge
  • Mammary development begins

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • After Day 26, palpitation may be possible to diagnose pregnancy
  • Limit strenuous activity (such as working, jumping, long runs)
  • Add 1/4 cup cottage cheese or a hard boiled egg to food on alternating days

TO DO LIST

  • Schedule ultrasound or palpation with vet if desired

Week Five (Days 29-35)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES
 

  • Development of toes, whisker buds, and claws
  • Fetus’ look like dogs
  • Gender can be determined
  • Eyes (previously open) now close
  • Fetus’ grow from 18 mm – 30 mm
  • Organogenesis ends — embryos are fairly resistant to interference with development

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Swelling becomes noticeable
  • Loss of “tuck-up”
  • Weight will start to increase

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Slightly increase amount of food and switch to puppy kibble.
  • If you feed one meal a day, add an extra meal. If you feed twice a day, slightly increase one of the meals.
  • Add daily multi-vitamin
  • Palpation no longer possible due to fluids in uterus

TO DO LIST

  • Nothing special this week

Week Six (Days 36-42)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Development of skin pigment
  • Fetus’ should weigh around 6 grams and be 45 mm long
  • Fetal heartbeats can be heard with stethoscope

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Nipples darken and enlarge
  • Abdomen continues to enlarge

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Add cottage cheese or hard boiled egg to food daily
  • Increase the amount of food in the extra meal
  • Bitch should start sleeping in whelping box

TO DO LIST

  • Assemble whelping box
  • By this time you should be fairly sure that the bitch is pregnant.
  • Notify the people on your puppy list.
  • Let them know when you expect delivery.

Week Seven (Days 43-49)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Growth and development continues

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Abdomen hair will start shedding
  • The bitch will start to look pregnant at this point

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Slightly increase both meals

TO DO LIST

  • Stop any roughhousing or jumping
  • Radiographs (X-
    rays) possible to determine number and size of puppies

Week Eight (Days 50-57)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Fetal movement can be detected when bitch is at rest
  • Puppies can safely be born from now on

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Milk may be squeezed from nipples
  • The bitch will be very large.

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Moderate lunch

TO DO LIST

  • Gather whelping kit
  • Prepare phone list for help/support. It should include your vet’s phone number, the emergency clinic’s phone number, the number of any friends who will be offering support during whelping and anyone else you might need to contact before, during, or after whelping (like your office to let them know you won’t be in!)
  • Make sure your car is gassed up and ready for a possible emergency trip to the vet’s office.

Week Nine (Days 58-65)


DEVELOPMENT OF THE PUPPIES

  • Growth and Development continues

CHANGES IN THE BITCH

  • Nesting behavior may be seen
  • Bitch may become distressed (panting, pacing, acting uncomfortable)
  • Temperature should be around 100.8-100.2=B0
    When temperature drops to around 98 – 99.4, puppies should be born within 24 hours
  • Appetite may disappear as whelping approaches

CARE OF THE BITCH

  • Start taking temperature three times a day

TO DO LIST

  • Notify vet or emergency clinic when temperature drops so that they will be ready for any problems
  • Keep detailed records on temperature and behavior of bitch
  • Double check that whelping supplies are ready
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