Congratulations! You’re expecting a newborn German Shepherd puppy. Whether you’ve planned it or not, there are some things you need to know about German Shepherd pregnancy. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about gestation, birth, and taking care of your new bundle of joy.
So let’s get started!
What is German Shepherd Gestation?
Many people think of the gestation period as a sophisticated topic far from pregnancy. However, nothing could be easier to explain.
Gestation, in its simplest form, is the pregnancy of animals. While that statement is true, there are still differences between gestation and human pregnancy.
For example, they vary in the result, process, and duration. Let’s first talk about the first
When Can a German Shepherd Get Pregnant?
Fertilization can only happen during the second stage of the heat cycle. At that point, a German shepherd can be impregnated.
With that said, the gestation period can be considered the third stage of a German shepherd’s heat cycle. This usually occurs after 6 months.
If you want to know more about the heat cycle, check out our German shepherd heat cycle article.
How Long Are German Shepherds Pregnant For?
The normal German shepherd gestation period can last up to 63 days. However, to make sure you don’t be caught by surprise, it’s worth noting that the earliest a pregnant German shepherd can give birth is in 58 days. Some may even take as long as 68 days.
This is because the number of offspring also varies. In short, the more puppies, the longer it takes, and vice versa, which leads us to the next question.
What is the Number of Puppies?
For German shepherds, the number of puppies that can be born at once, or what we normally call litter size, is around 8 puppies.
Keep in mind, however, that some may give birth to only one, while very large litters can breed up to 15 puppies. Additionally, the first German shepherd pup to be born is usually a male.
Is Your Female GSD Able to Get Pregnant?
There are different cases where a German shepherd pregnancy is no longer possible, the first one being a man-made procedure.
The second one is old. With that said, a female German shepherd usually loses its ability to get pregnant once she becomes 3 years old.
Within these 3 years, you can only hope to know that your German shepherd is pregnant by finding the signs of gestation period.
How To Know If Your German Shepherd Is Pregnant
Sometimes, German shepherd pregnancy may not be obvious. After all, German shepherds are known for enduring pain.
That’s why as a pet owner, you should make sure you know the signs of gestation period. Here’s a look at the four most common indications of German shepherd pregnancy.
- Increased Appetite: To cater to the needs of her pups, a female GSD will usually eat significantly more food.
- If you get what this means, you should make sure you stock up on dog food for your pet. Also, consider buying healthy food rather than those that focus on taste and not nutrients.
- Weight Gain: There will also be an increase in weight during German shepherd pregnancy. This can range from a 20% increase in weight up to a 50% increase.
- While this may be overwhelming at first, don’t worry because they’ll significantly lose weight after the gestation period.
- Frequent Urination: In general, a female dog can mark its territories more frequently when they are pregnant. They do this by urinating in various places.
- While urine-marking is done by female German shepherds sometimes, you will rarely see this. Besides, they don’t choose the place to mark, be it the sofa, the television, or the corner of the room.
- Personality Changes: Lastly, you may notice significant changes in your female GSDs behavior. They become more restless, agitated, and more.
- Anyway, the most common change in a German shepherd’s personality is their increased aggression. This is mainly due to their maternal instincts kicking in.
Sure, these signs help find out about a German shepherd’s pregnancy, but there are also surefire ways.
These ways make use of technology and are often conducted by veterinarians:
- Hormone Tests
After confirming the German shepherd gestation period, you should prepare for being a caretaker of your pregnant pet.
How to Take Care of a German Shepherd in Gestation Period
There are many ways to take care of a pregnant German shepherd. That’s for sure. But it would do your best if you prepare a caretaking plan for each week during a German shepherd gestation period.
German Shepherd Pregnancy Week By Week
With that said, here’s a look at a German shepherd pregnancy timeline and some tips on taking care of your dog each week.
- Week One and Two: Your veterinarian can’t confirm your German shepherd’s pregnancy at this point. You don’t need to do something at this period, too.
