When you think of cute dogs, quite often pugs are one of the first breeds that come to mind. There’s no denying that they are adorable with their squished faces and big puppy dog eyes. But, as you probably already know, pugs often also suffer with a wide variety of health issues.
Unfortunately, the features that make pugs so cute are also the features that cause them illness and health problems. Through years of inbreeding to ‘maintain the breed’, pugs have developed lots of problems with their whole body. One of these issues being the fact that this breed struggles to mate naturally, meaning you will often have to artificially inseminate your female pug.
But once this happens, how long will your pug be pregnant for? It can be easy to have a limited knowledge about dog pregnancies because they are so different to human pregnancies. That’s why we’ve put together this complete guide, with a pregnancy calendar, to help you track your dog’s progress to motherhood.
How long are Pugs Pregnant for?
A lot of people believe that different breeds of dogs will be pregnant for different periods of time, but this isn’t the case. No matter what breed your dog is, her pregnancy will last for roughly the same amount of time. We say ‘roughly’ as some dogs will go into labor prematurely, and this can shorten the length of their pregnancy. But this isn’t a breed thing, it simply depends on how your dog’s pregnancy is progressing.
So, pugs will be pregnant for approximately 9 weeks, the same amount of time as all breeds of dog. However, it is very unusual for dogs to actually go into labor at the end of the 9 weeks. So, you should expect your dog to have her puppies anywhere between day 58 and day 68 of her pregnancy. With day 63 being the most common time for labor to begin across all breeds of dog.
Pug Pregnancy Calendar
To help you track your pug’s pregnancy, we’ve put together this handy calendar to help you follow her pregnancy as it progresses.
During Week 1
In week 1 (day 0-7) of your dog’s pregnancy, it is highly likely that you will not even be aware that she is pregnant. At this point it is impossible to tell if the conception was successful, so you should carry on with life as normal.
By this, we mean that you should continue to feed your pug the same amount of food that you would usually feed her. You should also continue walking her as often as you normally would.
There are some early signs of pregnancy that you can watch out for. These include sickness that can be related to motion sickness, and a pink colored discharge coming from your pug. However, it will still be a little while until you can get the pregnancy confirmed.
During Week 2
When your dog progresses onto the second week of her pregnancy (day 7-14), the chances are that you will still be unaware that she is pregnant. You might suspect it, but there is still no way to absolutely confirm that she is expecting.
But, while you are unaware of your dog’s pregnancy, lots is going on inside her. At this point, the cells are developing extremely quickly and transforming from just cells into puppy embryos. When these embryos have fully developed, they will then be transferred into your dog’s uterus where they will remain for the rest of her pregnancy.
Again, there is no need for you to change anything at this point, so continue to feed and walk your dog as you normally would. There will be a point when you will need to make changes to her routine, but it is not yet.
During Week 3
As your dog’s first trimester comes to a close (day 14-21), the fetuses are beginning to look like little dogs. Up until this point they simply looked like cells inside the uterus, but they are now forming dog-like shapes.
However, at this point, the fetuses will still only measure about 1 cm in length, so there is a fair chance that your dog’s pregnancy still hasn’t been confirmed. Your veterinarian will be able to do this for you eventually, but not until a later date.
So, as we have said before, simply continue feeding your pug the same amount of food that you usually would. Also continue walking her as regularly as you did before because the time to make changes hasn’t arrived yet.
During Week 4
As your dog reaches week 4 (day 21-28) of her pregnancy a lot of things are going on inside her womb. The fetuses that were starting to take shape in the last week are now forming into little puppies with facial and spinal areas developing quickly.
They will still be very small at this stage, usually measuring only 1.5 cm in length, but some vets will be able to confirm your dog’s pregnancy at this stage. They do this by gently manipulating the outside of your dog’s stomach, until they can feel the womb and the puppies inside.
At this point, you will need to begin making changes to your pug’s routine. Week 4 is the most dangerous week in your dog’s pregnancy, as this is the most common time for miscarriage to occur. So you should begin feeding her more, your vet might even recommend a specific diet, and you should reduce her exercise to avoid overexertion as this could put the puppies at risk.
During Week 5
At this stage in your dog’s pregnancy you will begin to notice changes in your dog. This is mainly because week 5 (day 28-35) is a massive week in terms of development. Due to this your dog will begin to put weight on around her waistline, and you will likely notice an increase in her appetite.
These changes in your dog are caused by the fact that the puppies are developing quickly. Last week they were only just developing faces, but in week 5, the puppies are developing paws, claws, and even whiskers. This is the stage when they really begin to look like puppies.
Throughout the rest of your dog’s pregnancy you should continue to feed her more food, and reduce the exercise until you are not walking her at all. During week 5, it is possible to pay for an ultrasound scan from your vet which allows you to see the puppies for the first time, and will also allow you to find out how many puppies she is expecting.
