How Long Do Pitbulls Stay Pregnant?
Fewer things about having a pet are as delightful as learning that they’re pregnant! Especially if it happens to be a litter of puppies that you’re anticipating, it becomes even more exciting.
Pitbulls are similar to any other breed, and their pregnancy is no exception. The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize Pitbulls as a breed. But it is the generic name for dogs that come from the cross-breeding of bulldogs and terriers.
If you are a proud owner of a Pitbull and recently, you have noticed some signs of pregnancy in her, perhaps it’s time to learn the basics. In case you are wondering how long do Pitbulls stay pregnant, the answer is about 63 days or 9 weeks. The gestation period might vary by a few days due to various factors.
Your vet will run a few tests to find out how far along the pregnancy your Pitbull is. The results of these tests will give you a clear idea of when to expect her to give birth. Like with human pregnancy, the dog gestation period is also divided into three trimesters. Each trimester is about 21 days long.
For a Pitbull owner, knowing what to expect during pregnancy is essential so that the process goes smoothly. Pregnant dogs have some fundamental needs that you should take care of to make them as much comfortable as possible. Read through this post to learn more about a Pitbull pregnancy!
What Are the Signs of Pitbull Pregnancy?
The first things that will give you an idea that your Pitbull might be pregnant are the changes in her behavior. Pitbulls hardly show any apparent signs of pregnancy so that the behavioral changes will be the vital signs, here.
Even if you had missed the signs when she went into heat, there are still clues to know if she has conceived. Monitor these below-mentioned signs of pregnancy in Pitbulls:
Increase in Appetite
The first and most apparent sign of Pitbull pregnancy is the sudden increase in appetite. You might likely miss this sign, given that they can eat a lot. Pitbulls have athletic and muscular bodies that demand more food than other breeds of dogs.
So, if you notice that their appetite has increased substantially, it’s time for a visit to the vet.
Changes in Social Behavior
Another noticeable sign will be the complete change in her social behavior. Pitbulls are generally known for their friendly, outgoing, and cheerful nature. However, during pregnancy, her social behavior becomes the opposite.
Pitbulls tend to be shy, sluggish, and timid during pregnancy. You will notice that your Pitbull becomes clingy and caring for things like shoes, clothes, and toys. This is the stage where she will gradually prepare herself for nurturing and motherhood. The overall behavior changes will also depend significantly on your dog’s temper.
The first physical change during the early stages of pregnancy is the enlargement of nipples. The nipples of your Pitbull will become longer and wider as they make room for milk. This change is easy to spot as they have little hair on their belly.
A couple of more days into the pregnancy, you will notice that the belly swells as the puppies start growing inside her. Sometimes it is difficult to see this sign due to their tough and muscular bodies.
Moreover, if you are new to this, their stocky body might drop a false sign of pregnancy due to the bulk. The best way to notice this sign is to look for any movement of the litter inside her belly.
What Are the Stages of Pregnancy in Pitbulls?
Now that you know what the early signs of Pitbull pregnancy, it is time to dig even deeper into things. Let’s review the gestation period stage-by-stage to understand better how long do Pitbulls stay pregnant.
Stage 1- On Heat
The first stage of a Pitbull pregnancy involves your pet on heat. This phase is similar to any other breed going on heat. Your Pitbull will get her first period when she is around six months old. Female Pitbulls go into heat twice every year, and the heat period usually lasts for two to three weeks. Your Pitbull will bleed during this time, and her vulva might swell.
During this period, avoid taking your Pitbull to the dog park as it will likely attract male dogs. Even at home, make sure she is protected and safe. If you want to breed your Pitbull, this is also the best time to have a male dog. The ovulation period can vary, ranging from early on during heat or perhaps later. You should also make sure that the male dog is at least six months old.
Stage 2- Pregnancy
Two weeks into the heat cycle, your Pitbull is ready to be bred. Like in humans, it would take a full month after the breeding to confirm pregnancy. This means that you would not know if the breeding worked until your dog is out of the heat cycle. After a month, if you notice any signs, you should take it to a vet to confirm that your Pitbull has conceived.
As mentioned above, her behavioral and physical changes will be the early signs. Early on, she might refuse to eat, which is much like a woman experiencing morning sickness. She might even feel nauseous. Once she passes this stage, her appetite will increase more than usual. Any extraordinary change in her behavior will be a sign of pregnancy during this stage.
Let’s go through the gestation period week-by-week to learn everything you should expect in her pregnancy:
First things first, it is essential to remember that for your pitbull to conceive successfully, she needs to mate more than once. After the ovulation and mating phase is over, the fertilization phase will start. During the first week of pregnancy, she will have nausea and morning sickness. You must also monitor any signs of infection that she might have contracted during mating.
During this week, follow the routine of feeding and exercising for your pitbull. This will also give you time to consider and plan things to provide for nutritional supplements. By this time, you should not use any flea treatment products without the recommendation of your vet.
During the second week of pregnancy, the cell will separate. The embryos will move to the uterus, and they will stay there until the end of pregnancy. Provide your Pitbull with sufficient nutrition and adequate exercise to stay active and healthy.
During the third week, as the embryos have attached themselves to the uterus, they will receive vital nutrients from the mother. The fetus is, however, still smaller than one centimeter. You should continue the routine of nutrition and exercise for your Pitbull.
You will also notice that around this time, her appetite will increase unusually. You will have to plan her feeding schedule according to her increasing needs.
The fourth week of the Pitbull pregnancy is the most crucial stage. The fetuses start developing, and the spine and eyes begin to take shape. Around this time, they also become exposed to the risks of deformity and defects. If you gently touch the abdomen, you will be able to feel the presence of developing puppies. The fetuses have likely grown 1.5 centimeters long.
