How Long Will My Pitbull Stay Pregnant?

As a pitbull owner or enthusiast, understanding the duration and nuances of your furry friend's pregnancy is important for providing the best care possible. This knowledge not only helps prepare for the arrival of a new litter but also ensures the health and well-being of the expecting mother.

Pitbull puppy with blue eyes

In this article, we look into the specifics of pitbull pregnancy, unraveling the mysteries of how long these loyal and loving canines carry their young.

From recognizing the early signs of pregnancy to preparing for the big day, we'll guide you through every important aspect, ensuring you and your pitbull are well-prepared for this exciting phase of life.

How Long Do Pitbulls Stay Pregnant

In short, though, the gestation period in dogs lasts approximately 63 days (two months) from conception, but this can vary slightly. For example, a larger litter size can sometimes lead to a shorter pregnancy. More puppies mean more growth in the womb, which might trigger earlier labor.

How To Tell If A Pitbull Is Pregnant

Here’s what to look out for:

Physical Changes:

Early in pregnancy, your pitbull may show signs of morning sickness and a slight increase in weight. As the pregnancy progresses, her abdomen will become more rounded and enlarged. You might also notice the nipples becoming larger, more prominent, and possibly changing color as they prepare for milk production.

Behavioral Changes:

Pregnant pitbulls often exhibit changes in behavior. Your dog might become more affectionate or clingy, seeking extra attention and comfort. Conversely, some may prefer solitude and rest more than usual. Appetite changes are also common, with some dogs eating more as the pregnancy advances.

As the pregnancy progresses, your pitbull might show less interest in physical activities she previously enjoyed. This decrease in energy is a natural response to the changes happening in her body.

For a definitive confirmation, visit your veterinarian. They can perform an ultrasound to detect puppies as early as three weeks into the pregnancy. Around 45 days into the pregnancy, an X-ray can confirm the number of puppies. Your vet can also conduct blood tests to check for hormonal changes that indicate pregnancy.

Stages of Pitbull Pregnancy

The journey through a pitbull's pregnancy is a series of distinct, fascinating stages, each marked by its own developmental milestones. Grasping these stages isn't just about knowledge; it's about being there for your pitbull when she needs you most.

Let's step into this journey together, understanding each stage to provide your pregnant pitbull with the best care and support.

Black pitbull puppies huddled together

Early Stage (0-3 weeks):

During the first three weeks, the embryos start their development. During this stage, there are no visible signs of pregnancy. It is still too early to confirm the pregnancy, so you can wait a bit longer before taking your Pitbull to the vet for further testing.

Embryonic Development (3-5 weeks):

The embryos continue to grow and develop and by the end of this stage, they are well-formed. Slight weight gain and enlarged nipples may become noticeable. Some pitbulls may experience morning sickness or changes in appetite.

Fetal Stage (5-8 weeks):

This is when the puppies grow quickly. The pitbull’s abdomen will visibly enlarge.

Around the 6th week, you might start to feel the puppies move. In the last week, the pitbull may start 'nesting' or looking for a place to give birth.

From week 7, the puppies will be fully developed so that delivery may start anytime. Although it typically does not occur until the pregnancy’s eighth week.

Pre-Labor and Labor (Last week to delivery!):

The pitbull's body prepares for labor. Her abdomen may drop, and she might lose her appetite. Restlessness, panting, and secluding herself are common pre-labor signs.

Active labor begins with contractions and ends with the delivery of puppies 🙂

Caring for a Pregnant Pitbull

Nutritional Needs

During pregnancy, a pitbull's nutritional needs increase significantly. It’s important to feed her a balanced diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Consult your veterinarian to recommend a high-quality, pregnancy-specific dog food and consider supplements if advised. Ensure she has constant access to fresh water as her hydration needs will also increase.

Exercise and Activity Levels

While exercise is still important, it should be moderate during pregnancy. Short, gentle walks and light play are ideal. Avoid strenuous activities and rough play, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Observing your pitbull’s energy levels and comfort is key; let her set the pace.

