The excitement that comes with expecting another set of German Shepherds from your current pet is overwhelming. However, some German Shepherd owners get terrified and perhaps a little scared of what might happen to their furry friends in the event that they were to make wrong assessments. So, how long are German Shepherds pregnant?
Instead of sitting back and waiting it out, it’s advisable to gather as much information as you can about your canine friend’s gestation period so you can help her out properly during this critical period.
The gestation or pregnancy of a German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is about 63 days, but the exact duration can vary in terms of result process and duration. However, German Shepherds are known to be very protective, caring, gentle, and amorous with their newborns.
At What Age Do German Shepherds Get Pregnant
For German Shepherds, fertilization takes place during their second heat cycle stage. This means that once your dog is impregnated, then its gestation period will start at its third heat cycle stage, which is roughly after six months.
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, it’s 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.
The Ability To Get Pregnant
It’s important to know the factors that affect a German Shepherd’s ability to get pregnant such as:
- Age: Old age doesn’t really affect your dog’s ability to get pregnant. A female GSD can get pregnant her whole life. Therefore, it is important to spay your female GSD if you don’t plan on breeding from her.
- Man-made procedures: It’s not possible to help your doggie to get pregnant artificially.
How To Tell If A German Shepherd Is Pregnant
So, how do you know if your German Shepherd is pregnant? Since German Shepherds are good at enduring pain, it might be a little difficult to know whether she is pregnant or not. Here are four of the most common signs of pregnancy in German Shepherds:
- Weight Gain: A German Shepherd is expected to gain weight by about 30% when she gets pregnant. While this may seem overwhelming to a new dog owner, there is no need to worry because she’ll lose weight significantly after giving birth.
- Being Over Cuddly: Your dog is likely to become over-cuddly whenever you’re close to her. So, you should take note of that and be welcoming, as well.
- Increased Appetite: A pregnant German Shepherd is expected to have an increased appetite so she can properly take good care of her puppies. You need to stock up the right dog food for your German Shepherd at the beginning of her pregnancy. Additionally, it’s critical that you buy healthy, nutrient’ rich dog food, not just any type of dog food based on taste.
- Frequent Urination: Just like any other female dog, a pregnant German Shepherd becomes more concerned about claiming her territory. In order to do this, she’ll tend to urinate more frequently so as to mark her territory. Your dog will choose to mark her territory at any location in the house, and you’ll only realize it if you’re very keen.
- Behavioral Changes: Once your dog becomes pregnant and the maternal instincts start kicking in, she will undergo certain behavioral changes such as increased aggression, being restless, and very agitated almost at all times.
If you’re in doubt, always consult your veterinarian who can use tech-based procedures such as ultrasound, hormone tests, palpation, or X-Ray to determine whether your pet is indeed pregnant.
Taking Care Of German Shepherd Pregnancy Week By Week
Taking care of a pregnant German Shepherd for 63 days can be a daunting undertaking, especially to first-time dog owners. However, if you come up with a well-laid out caretaking strategy that is broken down for each week, the process will seem like a walk in the park.
Here are easy-to-follow tips on how to take care of GSD pregnancy week by week:
- 1st Week: Since your pet’s veterinarian can’t even confirm for sure whether the dog is pregnant or not, there is virtually nothing to do.
- 3rd Week: After the second week, your furry friend is likely to start becoming restless and developing a heightened appetite. Therefore, you should invest in high-value dog toys with irresistible treats for playing with while providing her enough nutrients. In addition, your dog’s nipples will become larger and turn darker in color.
- 4th Week: Consider limiting physical activity for your dog and consult with your dog’s veterinarian about the dietary supplements you should stock up. You should also keep up with your grooming regimen to keep away diseases and infections.
- 5th Week: Your pet will start gaining weight. Start reducing the food portions gradually as you introduce a healthier diet that is capable of promoting the puppies’ growth and development.
- 6th Week: The growing pups will begin limiting what your dog is capable of consuming at once. So, you should simply keep the portions smaller but more frequent.
- 7th Week: Your dog will start producing milk. Since that leads to whelping, you should find a comfortable place where your dog will keep resting until she gives birth.
- 8th Week: At just one week before she gives birth, you should ensure she doesn’t exert too much pressure and strain on her body.
- 9th Week: Start monitoring your dog’s temperature very closely. If you notice that the temperature has dropped from 38 to 36 Celsius, then the pups may arrive after around 20 to 36 hours. You’ll also notice that her appetite will drop considerably a few hours before giving birth.
If you take your time to learn the tips and consult regularly with your pet’s veterinarian, then taking good care of your GSD and her new set of little cuties won’t be a struggle. Furthermore, if it’s your first time, don’t shy away from distributing the puppies to close friends and family members who are true pet lovers.
Dr. Belinda Hawks earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University in 2006 and has been practicing veterinary medicine since then. Dr. Belinda currently works as a passionate rancher and mixed animal veterinarian in a rural town in South Carolina. When not practicing veterinary medicine or writing, she spends her free time with her lovely husband and three kids (2 boys and a lovely girl) in South Carolina.