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German Shepherd Gestation Period And Pregnancy

As a dog owner, nothing’s more terrifying than knowing that your German shepherd is pregnant. Despite that, you still can’t help but adore what might happen if you were to get another set of German shepherd puppies from your current dog.

However, there can be times when you’re too scared of what might happen if you were to make the wrong decision. This might drive you to just sit back and wait it out. Being scared is only natural, especially if this is your first time having a pregnant dog. But you can’t very well do nothing.

This article was made to answer all your questions about German shepherd gestation period so you can help you canine buddy during the critical period of her life.

What is German Shepherd Gestation?

Many people think of gestation period as a sophisticated topic far from pregnancy. However, nothing could be easier to explain.

Gestation, in its simplest form, is 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 be 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 as 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 Will It Last?

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 58 days. Some may even take as long as 68 days.

See also  German Shepherd Growth Chart

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 of old age. 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 food that are healthy rather than those that focuses 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 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.
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Sure, these signs are helpful for finding out about a German shepherd’s pregnancy, but there are also surefire ways.

These ways make use of technology and is often conducted by veterinarians:

  • Hormone Tests
  • X-Ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Palpation

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 pregnant German shepherd. That’s for sure. But it would do you best if you prepare a caretaking plan for each week during a German shepherd gestation period.

With that said, here’s a look at a German shepherd pregnancy timeline and some tips on taking care of your dog during each week.

  1. 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.
  2. Week Three: At this point, you may notice a slight increase in 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Week Five: The female dog will start experiencing weight gain. You should start choosing a diet that promote growth and development, while making the portions smaller.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Week Eight: One week is remaining until your dog gives birth. Ensure that your female GSD doesn’t put any physical strain in her body.
  8. 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.
See also  Managing German Shepherd Diarrhea

If you think you can follow these tips, then you don’t have to worry about a German shepherd’s gestation period.


You probably thought of 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 puppy mills.

At the end of the day, you’re giving a chance for new German shepherds to have a good life.