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Poodle Pregnancy Week-by-Week

Dog pregnancy is a bit different than that of human pregnancy.  To begin with, dogs are only pregnant for an average of 63 days.  That’s just a little over 2 months from conception to whelping! Here is a quick week-by-week of what to expect when one of our poodles is expecting.

Week 1

The first week of pregnancy begins when the eggs are fertilized high up in the uterus. I start counting down when mating has occurred. The first four weeks seem to move so slowly because there are almost no outward signs of pregnancy!

Week 2

The cells of the fertilized eggs begin to divide and multiply, becoming embryos and then they will begin to move down to the uterine horns.  Some females will get morning sickness at this time, but not always.  My poodle Mina and my labrador Belle always seemed to have a day or two of morning sickness at this point, but my poodle Buffy has not.

Week 3

Finally, by the third week, the embryos begin to implant, and this is the beginning of their growth and development, though even at this point it is still too early to confirm pregnancy!

Week 4

By this time the embryos have developed spinal cords, eyes, and faces, and their little hearts begin to beat.  On day 28 pregnancy can finally be confirmed via an ultrasound, though determining how many puppies are in the litter is not an exact science at this point.

Week 5

Going into week 5 things really begin to speed up.  Toes and claws begin to develop, and the puppies begin to put on weight.  Most of my girls will show no outward sign of pregnancy up until week 4, and then suddenly, almost overnight, their bellies begin to swell, and it becomes obvious that puppies are on the way.

Week 6

By week 6, the pregnancy will become very noticeable as the puppies are growing rapidly at this point.  This is often the time when you can feel and see them kicking in their mom’s stomach.  I have spent many an afternoon watching little flutters of puppy kicks.  By day 45, the puppies' skeletons have formed enough to take an x-ray to get a more accurate puppy count before delivery.  By the end of week 6 the puppies’ eyes have also fully developed, but their eyelids will remain closed until approximately 10-12 days after they are born.

rendering of an 8 week old puppy fetus in the womb

Week 7

A this point the puppies are very well developed and the mother may begin producing colostrum (first milk) in her mammary glands in preparation for birth.  From this point on my girls will nap heavily.

pregnant standard poodle lying on her back on a rug
Mina 8 weeks pregnant with a litter of 10!

Week 8

yellow labrador retriever lying in a wooden whelping box nursing her 10 1 week old puppies
Belle's litter of 10 that she whelped under my couch.

Going into week 8, the puppies have developed fur and they are very crowded in the uterus.  There is often quite a bit of activity as they get into position for the coming birth.

The mother may begin nesting and looking for a place to deliver.  Many of my girls wanted to whelp under my couch.  My lab Belle actually did one time!  Since then I have provided them with a much more appropriate alternative in our puppy house with a proper whelping box. 

Week 9

This is the week when labor begins and the puppies are whelped.  During this time I monitor my moms closely and make sure they have everything they need including becoming their personal chef and masseuse.  I won’t leave their side until all the puppies are delivered and everyone is doing well.

woman sitting in whelping box petting pregnant red standard poodle


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