Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not go through menstrual periods. Rather, they go through heat cycles also known as estrus cycles. These heat cycles in which dogs can become pregnant usually begin at around four to six months of age for smaller breeds and twelve to fourteen months of age for larger breeds. For as long as a dog is having estrus cycles, she can become pregnant. It is important to note now that dogs do not go through menopause. This is often the reason why dogs are spayed after their good breeding years.
During the estrus cycles, dogs discharge a bloody fluid, which is why it is thought to be a menstrual period. When the fluid becomes less bloody, dogs are ready to be impregnated, this can last a few hours to a few days. Between breeds, the estrus cycles vary. Some breeds are known to have a one to two-week average, others three weeks, while others still can have it for only two days.
While it is helpful to understand a dog's estrus cycle in terms of knowing when to breed them, or in some cases when to keep them away from male dogs, what many would like to know, is how long are dogs pregnant? Or how long do they stay pregnant?
Typically, a dog is pregnant for about two months. This is the length of the board. Some veterinarians estimate how long dogs are pregnant for by a number of days, such as 60-65/65 days. They say that dogs usually give birth between day 60 and day 65. For smaller breeds, how long dogs are pregnant can vary depending on how tiny the dog is. Often, this is the result of the mother dog not being able to carry the puppy for a very long period. This can mean that the dog will whelp before the 60th day. Also, smaller dogs often have only one puppy instead of several.
No matter how long your dog is pregnant for, you should be ready to provide it with what it needs throughout the pregnancy. First, pregnant dogs need a lot of water since their bodies are easily dehydrated, due to the life growing inside of them. Be sure that their bowl is always filled with fresh water, and that they have easy access to it.
Second, pregnant dogs need little areas in which they can "nest" for their puppies. This means providing them with a room (maybe the room in which they will give birth so that they can familiarize themselves with the room) that has soft pillows and towels. These can be old pillows and towels so that your dog can play with them and arrange them as she sees fit.
Finally, be sure you provide your dog with a good diet before, during and after pregnancy. Proper nutrition is an absolute must. This is one of the key factors to having a successful pregnancy and healthy puppies. Often, dog breeders recommend the raw food diet before pregnancy, (as early as being a puppy) so that the dog is used to obtaining its nutrients through this kind of feeding. A raw food diet is high in protein, which is something a pregnant dog needs throughout her pregnancy, and well into lactation or nursing.