Ensure the safety and comfort of your expectant pitbull during her gentle walks and playtimes. Browse our selection of specially designed harnesses, crafted to provide support and ease for your furry friend during pregnancy.

Pitbull wearing a pink harness from Sparkpaws

Veterinary Care and Check-Ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are vital during pregnancy. These visits can monitor the health of both the mother and the puppies and provide an opportunity for any necessary vaccinations, nutritional advice, and to plan for the birth.

Preparing for the Birth 

Creating a Comfortable Birthing Area

The birthing area should be a quiet, secluded space where your pitbull feels safe and relaxed. Choose a location away from high traffic areas in your home.

A whelping box, large enough for your pitbull to move around comfortably but with sides high enough to safely contain the newborn puppies, is ideal. Line the box with soft, absorbent bedding that you can easily change and clean. This setup not only provides comfort but also ensures a safe and hygienic environment for both the mother and her puppies.

Gathering Essential Supplies

Be prepared with the following items:

🐶 Clean Towels: For cleaning the puppies and helping to stimulate their breathing.

🌡️   Thermometer: To monitor your pitbull's temperature, a drop usually indicates that labor is imminent.

🧑‍ Veterinarian Contact Information: Keep your vet's contact details readily available in case of emergencies.

💉 Whelping Kit: This may include gloves, a bulb syringe for suctioning mucus from the puppies' airways, and iodine for disinfecting the puppies' umbilical cords.

🧸 Comfort Items: Familiar toys or blankets to help your pitbull stay calm and comfortable.

Stages of Birth

The miracle of birthing puppies unfolds in three delightful yet intense stages:

The Warm-Up Act (First Stage) - Lasting 12 to 24 hours, this is when your Pit Bull transforms into a bundle of nerves and restlessness. She might seek your comforting cuddles or prefer solo pacing and panting time. Don't be surprised if she turns her nose up at her dinner. While she's having contractions, you won't see them - they're like secret ninja moves happening inside.

The Main Event (Second Stage) - The show really begins with the arrival of the first puppy, usually within 2 hours of those first visible contractions. Puppies will pop out in their own sweet time, but if your Pit Bull pushes hard for over 20 minutes without puppy signs, it's time to call the vet. They're like the expert directors of this puppy play.

The Grand Finale (Third Stage) - After each puppy's grand entrance, a placenta makes its debut. Keep count; there should be as many placentas as there are puppies. Any leftover inside could spell trouble, so if you think one's missing, get on the phone with your vet. 

Paw in a humans hand

Recognizing Complications

During labor, watch for regular contractions and the appearance of a water sac. Be alert to the duration of labor; if your pitbull is straining for more than an hour without delivering a puppy, or if more than two hours pass between puppies, contact your vet immediately. 

Knowing these signs and being prepared to act quickly in case of complications can be crucial for the health and safety of both the mother and her puppies.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What’s the Appropriate Age for Your Pit Bull to Get Pregnant?

It is advisable to wait until your dog has experienced her second or third heat cycle before breeding her. While many dogs are capable of becoming pregnant as early as six to twelve months old, early pregnancy may not be ideal for their health. Ensuring your dog has reached full maturity before breeding is crucial to prevent potential behavioral or physical issues. [1]

How Many Puppies Do Pitbulls Have?

A Pitbull will have an average of 5 puppies per litter. Their first litter is typically smaller than subsequent litters. See our comprehensive article here.

How Many Litters Can a Pitbull Have?

A pitbull can safely have around 2 to 3 litters throughout her lifetime. It's important for the health of the mother to limit the number of litters and ensure adequate recovery time between pregnancies. Overbreeding can lead to health complications for both the mother and her puppies. Responsible breeding practices consider the well-being of the pitbull, including her physical and emotional health.

Keep your pregnant pitbull cozy and stylish with our dog hoodies. As she embarks on gentle walks and enjoys her playtime, our hoodies provide the extra warmth and comfort she needs. Shop now and choose the perfect hoodie for your expectant furry friend.