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How Long Is A German Shepherd Dog Pregnant For

The First Month Of Pregnancy For A Dog

German Shepherd Pregnancy: Gestation Period Period, Signs and Stages ! Dog Health Tips

In the first step of pregnancy, the males sperm travel to the females uterine horns, and become embedded in the uterine lining around the 16th day. A few days later, around day 22, the fetuses themselves start to take shape.

As mentioned above, there probably wont be any major signs that your dog is pregnant during the first weeks of this stage. By the fourth week, though, you might see some morning sickness symptoms, vaginal discharge, and a loss of appetite and lethargic disposition.

When Can A German Shepherd Get Pregnant

As for the sexual life of the German Shepherd, the female reaches puberty, and has her first heat, between the sixth and seventh month of life, and, therefore, from that moment on she is considered to be fertile.

As for her being fertile, this does not mean that she can start having offspring, since it is necessary for her to develop physically and psychologically beforehand, so she must be at least two years old.

Heat lasts for two weeks and manifests itself in the form of light bleeding, more need to urinate and even some nervousness. After mounting, the gestation period of a German Shepherd bitch is variable, but, in general, we can place it around two months .

After the gestation time has elapsed, the female German Shepherd will give birth to between six and eight puppies, who will need their mother over the following weeks for their correct physical and social development.

Stages Of Dog Pregnancy

Dogs pass through the stages of pregnancy quickly. Gestation periods are comparatively short in dogs, which means that the pups develop rapidly inside the womb over a period of two-to-three months.

Month One

During the first month, the embryos travel to the uterine horns, usually around day 7, and the embryos are embedded in the uterine lining around day 16. The fetus begins to take shape by day 22, and by day 28 or 30 a veterinarian should be able to detect fetal heartbeats on an ultrasound.

Many dogs do not show any symptoms during the first three weeks of their pregnancy. Some symptoms to watch for during the first month are:

  • Increased appetite
  • Clear vaginal discharge
  • Visible puppy movement in abdomen

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German Shepherd Pregnancy Care

Poor nutrition of the pregnant female can be the cause of your bitch reabsorbing some fetuses during the first two weeks of gestation. This is more common than you think and is the cause of litters being born with only one or two puppies.

So before blaming the dog or thinking of discarding her for giving birth to only two puppies, you should check if the feeding regimen you gave her during pregnancy was the correct one both in quality and quantity.

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Breeding isnt recommended past the age of 8. As your dog grows older the quality of her eggs will deteriorate and be more vulnerable to birth defects, and shell be less likely to carry to term. Male German shepherds should not stud until they have reached sexual maturity and shown confirmation temperament standards.

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Can You Play With Your Gestating German Shepherd

Your German Shepherd can and should be played with throughout pregnancy. By exercising, your dog will maintain their strength and health.

You must ensure that you avoid any activities that might traumatize the dogs lower regions and damage the belly. In addition, make sure that your dog does not run around too much, as it might impact the birthing region of the body.

What Should You Feed Your Pregnant German Shepherd

Your pregnant German Shepherd will require nutrition that it might not receive through traditional dog foods. Thankfully, an increasing number of commercial suppliers offer wet and dry foods that can help meet your pregnant dogs nutritional demands.

Regardless of the kind of food that you feed your German Shepherd during pregnancy, you must not take any chances with the nutrition. Dog owners often think that there is not much difference between canine and human nutrition the truth is that dog nutrition is a lot more complicated and might not be fulfilled using supplementary pills.

If you are unclear about the diet you should feed your dog, it is best to consult professional breeders.

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Weight Gain & Enlarged Abdomen

The final clue that you will get that your German Shepherd might be pregnant is her weight gain and swollen abdomen. Normally, a dog of healthy weight will have a nicely defined waist.

Your German Shepherds waist will begin to disappear, with her abdomen growing in size instead. In early pregnancy, the abdomen will not be insanely large in size, but she should noticeably become heavier.

When this happens, you will need to take your dog to the vet to confirm the pregnancy and the health of your dog. As her pregnancy progresses, her abdomen will swell as the puppies grow in size.

How Often Does A German Shepherd Go Into Heat

Pregnant German Shepherd dog 8 weeks

So once your German Shepherd has their first heat cycle, how often should you expect them to go into heat?

While this can vary from breed to breed, most German Shepherds will go into heat twice a year .

Heat cycles can be irregular in young dogs, and may take a couple of years for their cycles to regulate. Additionally, German Shepherds like all canines do not have a strict time of the year in which they must breed, so this only adds to the irregularity in the beginning stages.

