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Few things are as exciting as knowing that new puppies are on the way. For this experience to be unforgettable, it is important to know everything about the time of a dog's pregnancy. This way you will help them better, as they are part of the family.
In this article, we'll provide an answer to the question “how long are German Shepherds pregnant?”, “when can a German Shepherd get pregnant?”, “how to tell if my German Shepherd is pregnant?” as well as how to care for a pregnant German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd is one of the favorite breeds for those who love dogs. Their noble and loyal character, their strong and beautiful appearance. Intelligent, obedient and well trained, they are great company and a caring caretaker.
Needless to say, there are many reasons why the German Shepherd is so sought after. One of their characteristics is that for health and emotional well-being, they need a lot of physical activity.
We mention it because being pregnant, physical activity is still necessary. You can decrease the intensity, but not to the point of a sedentary lifestyle. With this you favor their health, as well as the development of the embryos during the pregnancy of a German Shepherd.
How Long are German Shepherds Pregnant?
After mating occurs, the time of pregnancy can vary. However, on average it is stipulated that it lasts from 60 to 65 days. In cases where the litter is large, the gestation time may be shortened a bit. When it's time to give birth, she will have a litter of six to eight adorable puppies.
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 (60-65 days).
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.
How to Tell if My German Shepherd is Pregnant?
One of the signs that is expected to see, to confirm the pregnancy of a German Shepherd bitch is the increase in size. But in fact, this will occur from the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy, that is, when it is quite advanced.
Something that will vary is the number of times she urinate. Without a doubt, she will do it more often during pregnancy. You will also be able to see changes in the vaginal discharge, a pale pinkish or whitish liquid. This will show about a month after mating.
The best way to confirm if your German Shepherd is pregnant is with your vet. They can determine her condition, and palpate her to determine any irregularity. You can also do an ultrasound that provides a lot of valuable information. This is done after the 25th, as determined by the specialist. With the image, you can verify the health of the dog and the puppies.
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.
Regardless of the type of diet you are using to feed her, it is important to realize that pregnancy implies a double and sometimes triple demand for nutrients of high quality and digestibility.
During the matings and then during the 3 weeks afterwards, give your dog the same amount of food, times and frequencies of meals that you gave her before the matings. She does not need more at the moment since fetal development in the first third of gestation is slow.
Some females decrease their appetite at the third week of gestation, this loss of appetite is considered normal and you should not worry (if she stops eating completely for 2 days you should take her to a veterinarian immediately).
From week 3 to week 5, continue giving her the same amount of food but divide her daily ration into two meals. That means, if you gave her 1,500 grams of food in one meal, now you will give her two meals of 750 grams each.
DO NOT give supplements of vitamins, calcium, omegas or any type of food supplements to your dog during her pregnancy. These supplements, far from helping, can cause dystocia due to uterine obstruction and other birth defects.
In the sixth week of gestation you should start feeding her food with high protein and fat. The most recommended are super premium foods for puppies (the foods you find in the supermarket are not suitable for your dog).
In this same week six, you should begin to divide her daily food ration into three meals since the pregnant uterus will prevent her from eating large portions of food.
Keep fresh and clean water freely accessible to your dog 24 hours a day throughout pregnancy. This is vital to help the healthy development of her puppies.
Exercise is decisive for the health of your dog. The daily walk, swimming and tracking work are good activators of her metabolism and physical health. They prevent excessive weight, improve circulation and will keep her with strong muscles which will allow her to have the ideal strength and elasticity for a successful delivery.
For no reason make her jump and avoid fights with other dogs. A practice that we recommend is that during the entire gestation of your German Shepherd dog, make them practice basic and/or advanced obedience exercise routines twice a day. This is because we have been able to verify that the puppies born to mothers who do obedience exercises during pregnancy, show a greater disposition to work and their learning capacity increases.
At the end of gestation, your German Shepherd dog will have increased between 15 and 25% of her weight (compared to her weight before mating) if she is kept at a balanced weight and properly exercised, there will hardly be any problems during birth.