In the wild, dogs reproduce without limit or regulation; they are not bound by any rules but with the rule of nature. However, this is not the same for your domesticated dogs as there are laws prohibiting unnecessary reproduction or irresponsible breeding.
Depending on the country you live in, as a dog owner, you are legally bound to adhere in the strict implementation of dog breeding. This is done by the government to protect the welfare of animal against abuse, negligence and puppy milling in which dogs live in a very detrimental condition just for the breeder to earn profit by selling puppies.
The proper term for a fertile dog is what they call as being “in heat” unlike humans, female dogs does not have a monthly cycle of menstruation but they do have a symptom that is like a menstruation but is actually an estrous cycle in which a female dog is getting ready to be receptive to a male dog and it usually happens first upon the seventh to eight month of a dog’s age and cycle continues every after 4-6 months from the last estrous cycle.
Once your female dog is in heat, wait until the 9th day before you bring it to a male dog to be bred because it is starting from that day the ovulation will be at its peak and chances of pregnancy is very viable.
Once mated on the 9th day, you can repeat the mating for at least two sessions more separating it by 1 day interval so, the mating should be done on the 9th, 11th and 13th day from the first day of the estrous cycle to get more chance of ovulation. But before you are going to mate your female dog, make sure that it has undergone regular deworming and vaccinations as you cannot give to it anymore once it is positively pregnant.
58 to 65-day gestation period
So, how long do dogs stay pregnant? From the first day of mating, you have to count 58 to 65 days before your female dog gives birth to its cute little puppies; it is also divided into three trimesters at 21 days each.
During the pregnancy period, your pregnant pooch needs a lot of care and attention. You may want to give it vitamin supplements that you can buy at your local veterinary clinic and get back on puppy food as it needs a lot of protein nutrient to support the needs of her pregnancy. You also need to get your pregnant dog regularly for a check-up at a vet to make sure it is healthy throughout its gestation period.
On its first trimester or its first 21 days you will hardly notice any changes in your dog’s physical appearance though behavioural changes in this period may be manifested such as vomiting (morning sickness).
On its second trimester (22-43 days) it will be apparent that your dog is pregnant avoid rough play during this period of pregnancy and give your dog a lot of rest and nutritious foods; try also to increase the regular food intake of your pregnant dam.
As early as this stage, your dog may produce milk or what they call is colostrum which is lighter in color than milk. On the last trimester, especially starting the 58th day, you may want to stay with your dog and ready its whelping box or area where it can comfortably give birth to its puppies as it is ready at any time to whelp.
Remember that breeding takes a lot of responsibility and you have to consider the health and welfare of your female dog including its puppies, if your dog accidentally got pregnant without your knowledge then you might want to talk it out with your vet of spaying it after giving birth or neutering your male dogs at home.