As long as you are prepared for at least 2 heat cycles a year, you are well equipped!

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Knowing When It Is Time To Stop Breeding

As has been mentioned above, your German Shepherds health should be valued above anything else during the breeding process.

You should consider stopping the breeding of your German Shepherd when they reach about eight years of age. When breeding after this age, health becomes a huge hazard for both parent and puppy.

When we breed a dog too often or for too long to the point it is causing major health problems we refer to this process as overbreeding and inbreeding.

This can be done to both male and female German Shepherds, and it can be seen all the time all over the world by anyone.

Perhaps you have heard of a Puppy Mill puppy. These puppies generally come from a litter where the mother or father have been bred too many times and for too long.

As such, when we purchase Puppy Mill puppies, we often see these puppies as having health problems down the road that may be the case of malnourishment from a mothers trouble with lactation.

These puppies could also have health problems due to infection, or even inherited diseases if a parents genetics have not been considered before bleeding.

No matter what, before we start to recognize conditions in the puppies, we generally start to recognize conditions in the parents.

German Shepherds are especially susceptible to certain conditions caused by too much breeding especially when age plays in as a major factor.

So, what kinds of conditions can occur as a result of inbreeding and overbreeding?

Should I Change Her Routine As Pregnancy Advances

As pregnancy progresses, intra-abdominal pressure increases and so does the mother’s food requirements. The dog usually needs to have an increased number of smaller meals rather than an increased quantity per meal. Let your pet decide how much physical activity she needs. This depends on the number of puppies and the amount of intra-abdominal pressure she is experiencing. Do not over-exercise a pregnant female. Check for any vaginal discharges and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Contributors: Ernest Ward, DVM

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German Shepherd Pregnancy Calendar

While pregnancy undergoes, you will see the following signs that note the stages of pregnancy:

  • Heartbeats puppies heartbeats, to be precise. It happens at around 25 days after mating, and, obviously, is an important sign of pregnancy. Another 5 days and you will even be able to feel the embryos, if you search around the abdominal are of the dog. Also, you might just be able to understand how many puppies you are going to be dealing with.
  • At 49 days of pregnancy, the pups will be kicking around, just like babys. This is because they are becoming larger and larger every day. The female will probably reject food, as all the place in her stomach is taken up by her future children. This signs to a last stage of pregnancy, and in a couple of weeks, more/less, you will be accompanied by some more German shepherds in your household.
  • If you also see your dog searching around for something, she is probably looking for a place to fit all her puppies. This happens, again, mere days before birth.

The Ultimate Guide To German Shepherd Pregnancy: Important Care Tips


If you have a female German Shepherd, there will come a time that she might get pregnant. And should that time come, you might end up unsure of how to feel or have no idea what to do to take care of your dog. If its your first time, things can even get scary, and you may find yourself panicking not knowing how to respond. Trust me, I know how it feels.

I remember the first time a German Shepherd of mine got pregnant. I was clueless then and so I just let things happen. I just left the mom alone with her puppies and just watched from afar. Sad to say only 1 of the 3 puppies survived. I now look back thinking that I could have probably done something to help.

I dont want you to feel the same regret. And such is why in this article I will strive to provide you with a complete guide to German Shepherd pregnancy. In it, youll learn everything from confirming your dogs pregnancy, how to take care of your pregnant dog, and what you can expect when she finally gives birth.

  • Final Thoughts
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    How Many Puppies Do German Shepherds Have In Their First Litter

    German Shepherds have anywhere between 1 to 15 puppies. However, most dogs have around eight puppies. There is no way to determine how many puppies your dog might have unless you have an ultrasound later in their pregnancy.

    There are several factors that determine how many puppies a dog has. Typically, larger dogs like German Shepherds have more than smaller dogs. Size also seems to be a significant factor. Larger German Shepherds often have more puppies, for instance.

    There is also a genetic component, though it isnt clear how significant genetics are.

    Dogs that have more puppies sometimes have their puppies sooner. There seems to be a correlation between litter length and gestational time.

    It could be that females find it harder to carry more puppies at once, so they give birth to them sooner. This situation is also found in humans. Those that carry twins and triplets often give birth early.

    Is Your Female Gsd Able To Get Pregnant

    There are different cases where a German shepherd pregnancy is no longer possible, the first one being a man-made procedure.

    The second one is of old age. With that said, a female German shepherd usually loses its ability to get pregnant once she becomes 3 years old.

    Within these 3 years, you can only hope to know that your German shepherd is pregnant by finding the signs of gestation period.

