How Long Are Dobermans Pregnant? Find Out If They Are Different to Other Dogs
By Misty Layne
If you just discovered your Doberman is pregnant, then congratulations! It’s an exciting time for you and your dog, though you likely have some questions if it’s your first experience with a Doberman being pregnant. One frequently asked question for those with Dobermans expecting for the first time is how long a Doberman is pregnant. Knowing how long it will be before your dog’s puppies arrive is essential knowledge, after all!
Dobermans, like most dogs, aren’t pregnant for very long—only about 63 to 65 days1 (or about 9 weeks). Not quite like a human pregnancy! Ready to learn more about the pregnancy cycle of a Doberman, so you’ll be better prepared to help yours through this happy adventure? Then keep reading because we have all the info you need!
The Pregnancy Cycle of Dobermans
Now that you know just how long your Doberman will be pregnant, you probably want to know what to expect throughout the pregnancy, such as how your dog’s puppies develop and the changes your dog will go through. Here’s a week-by-week breakdown of your Doberman’s pregnancy!2
This is, of course, when fertilization occurs. Not much else happens during this week regarding development; there are simply embryos with two cells now. And you likely won’t see many changes in your Doberman, although it may possibly experience some morning sickness or start exhibiting personality changes.
In week 2, the embryos start with four cells, but by the end of the week, they’ll be up to 64! This week is also when embryos enter the uterus. Again, you won’t see much going on with your dog, although any morning sickness from week 1 may continue.
Remember how the embryos entered the uterus last week? Well, this is the week they actually get implanted. Other than that, there isn’t much happening with either development or your Doberman.
Week 4 is when things really get going when it comes to your Doberman puppies’ development. This is the week when the spinal cord and eyes will develop, and the shape of the puppies’ faces begins to appear. Fetuses also grow quite a bit during week 4, from 0.5–1 cm to 1.4–1.5 cm. Unfortunately, this is also the period when fetuses are the most likely to develop defects.
This is also the week where you’ll see a few more changes in your Doberman, such as a clear vaginal discharge and mammary development. And if you’re ready to feel your Doberman’s puppies, days 26–32 are the best days to gently palpitate the stomach to do so!
This week continues to be a busy one when it comes to the development of your pet’s puppies! Week 5 is when toes, claws, and whisker buds develop, and the pups’ eyes go from open to closed. This is also the period where the puppies actually begin looking like puppies, and it’s possible to discover their gender. Plus, the pups will grow from 1.8 cm to 3 cm.
When it comes to changes in your Doberman, this is when you’ll actually see the pregnancy, as your dog will have gained weight and will appear more swollen.
This is the point in time when the skin pigment comes in, and you can hear the puppies’ heartbeats. The puppies will also have grown in size to 4.5 cm. Your Doberman will continue to look heavier, and the nipples will become more prominent and darker.
This week is a fairly mundane one. The puppies simply continue growing in size while your Doberman keeps looking more pregnant. You may also see some loss of hair on the abdomen of your dog during this week.
Not only can your Doberman’s puppies be safely delivered from here on out, but you can also detect their movement when your dog is resting. You may also see the nipples beginning to discharge milk during this week.
Congratulations; your puppies will be here soon! And to get ready for them, your Doberman will begin nesting. Besides nesting, you’ll want to look for these other signs that your dog is ready to deliver—these include:
- Restless behavior, such as pacing
- Experiencing discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Temperature dropping (when it gets to 98–99.4 degrees is when labor is close)
How to Care for a Pregnant Doberman
Now that you know what to expect while your Doberman is pregnant and how the puppies develop, you should know how to properly care for a pregnant Doberman. Not much will change when it comes to care, but you can do a few things to ensure your dog’s health throughout its pregnancy.
First and foremost is making sure your Doberman meets all the nutritional requirements for itself and the puppies. If your pet is healthy at the time of pregnancy, at a normal weight, and has been eating a quality dog food, then nothing will need to change (at least for the first two-thirds of the pregnancy). And you do not need to increase the amount of food your dog is eating right now; this could actually be more harmful than helpful!
In the last third of pregnancy, as your Doberman gains weight, you should increase the amount of food it’s eating (gradually, though!). You’ll want to increase this amount until your dog is getting 35% to 50% more food than it usually eats. And you’ll want to break this down into smaller meals given several times a day rather than one or two large meals.
If you aren’t breeding your dog, then exercising, as usual, should be fine—at least until your Doberman’s belly gets large. Then, you should switch to less strenuous exercise, such as shorter walks. However, if you’re a breeder, some vets advise no strenuous activity for the first two weeks of pregnancy. Doing this is believed to make it simpler for embryos to be implanted.
Other than proper, quality nutrition and exercise, you should visit your vet as needed throughout your Doberman’s pregnancy and follow any advice they give.
Pregnancy is an exciting time in a dog and dog parent’s life! And the experience doesn’t last that long, as most dogs, including the Doberman, are only pregnant for around nine weeks. Those nine weeks pack in a lot when it comes to puppy development and changes in your dog’s body, though.
You can properly care for your Doberman during pregnancy by feeding it quality food (and upping the amount of food your dog receives in its last trimester), engaging it in regular exercise, and taking any of your vet’s recommendations under advisement. By doing this, you can ensure a happy, healthy dog and healthy babies!
Featured Image Credit: Akkalak Aiempradit, Shutterstock