At this stage, you must engage your Pitbull in less strenuous exercise and make her comfortable as much as possible. You must also consult with a vet about the nutritional supplements your dog might need. Make sure your dog gets all the nutritional and emotional support she needs during this time.
During the fifth week of pregnancy, the increase of the amniotic fluid provides more protection to the fetuses. It will now become difficult to feel the presence of puppies in her belly. By this time, the fetuses are no longer at any risk of deformity or defects.
The puppies continue to grow other body parts like toes, claws, and whiskers. You will also notice that your Pitbull has put on additional weight, which means she will also need more food. This is also an excellent time to take your dog to the vet for an ultrasound. This will help you find out the number of puppy litter and any possible health problems.
By the sixth week, your Pitbull will be visibly pregnant as the tummy size is now growing daily. Her nipples would look swollen and dark. The puppies in her belly will get skin pigmentation and markings, which will differentiate their physical appearance.
During this time, you can include more puppy food mixes in her diet. You should also start preparing the whelping area and make it as comfortable as possible. Familiarize your Pitbull with the whelping area and start training her to sleep over there.
The start of the seventh week signifies the start of the final stages. The puppies have now fully developed. You will notice that there is a normal shedding of hair under your dog’s belly. Now it time that you stop feeding your Pitbull puppy food mix and carry on with her regular diet. This action will naturally cause her body to start storing calcium as it will be necessary for her, further along, the pregnancy.
When your Pitbull enters into her eighth week of pregnancy, you should expect the puppy litter to arrive anytime. That said, you must not also introduce the dog to early labor as the puppies might still need another week or more to be in the womb.
By this time, the movement of puppies in the belly will be visible to you, especially when she lies down. During the eight weeks, your Pitbull will start producing colostrum-rich milk. You should now feed your dog only when she needs to eat.
During the last week of your dog’s pregnancy, you will notice that she has become a shyer. Her appetite also tends to decrease as she gets closer to whelping and prepares for birth. After 60 days of pregnancy, you should start taking her temperature every few hours. Her body temperature will help you determine the exact time of labor.
The body temperature will be a guide here to determine when the puppy litter is arriving. The usual range of body temperature is 99-101 degrees. If the temperature drops to 97-98 degrees, you should expect labor and birth in the next 12 to 24 hours.
Stage 3 – Labor
When your Pitbull enters into labor, she will start having contractions. The signs will be visible as she becomes restless and pants excessively. There will be a noticeable decline in her appetite, and she will become withdrawn and secluded. You will also notice a clear fluid discharge from her vagina.
After this, your Pitbull will enter into the next phase of labor. During this phase, your dog will deliver one puppy at a time. The labor time might vary from 1 to 24 hours, depending on the number of puppies. Every 30 to 60 minutes, she will deliver a puppy until she has delivered them all. If you had an ultrasound done earlier, you would know how many puppies she will be delivering. This will make it easier for you to determine when she is done.
What Are Some Tips for Taking Care of Your Pregnant Pitbull?
A pregnant Pitbull needs extra care and affection as she goes through a lot of changes in nine weeks. Your dog care should especially focus on nutritional support, comfort, and adequate exercise. An appropriate Pitbull care during her pregnancy will ensure that the mother and puppies are healthy.
One of the essential tips you should remember is to include high-quality dog food.
Apart from nutrition, make sure that your Pitbull exercises regularly. Even towards the end of her pregnancy when she is heavy, you should schedule in some walks. At least make her walk for a few minutes. Some form of mild exercise will keep her active and healthy throughout the pregnancy.
An essential part of Pitbull pregnancy care is to monitor any unusual behavior. Take her to a vet for regular checkups throughout her pregnancy. If your dog displays any out of the ordinary behavior or has unusual vaginal discharge, call your vet immediately. Do not try to do anything on your own because this is a sensitive time. It’s best to refer to a professional.
What Are Some Tips for Taking Care of the Puppy Litter?
An important part of pregnant Pitbull care is foreseeing the needs of the puppy litter when they arrive. The first step in this regard is to prepare a whelping area for your Pitbull, where she can give birth. Your Pitbull will also have to stay in this place with her puppies for the first few weeks.
Ensure that the whelping area is adequately warm. Choose a warmer spot in the house, and you can additionally make it warmer by using a heat lamp. For the first few days after birth, keep the space 85 degrees or warmer, and after that, you can keep it 72 degrees or warmer. This step is vital for puppies to care as they cannot regulate their body temperature on their own.
You will also have to make sure that the whelping space is secluded from people and other animals. Your Pitbull is likely to become protective and aggressive after birth for a few days. So, if you have other dogs in the house, it is best to keep them away from the mother and litter for a while.
Another important tip is to keep an eye on the newborn puppies for any signs of infection. You should also help your Pitbull babies to latch on to their mother’s nipples if they are having trouble in doing so. If despite your best efforts, the puppies don’t latch on, you should start feeding them via a bottle.
Whether you are new to this experience or have been a pet parent to a Pitbull for a long time, her pregnancy is likely to be overwhelming. The joy of having little fur babies is certainly incomparable, but there is a lot you need to prepare for. The most critical aspects of Pitbull pregnancy care is taking care of her nutrition and preparing her for labor.
The best way to make her pregnancy smooth is to consult a vet throughout the gestation period. With accurate test results, vets can guide you through the process and ensure your Pitbull and her puppies stay happy and healthy. With all the key information about how long do Pitbulls stay pregnant presented in this post, we are sure you are ready.
Meghan is originally from the Jersey shore and now lives in Manhattan, where she walked and cared for elderly and special-needs dogs. Meghan is also a writer and singer. She has two dogs herself: Finn, a rescue chihuahua that enjoys singing along with her, and Chloe, a crazy Portuguese water dog that tries to eat everything.