Finding out that your Doberman is expecting can be an exciting time in your life. Of course, as a responsible and loving pet owner, your first instinct is to learn everything you can to help keep your dog healthy and happy throughout its pregnancy. One of the first things to learn is how long a Doberman is typically pregnant. Having this information can help you better prepare for the arrival of puppies and time your dog’s prenatal care.
Like most dogs, a Doberman is usually pregnant for 63 to 65 days or 9 weeks. This is a huge difference from a human pregnancy. Let’s learn more about Dobermans and their reproductive cycles so you can help your pregnant fur baby through this difficult period.
The Reproductive Cycle of a Doberman in 4 Parts
While discovering puppies in your future is exciting, you must understand your Doberman’s reproductive cycle. This is great information for not only your dog’s health but also the health and well-being of the expected puppies. An intact Doberman, a dog that hasn’t been spayed, will experience her heat cycle every 6 months. Female Dobermans can reach the age of sexual maturity as young as 5 months. Typically, however, they will experience their first heat cycles between 6 and 12 months of age. When they have their first heat cycle, that means they are sexually mature and can become pregnant.
A dog’s heat cycle is broken up into 4 parts. Let’s explore those parts now so you’ll better understand what’s happening to your pooch and what to expect.
The first stage is known as proestrus. Your female Doberman will typically be in this stage for 9 days. This is when she will begin to attract male dogs to her but will reject their advances until she’s in stage 2 of reproduction. Signs of proestrus often include a bloody discharge and swelling of the vulva.
Estrus is the 2nd stage of a female Doberman’s reproductive cycle. This stage can typically lasts some time between 3 to 14 days. You’ll find that your female is now receptive to the interest of males. You’ll also notice an enlarged vulva that has softened. The discharge produced is also lighter in color during estrus to indicate a change in the cycle.
Diestrus is considered the final stage of the cycle. This takes place around day 14 and is a clear sign that your female’s heat cycle has come to an end. Her discharge may become redder before finally tapering off. You’ll also notice that all swelling decreases and things go back to normal.
The time in between heat cycles, which is typically around 6 months, is known as anestrus. During this time you shouldn’t see any swelling, discharge, or interest in a male’s advances from your female Doberman.
Determining Whether Your Doberman Is Pregnant
Once your female has gone through her reproductive cycle, assuming she has spent time around a male dog, she may become pregnant. Unfortunately, you can’t rush out and buy a pregnancy test for your Doberman like you can a human. Store-bought dog pregnancy tests require blood to be drawn. Instead of doing this, you can simply give it a bit of time, then visit your dog’s veterinarian to determine the answer.
At the vet, there are a few ways pregnancy can be determined. Let’s look at those so you’ll know what’s taking place at your female’s first prenatal visit.
This technique has been around for quite some time. This is where the veterinarian presses on your dog’s abdomen to feel for swelling in the uterus. This procedure can be done 20 to 30 days after possible conception. Unfortunately, it cannot be used to determine how the fetuses inside are doing.
Just like with humans, an ultrasound can be used on dogs to determine if they are pregnant. This is the most commonly used method of determining pregnancy by veterinarians. During an ultrasound, it is possible to determine how many fetuses are inside, if they are viable, and gauge their heartbeats.
X-Rays can be performed to confirm pregnancy but they aren’t often used. This is due to it not being used until at least 50 days into the pregnancy. However, it is a great way to confirm the number of puppies you should expect by visualizing their fetal skeletons.
Blood tests can be used to determine whether a dog is pregnant. A fetal puppy produces relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone found in pregnant mammals. When this hormone is present, your female should be carrying puppies.
The Stages of Pregnancy
Once your Doberman is pregnant you should learn what to expect over the remainder of her pregnancy. During the first few weeks, your Doberman should be able to continue life like normal. She can exercise and eat like she always has. You may notice morning sickness and mood changes. Things start to change around week 4 of pregnancy. This is when veterinarians can definitively determine pregnancy. They’ll also suggest you start to limit your dog’s activities.
By week 5, you’ll notice your female Doberman’s abdomen swelling and her appetite increasing. By week 6 her nipples will begin to darken and swell. Around this stage of pregnancy, a whelping box should be introduced. This is a safe area for your dog to have her puppies.
As pregnancy progresses to week 7 you will notice an even stronger appetite in your dog. Then by weeks 8 and 9 she will most likely spend most of her time in the whelping box preparing for birth. You may notice lactation, a drop in temperature, and decreased appetite as labor approaches within 24 hours.
When birthing begins, keep a close eye on your pooch and allow her to do what comes to her naturally.
As you can see, a 9-week pregnancy is typical for most Dobermans. While this may seem to take forever to those who are anxious to meet the new puppies, it won’t be long before you’re welcoming them to the family. Remember to reach out to your veterinarian during your Doberman’s pregnancy to ensure they get the best care possible.
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