During Week 6
Up until this point, your dog’s pregnancy could have been mistaken for weight gain. But by week 6 (day 35-42) there is no denying that she is pregnant. At this stage your dog is visibly showing, and as the puppies continue to grow day by day so will your dog’s stomach. But weight gain isn’t the only change that you will notice in your dog.
As your dog comes closer to giving birth, more and more changes will happen to her body. During week 6, you will usually notice that her nipples have grown larger and darker. This coincides with the changes happening to the puppies inside her, as they will begin developing their own unique markings during this week of the pregnancy.
You will also likely notice that your dog’s appetite will continue to increase during this week. Some breeders choose to start feeding their dog puppy food at this stage because it contains lots of nutrients that will go to the puppies and help make them strong ready for birth. But the choice is entirely yours.
During Week 7
At week 7 (day 42-49) you will observe something happening in your dog that you might not have known would happen. This happens with most breeds of dogs during pregnancy, and yet a lot of people are not aware of it.
During this week you will likely observe hair loss in your dog. This can be quite frightening if you are not expecting it, but it is perfectly normal. When dogs are not pregnant, they often have a lot of fur that covers their stomach and also their nipples. This hair loss occurs so that the puppies will have easy access to your dog’s nipples once they have been born, allowing them to nurse easily.
At this stage, you will once again need to increase the amount of food that you are feeding your dog, and introduce more calcium into her diet. She will need her strength ready for labor, and the puppies will also need lots of nutrients to prepare them for this. So, food allows both parties to prepare for this experience. By this point, the puppies will look just like little pugs, and all that is left is for them to grow.
During Week 8
We mentioned earlier that some dogs will give birth prematurely. If your pug is going to do this, it is likely she will go into labor during week 8 (day 49-57). With this in mind, it is very important that you get all preparations in place just in case your pug should give birth prematurely.
By this stage, your dog will have finished nesting and will have identified the ‘safe place’ in which she will give birth. You will likely find that she spends a lot of her time in this spot lying down and sleeping. While she is still, there is a good chance that you will be able to see the puppies moving around beneath her skin. Week 8 is the week when the puppies are the most active as they will begin to move into position by the birth canal ready for when they enter the world.
The best thing that you should do for your dog at this stage in the pregnancy is remain calm. If you are calm, your pug will also be calm and peaceful. If your dog does get hyped up and overexerts herself she could end up going into labor prematurely. So for the puppies to reach full term, it is best to keep your dog calm and continue feeding her lots of food.
During Week 9
At some point during week 9 (day 57-65) of her pregnancy your dog is going to go into labor. There are some cases where dogs will go past full term, however this is rare in pugs. As we mentioned earlier, the most common time for your dog to go into labor is day 63.
Generally speaking, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact signs that your dog is going into labor. You might observe her slowing down, and you might also see her going off of her food and becoming more quiet. These are all signs that she is almost ready to give birth to her puppies.
When she does go into labor, it can be a stressful process, but it is very important that you remain calm throughout. Your dog is very attuned to your thoughts and feelings, so you must remain calm for her. On average, pugs will usually give birth to 5 puppies. However, you might have chosen for your dog to have a c-section instead. So let’s take a look at this option.
Do Pugs need C-Sections?
While pugs can give birth naturally, the majority of the time breeders will opt for c-sections. As we have said, pugs suffer with a lot of different health conditions from years of inbreeding, and one of these effects is a narrow birth canal and narrow hips. These can make giving birth naturally very difficult, and natural births will often result in 20% of the puppies not surviving past birth.
This is why a lot of people opt for c-sections. However, this is not a cheap operation, and it will actually cost thousands of dollars for your dog to give birth to the puppies in this manner. Especially if the c-section has to take place in an emergency. So, it is very important that you put a birth plan in place for your dog, and book her c-section in advance if you choose this route.
Why is breeding pugs different?
With most breeds of dog, they will mate naturally. However, with pugs this is not always possible. Pugs suffer with lots of different health conditions, and these can stop them from being able to breed naturally.
Instead, most pug breeders will have to artificially inseminate their dam (female dog). In fact, in a lot of cases, the mother and father of pug puppies will never actually meet each other as this is not a necessary part of the process. This is the main reason why breeding pugs is very different from breeding other types of dogs. So, if you have not bred pugs before, check out our calendar above to help you prepare.
In short, pugs are usually pregnant for approximately 9 weeks with labor naturally occurring around day 63. However, a lot of pug breeders choose to book in c-sections for their dams as pugs often struggle to give birth naturally, so this will affect the length of her pregnancy as the birth will be planned by you and your vet.