Despite Great Danes being one of the largest breeds of dog, they have the same gestation period as any other breed. Great Danes will be pregnant for around 63 days.
The easiest way to confirm your Great Dane’s due date is to count the days from when they were mated, stopping at 63 days from this date. However, if your Great Dane goes over 63 days, check with your vet to ensure nothing is wrong. Smaller dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas, may have shorter gestation periods, potentially around the 62-day mark.
A Great Dane will begin to grow and change physically and will likely exhibit different behaviors as her pregnancy progresses. The pregnancy will progress in stages, from early pregnancy all the way to labor.
Reproductive Cycle Changes in the Great Dane
If your Great Dane could be pregnant, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the stages of reproduction. Breeders commonly track their dog’s reproduction cycle stages; this can help you tell how far along your Great Dane could be in her pregnancy.
Proestrus: Before her eggs are released, your Great Dane will be in proestrus. Male dogs will take an interest in her, but she won’t reciprocate. You may see some bloody discharge and swelling of her vulva; this is normal and lasts for around nine days.
Estrus: This is a Great Dane’s fertile period. She will be receptive to dogs trying to mount her, and the eggs will be released 2 to 3 days later. You’ll notice she has less blood in her discharge, which becomes more fluid-like. This period lasts about 9 days.
Diestrus: Diestrus is around 2 months long. During this phase, the female is no longer receptive to the male’s advances. This is the phase in which you’ll know if she got pregnant or is resting and ready to begin her cycle again.
Anestrus: The period between her heat cycle starting and her rest days is 4 months. However, this may be longer for larger breeds like Great Danes.
It is important to note that most dogs’ cycles are around once every 6 months or twice a year. However, Great Danes are so big that they commonly only have one cycle per year or every 18 months.
What Happens When a Great Dane Gets Pregnant?
It’s a good idea to know the stages of pregnancy in dogs, as it’ll help you look out for any changes which are normal and those that aren’t. If you’re worried about anything during your Dane’s pregnancy, please speak to your vet.
Taking your dog to the vet if you suspect she’s pregnant is essential, as they can confirm pregnancy signs and help ease your mind. However, other illnesses can have the same signs as pregnancy, so it’s best to get them checked over to be sure.
Vets cannot be sure that your dog is pregnant until around the 28th day. This is when puppies can be seen on an ultrasound and start to be counted.
During mid-pregnancy, your Great Dane can become more affectionate and will begin exhibiting nesting behaviors. Nesting is her way of creating a comfortable space to birth and raise her puppies. However, she might also have increased irritability, so give her space and affection when she needs or wants it.
You should also notice weight gain and an increased appetite. Her teats may also begin developing. Now is an excellent time to start thinking about your Great Dane’s diet, as in the last third of her pregnancy, she will need her food increased. This is typically one-and-a-half times her normal amount of food as she’s growing her puppies and supporting herself.
The End of Pregnancy
You will notice more pronounced behavioral changes, including nesting behavior, becoming tired more easily, and showing greater affection. There could also be nipple discharge as she prepares to lactate.
You will now need to increase her food intake to ensure she has enough energy to continue growing the puppies during the final stages of growth and enough energy to birth them. At this point, the vet will likely x-ray her to see how many puppies she has by counting their spines.
Preparing For Birth
Your Great Dane will need you to help her as much as possible as she gives birth. Giving her a whelping box is one of the first things you can do, ensuring it’s safe, warm, and comfy. Make sure it’s big enough for Mom and her puppies and high-sided enough that Mom can climb out comfortably, but her puppies will be kept safe inside.
Your veterinarian will advise you on how to support your Great Dane as she gives birth.
Stage Two of Labor
Contractions will begin, and the puppies will emerge. Any puppies birthed should be born within the first hour of active labor, and they should continually be born from there on. There may be one every 2 hours or as little as 30 minutes apart. Mom will help clean the pups, but you may need to help her if she’s busy with one already, including clearing their nose and mouth.
Stage Three of Labor
The last stage of labor is the placental delivery, which comes between 5 and 15 minutes following each puppy. The mom may try to eat the placentas, but this is normal! However, don’t allow her to eat too many, as they can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Remember to count the puppies and the placentas as she has them, as there should be one for each pup. Call your vet if any placentas might not have been delivered (known as retained placentas). Retained placentas can cause significant problems, such as nasty womb infections.
When Should I Be Concerned During my Great Dane’s Labor?
There are some reasons to contact your vet during labor; it’s good to know these and be prepared.
After Birth Tips
Keeping your Great Dane comfortable, calm, and quiet after she’s had the puppies will allow her to rest and bond with them. Regarding food, her appetite will typically return within 48 hours. It can return sooner, and you can offer her small pieces of food if she takes them.
On average, a dog’s gestation period is 63 days. However, let your vet know if you have concerns or believe your Great Dane has passed her due date. Your dog will have plenty of vet visits during her pregnancy, including during early pregnancy and mid-pregnancy, to check her weight and general health. If you have any concerns before or during your Great Dane’s labor, contact your vet; they can give you advice or even intervene if needed.
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