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    How Do You Tell If A Female Gsd In Heat

    There are four stages in the heat cycle, and the signs that a female German shepherd is in heat depends on which stage shes currently in.

    • Proestrus: This is the stage where males are attracted to female GSDs, while the female isnt. This lasts for an average of 9 days.The most obvious sign of this stage is when male dogs start to crowd outside of your house. This is because its how male dogs react to a female in heat. They become attracted.However, your pet is likely to reject them since she still isnt susceptive to mating. Plus, fertilization isnt possible at this point.Regardless, your female dog will start to show vaginal bleeding at this stage, although the blood becomes lighter as the period progresses.
    • Estrus: The female GSD will be susceptive to mating at this stage and it can last anywhere from 4 to 21 days. This can be called the flagging stage.During the flagging stage, the dark red vaginal discharge will turn lighter. You may also notice your pet rubbing their rear end against furniture or other objects. These are indications that your female German shepherd is ready to mate. This is also the stage where mature eggs are released from the ovary.
    • Anestrus: Anestrus is the period between each heat cycle and as previously said, it lasts for about 6 months. While we mentioned this as the fourth stage, its not exactly a part of the heat cycle.Regardless, at this stage, there will be no growth and development in the female German shepherds reproductive organs.

    How Often Does A German Shepherd Come In Heat

    Pregnant German Shepherd dog 7 weeks (Ronda)

    A Female German Shepherd comes in heat every 6 months. But sometimes dogs can have irregular cycles.

    It can take up to 2 years to the cycles to become regular. During the heating cycle, many hormonal changes are going on inside a dogs body.

    Its behavior can change, and it can act differently than usual. When a female is in heat, she will desperately look for another dog to mate.

    During this time, a German shepherd will bleed, and if you do not know how to care for her, you can get in trouble.

    Here is an article on how to take care of a german shepherd in heat

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    The Size Of The Female Dog

    The size of the dog has a big impact of how many puppies they can carry. Although German Shepherds are considered to be a large dog breed some female German Shepherds are larger than others.

    A female GSD that is larger will be able to carry more pups than a smaller one. So, if your German Shepherd weighs 70 pounds, they wont be able to carry as many puppies as a 100-pound German Shepherd.

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    German Shepherd Pregnancy Timeline

    Just like most of the other dog breed types, a German Shepherd is expected to stay pregnant for 63 days. However, to avoid being caught unawares, its important to note that some GSDs can give birth as early as the 58th day while others can last up to the 68th day. In most cases, this depends on the number of puppies: the more the pups the longer the period, and vice versa.

    While some dogs may give birth to a single pup, others can manage a litter size of up to 17 puppies. The litter size of German Shepherds is around 8 puppies. According to the Norwegian Kennel Club 2010 study, purebreds that have a unique genetic makeup can only give birth to around five puppies. In addition, you should keep in mind that the first pup is usually a male.

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    Other Exercises For Pregnant Dogs

    Of course, walks arent the only way that you can exercise your pregnant dog. You dont need to completely cover them in bubble wrap just realize that there will be some things that simply arent safe for your pregnant dog.

    Here are a couple of ideas of exercises that you can do with your pregnant dog.

    • Fetch or Playing Catch

    Be gentle and dont throw the ball too far away, but this sort of exercise is great because it can help your pregnant dog to keep their muscles in good shape. This is very helpful when your dog is getting ready to deliver their babies. Its important to note that your dog shouldnt be doing anything that involves jumping or running when they get to 4 weeks pregnant.

    • Indoor Exercises

    You can do certain exercises with your dog from the comfort of your sofa. For instance, you can play fetch with them, as long as the room is big enough. These sorts of exercises are much better for your dog when they are later on in their pregnancy rather than exercises that you would do outdoors.

    • Swimming

    Not all dogs enjoy swimming, but it can be a great low impact activity for your dog. Just make sure that they arent straining themselves too much. You can use an outdoor dog paddling pool for this, or you can even let them frolic in the water at your local beach.

    German Shepherd Pregnancy Tips


    Your German Shepherd will be pregnant for between 58 and 68 days. The average length of a German Shepherd pregnancy is about 63 days from the mating date to delivery.

    There will be plenty of behavioral changes in your German Shepherd too, not just physical ones. For example, as she enters the last 14 days of pregnancy you might see the following signs:

    • Your German Shepherd will want to cuddle you more and show you more love.
    • Your German Shepherd wont want to socialize with other dogs but could be cling to you.
    • Your German Shepherd will be calmer and less excitable.
    • Your German Shepherd might appear to be uncomfortable.
    • Your German Shepherd might want to sleep more and even in different places.

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