- Week Three: At this point, you may notice a slight increase in the appetite of the female German shepherd. She may also undergo some behavioral changes. Make sure you provide her with the necessary nutrients and play with her if she becomes restless.
- Week Four: This is the optimal time for you to consult your vet for some tips on dietary supplements. You should also consider limiting your female GSD’s physical activity.
- Week Five: The female dog will start experiencing weight gain. You should start choosing a diet that promotes growth and development while making the portions smaller.
- Week Six: There’s nothing significant in what you need to do at this point. Just make sure you keep the portion size small since the growing puppies will limit what their mother can eat at once.
- Week Seven: Your female GSD will start producing milk, which introduces whelping. So make sure there’s a quiet place designed for this task and make sure your female dog gets used to resting in this place.
- Week Eight: One week is remaining until your dog gives birth. Ensure that your female GSD doesn’t put any physical strain on her body.
- Week Nine: The appetite of your female GSD will decrease significantly. It is recommended that you take tabs on her temperature. Once her temperature decreases from 38 to 36 Celsius, you will know that the puppies will arrive after approximately 36 hours.
If you think you can follow these tips, then you don’t have to worry about a German shepherd’s gestation period.
German Shepherd Giving Birth First Time
The German Shepherd breed is well known for having many puppies in one litter. This article will help to prepare you if your dog is pregnant or giving birth, and give tips on how to know when she’s going into labor.
You’ll need to learn how the female gets ready for giving birth before you can read signs that it’s time. There are a few things that can be done to help with preparing for labor and delivery.
Tips on Reading Signs of Labor in your GSD
The first sign is restlessness. If she feels the need to clean her den area constantly, this could be a sign that it’s getting close. She will also start to eat less while her body prepares for birth by resting more and staying in the den longer.
Another sign that it’s close is that she will have a loss of appetite, but will begin to eat again closer to birth. If you’re getting excited about the new puppies and start playing with her more than usual, she may just want some alone time so she can rest better.
One final sign of going into labor is that she may start digging or circling before she gives birth. The circle is fine to do, but if she starts digging near her den, you should keep an eye on her because it usually means that the puppies are ready to come out!
Caring For the GSD Mother During Labor
The mother should be given a lot of attention during labor and delivery. Take part in the playtime and make sure to spend as much time with her as possible to help boost her mood and calm her.
Keep the radio on low, or play some gentle music for her to listen to during birth. Being calm is key! You can also provide a heating pad or something similar that she can lie down on to keep her comfortable.
Keep food and water close by for after the birth so she doesn’t have too far to walk if she needs something small while recovering. Typically, German Shepherds will eat some of the placentae which are fine but watch her just in case she seems interested in more than that.
If you’re prepared for all of this, you should be able to get through the birth easily! Just make sure to get her help right away if she looks like something is wrong.
Be patient with her and continue to give her affection even after the puppies are born because she’ll need it too! As long as you keep everything ready ahead of time, the birth should go smoothly and you will be set to take care of the pups.
How old can a German Shepherd be to get pregnant?
A German shepherd can become pregnant at any stage in its life, even as early as 5 months old. The average age however is usually considered to be around 2 years old, but this is not a hard and fast rule that you need to follow.
The most important thing for you to remember if you want your litter of puppies is that the German Shepherd is considered to be a large breed dog, and therefore needs quite a long time to reach full maturity. They shouldn’t become pregnant or father puppies before they are eighteen months old at the very least, with 2 years of age being the preferred option.
Not only does this mean that their hips will always suffer less wear and tear, but also a german shepherd pregnant at this age will be less likely to suffer from the various complications that pregnancies, births, and lactation in dogs can cause.
You probably thought of the German shepherd gestation period as a complicated matter. But after reading this blog post, you should now realize that it’s not that hard to understand.
If you’re not sure if you’re able to take care of several German shepherds at once, you can simply distribute them to your fellow pet lovers.
I suggest you avoid sending them to breeders since there’s a chance that they will be sent to shepherd puppy mills.
At the end of the day, you’re giving a chance for new German shepherds to have a good life.