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German Shepherd: Journey from Pregnancy to Delivery

Period, Signs, Stages, Delivery & Care

The average pregnancy period of German Shepherds is 9 Weeks. As the German Shepherds are huge, their pregnancy can be a bit longer as compared to other breeds. If you want to know the exact period of pregnancy of your German Shepherd, you must monitor your dog closely and keep tracking its heat period.

The Pregnancy Period of a German Shepherd

GSD Pregnancy

The average duration of the pregnancy of a German Shepherd from the time of conception is 63 days or 9 weeks. A veteran can accurately determine the exact gestation period of a German Shepherd.

German Shepherds are the second most famous dogs with a tall, muscular, and athletic body. They are often used as a pet, for herding, as a guard, hunter, or a police dog. Although the German Shepherds are strong dogs and do not get sick, they need special attention in terms of food, exercise, and hygiene.

How to know if your German Shepherd is Pregnant?

If this the first time that you are keeping a German Shepherd as a pet, then you might be confused to figure out whether your German Shepherd is pregnant or not. This is because there aren’t any prominent and noticeable changes in their body during the early stages.

However, there are a few symptoms that are quite obvious and indicate that your German Shepherd is pregnant.

Pregnancy Signs

Observe the below mentioned signs to identify GSD’s pregnancy.

  • The appetite of a German Shepherd increases massively.
  • The dogs feel morning sickness.
  • Their weight starts increasing.
  • The nipples grow bigger.
  • The color of the nipples gets darken or gets pink.
  • The fur around the teats starts getting thinner.
  • The dog becomes lazy and sleepy.

How a pregnancy can be tested?

Humans have invented many easy ways to check pregnancy instantly at home like a pregnancy strip. But this is not easy in case of animals to check if they are pregnant or not.

To check the pregnancy of a dog, you have to take it to a veteran. The veteran will check the pregnancy with the help of the following methods.

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Hormones Test
  • Palpation

The Four Stages of GSD Pregnancy

Gsd Pregnancy

The German Shepherd female dogs go through the heat cycle every 6 months which lasts for 21 days. This means a female GSD can get pregnant twice a year.

The 63 days long pregnancy of a German Shepherd can be divided into 4 stages each consisting of different durations.

1). Proestrus

This is the first stage of the heat cycle of a GSD that lasts for about 9 days. This is the stage at which the females attract male dogs but reject their advances for mating. During this stage, the vulva of the female dog swells and bloody discharge can be seen.

2). Estrus

This is stage 2 of the heat cycle. This stage lasts for about 3 to 4 days or 7 to 11 days. During this stage, the female becomes receptive and there are high chances of mating. The signs of Estrus are soft and enlarged vulva with the discharge getting lighter in color and starts decreasing.

3). Diestrus

Diestrus is the third and the longest stage of the heat cycle that starts usually at the 14th or 15th day. During Diestrus, the discharge becomes redder, the vulva returns to normal size and the female doesn’t allow mating anymore.

This stage completes the heat cycle and is the indication of the start of a pregnancy.

4). Anestrus

The period between one heat cycle and the other is known as anestrus. It lasts for about 6 months when the female again gets ready to go into the heat cycle.

GSD Pregnancy Stages Week by Week

Gsd Pregnancy

For a better understanding of the stages of pregnancy of a German Shepherd, we have divided the pregnancy stages of a German Shepherd into weeks.

Week 1

In the first week of pregnancy, the eggs get fertilized and the reproductive system is ready for pregnancy.

Week 2

In the second week, the healthy and fertilized eggs implant into the lining of the uterus.

Week 3

In the third week, some noticeable changes will start appearing, like the change in the nipple size and color, morning sickness, and increased appetite. However, some dogs will show a lack of appetite.

Week 4

By the end of the first month, the female dogs can be seen vomiting in the morning regularly. This is a strong indication of pregnancy.

Week 5

As soon as the second month begins, the fetal development gets faster and the heartbeats of the puppies can be heard with a good stethoscope.

Week 6

The appetite of the female German Shepherd increases noticeably during week six. The dog gains 20 to 50% weight and their also an increase in urination.

Week 7

Some behavioral changes can be seen as the pregnancy moves towards the end of the second month. The abdomen gets firm and large and the vaginal discharge becomes clear and odorless.

Week 8

By the end of the second month, an instant decrease in the appetite of the dog can be observed. The movements of the puppies in the abdomen become more visible. The nipples grow bigger for the suckling puppies.

Week 9

As the last week of pregnancy begins, the development of the puppies completes and the puppies start moving towards the birth canal. The female dog becomes restless and starts looking for a safe and secret place for nesting.

Nesting Behavior

GSD Pregnancy 4

Soon after the 8th month, when the nipples grow bigger for the puppies to suck, the female dog becomes restless. It starts searching for a safe place, hidden and comfortable, where it can give birth to the puppies easily.

If you provide it with a good box, it will start spending most of the time there to get used to it. You can put some towels or blankets in the box to make it more comfortable for the restless dog.

Delivery of Puppies

GSD Pregnancy 5

The puppies can be delivered at any time during the 9th week. The temperature of the dog falls 24 hours before the delivery and gets close to the normal human temperature.

By the end of the 9th week, there is no need to worry if the puppies are not delivered. If the 10th week starts, then there can be a complication and you must consult a veteran.

How many puppies are there in 1 litter?

The number of puppies in one litter depends upon the size of the mother. However, the average number of puppies in one litter is 8.

German Shepherd Stages of Labor

GSD Pregnancy 6

The labor of a German Shepherd is divided into 3 stages.

Stage 1

The first stage of labor starts around 24 hours before delivery. During this stage, the dog refuses to eat or drink, starts vomiting or panting, and becomes extremely restless as the contractions begin at this stage.

Stage 2

Stage 2 starts when the dog starts giving birth to the puppies. This stage can last up to 24 hours. A dog delivers puppies with a gap of 1 and a half hours. This gap must not exceed 2 hours as it can indicate some complications.

It is better to know with the help of an x-ray or ultrasound that how many puppies are there inside the dog. So that you may know when stage 2 completes.

Stage 3

Stage 3 starts almost at the same time as stage 2. This stage starts when the placenta, the newborn puppy, appears and completes when the last placenta is delivered.

Stage 3 ends as soon as the stage 2 completes.

Taking care of a Pregnant Dog

Your German Shepherd needs a lot of care and attention during its pregnancy. You can do several things to make the pregnancy comfortable and less painful.

  • Quality dog food is essential for the good health of a pregnant dog.
  • As the appetite of the dog increases, the quantity of dog food should also be increased but gradually.
  • Give it more food at different times of the day and in small portions. Feeding a female dog with a big quantity can be dangerous for the dog and the puppies.
  • Take your dog to a vet for regular checkups. You must take it to the vet at least 3 to 4 times during the 60 to 65 days of pregnancy.

Final Verdict

Taking care of a pregnant dog is a great responsibility and you have to be very alert and conscious about every movement of the dog. You have to take care of the dog more than a human being during pregnancy. If you love little puppies and want to play with them, then these efforts will be worth it.

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Dr. Annie Spencer

Annie Spencer is a certified Dog Health Expert Veterinarian and holds a masters degree in Dog Emotion & Cognition from the Duke University, USA. She owns a private clinic and shares knowledge of her 30+ year experience at PetsBeast.com - helping worldwide people with their queries and recommending them with best dog health care products to purchase.

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