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Gestation of the bitch: explanations to understand everything

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Your dog is expecting little ones which is great news and the promise of a unique and wonderful experience. But do you know what is going on in her body during this gestation period? Do you know how fast the little ones she is expecting evolve? This is what we will explain in this article.

Gestation of the bitch


The phases of the female dog's sexual cycle


Before talking about the gestation of the bitch, we will make a brief summary of the different phases of the bitch's sexual cycle, up to the moment of mating:

The onset of heat


This first phase also called proestrus lasts between 3 and 17 days depending on the individual. During this period, the bitch's vulva is swollen, and whitish colored discharge with more or less blood may be observed. However, don't be concerned if you don't see any discharge, since in some cases these losses are so small that you don't notice them. During this period, the bitch will attract males enormously, but will not be ready to breed and will repel them, sometimes violently.

The ovulation period


Estrus is the period during which the female will have developed fertilizable eggs. From that moment on, the bitch will agree to mate , but not with any male. She will choose the one she wants during a small courtship ritual to gauge if the male in question is "in good shape" enough to give him healthy young.

The period of metestrus


The metestrus indicates that the gestation period began after the female had mated with a male. Gestation will last between 57 and 65 days, during which an embryo and then a fetus will develop.

In the event that the female has not mated, this step still takes place, the unfertilized egg will turn into what is called a "yellow body" which will remain in the female's body for the same. duration than a gestation period.

The period of anestrus


The last period of the female dog's sexual cycle is called anestrus. This period begins after giving birth to her young, and lasts between 2 and 9 months. During this period, the bitch will be in "sexual rest".

Decomposition of the gestation period


During the gestation period, the bitch goes through many stages lasting about 65 days. We will analyze these steps one by one.

From day one to day seven: the onset of gestation


The first week, apart from the cases where the bitch has been prepared and conditioned for breeding as in breeding, it will be impossible to see with the naked eye for the master that her bitch has started her gestation period.

In the bitch's body, the male's sperm will just have met the egg. The fertilization of the egg by the sperm will create the zygote, the very first cell of a living being. The latter will successively divide into several cells (between 16 and 32 cells) for 10 days, a stage called the morula. During this cell division, the zygote will gradually move towards the uterine horn.

If gestation was not desired, it is during this period that you can have the bitch aborted (which is not always a bad idea if, among other things, you do not have the means to assume a litter of puppies). Note that you can also have your dog sterilized during this abortion if you wish. This will prevent an additional operation and therefore an additional general anesthesia.

From the seventh to the fourteenth day: last week of calm


During this period, the bitch's gestation will still not be seen with the naked eye. His behavior will remain unchanged, but take advantage, because it will be the last week of calm before major hormonal and physiological upheavals.

The zygote will gradually end up transforming into a morula and will therefore no longer be unicellular. It will also complete, during this period, its migration to the uterine horn of the bitch, but will begin a new journey to the uterus of the bitch and continue to divide its cells to reach what is called the blastocyst, cells that will serve to the future development of the puppy.

From the fourteenth to the twenty-first day: start of hormonal disturbances


From this third week, the real hormonal and physiological changes begin. The master will be able to observe the first changes in behavior on the part of his dog, who will be able to be more aggressive or on the contrary more gentle and kind.

When the blastocyst, it will reach the uterus and implant itself in the uterine lining, this is called implantation. This stage heralds a new one: the embryonic period. This is where the embryo will form during the remaining weeks. At the same time, the placenta will fall into place to accommodate future little puppies.

From the twenty-first day to the twenty-eighth day: the first confirmations


From this fourth week, the bitch will have the udders which will begin to swell. An increase in his appetite may be noted, you can therefore increase his rations, and take the opportunity to pass it on special kibble for puppies, richer in protein, without forgetting to respect the food transition (change the type of kibble little by little. small).

From the 25th day, you can perform an ultrasound to see the fetal blisters, which contain an embryo of about fifteen millimeters. We can also observe heartbeats. It is also between the 28th and 30th day that you will be able to find out the farrowing date from your veterinarian (very important thing to be able to plan to be present alongside your dog during this test).

From day twenty-eighth to day thirty-fifth: embryos develop


During this fifth week, everything will accelerate. Your dog will be very tired because a lot of her energy will go into the development of the embryos, so spare her as much as possible, and don't force her out if she doesn't want to get up. It will also be necessary to further increase his daily food intake.

The embryos, on the other hand, will grow by almost a centimeter this week. The genitals and eyelids will develop, the hind limbs and fingers will begin to take shape, and the puppy's skeleton, stomach and bladder will fall into place. You may notice during ultrasound that the embryos start to move.

From the thirty-fifth to the forty-ninth day: the beginning of the end


During this week it will be very important to feed your dog by rationing her meals 5 or 6 times a day, while still increasing the quantity, she will need it.

The embryos will eventually develop the skeleton, bladder and stomach. On top of that, the first hairs and pigmentation will set in, along with the eyes, claws, kidneys, liver, lungs, and umbilical cord. At the end of these two weeks, the fetus is about 80mm. In other words, these two weeks are very busy for the mother and her young in training.

Forty-ninth day to fifty-fifth day: the preparations


The big day is getting closer and closer. Continue to feed your dog frequently. The skeleton of the puppies having become cloudy during this period, you can go to the veterinarian to confirm the date of birth, the number of pups that your dog is expecting, as well as their sex.

As a master, you will have to start the preparations for the fateful moment. Create a birthing area with cushions and a heat lamp if temperatures are too low. Prepare the number of an emergency vet in case there is a problem and it happens in the middle of the night.

From the fifty-fifth day to the sixty-fifth day: that long-awaited moment


As you can imagine, this week will not be easy and will be full of emotions. You won't have much to do while you wait for the birth, other than paying attention to your dog's health. When the time is right, she will be very agitated and might even bark if you are not with her. If it's in the middle of the night, get up, your dog needs your support. Stay close to her during the entire shift and be ready to contact a vet if there is a problem.

If all goes well, all you have to do is live a fabulous new experience: raising puppies.
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