Health

Pitbull Pregnancy Stages & Signs – How Long Are Pitbulls Pregnant For?

Pitbull Pregnancy Stages
Written by Adriana

As a Pitbull owner, you may be wondering if your dog is pregnant and how long will they be pregnant for?

It can be extremely exciting to think about the new addition of Pitbull puppies in your home but also a little bit daunting if you are new to the process.

On average, Pitbulls are pregnant for 63 days. Learning about all the different stages and signs of pregnancy will enable you to help your Pitbull have healthy pregnancy and puppies.

This article will give you information on everything you need to know about Pitbull pregnancy and how you can take care of your Pitbull during this important phase.

How Long Are Pitbulls Pregnant For? 

Pitbull Pregnancy Signs

Pitbull’s like most dogs have a similar gestation period. Therefore, expect your Pitbull to be pregnant for 58 to 68 days, with an average length of about 63 days or nine weeks.

Due to different factors, this number can change, and your vet can do tests to determine the exact days your Pitbull will be pregnant.

Dogs have three trimesters like humans. For Pitbull’s, every trimester lasts about 21 days. Without your vet’s diagnosis, it can be difficult to know whether your Pitbull is pregnant or not in the early days before the signs show.

Pitbull Pregnancy Stages

Observing the different stages of pregnancy for your Pitbull is crucial in understanding the development and growth of the little puppies.

Week 1

Fertilization is the first stage of pregnancy, and it happens during the first week. This is when your Pitbull has ovulated and had successful mating. During this stage, your Pitbull feels a bit of morning and motion sickness and nausea.

In the first week, you should take care of your Pitbull by feeding her quality healthy food and be on the lookout for any infection that she might have contracted during mating.

There could be a pink-colored discharge from your Pitbull, but you should not be worried because it is normal.

Week 2 & 3 

The second and third week is the second stage of your Pitbull’s pregnancy. During the second week, the embryo forms and then moves to the uterine horn from the fallopian tube for more development.

The uterine horn is where the embryo attaches to the uterus lining in the first 15 days.

In the third week, the fetus and the Pitbull develop an important connection and the fetus is about 1cm(centimeter) in size.

Due to the connection, the fetus can now get all the necessary nutrients from the Pitbull for their growth and development.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you are feeding your Pitbull a balanced diet and giving her enough exercise.

You will notice that your Pitbull is more hungry than usual, and they need more calories.

Pregnant Pitbull

Week 4

The fourth week is the third stage of your Pitbull’s pregnancy which is a very crucial stage. This is because, during this stage, important organs such as the nervous system and spinal cord start developing.

At four weeks, the developing puppy measures about 1.5 cm long. Your vet can feel the puppies on the outsides of your Pitbull’s belly through soft and manual manipulation.

This is a crucial stage because miscarriage can happen. Therefore, it is recommended that you start changing her routine and ensure that you are minimizing intense and over-exertion activities.

Your vet may recommend a change in diet as well as the addition of nutritional supplements.

You should look out for pregnancy signs such as clear discharge and swelling of nipples which are normal and there is no need for concern.

Week 5 & 6

This is the fourth stage of your Pitbull’s pregnancy. During week five, the fetuses now look like small puppies with claws, paws, and whiskers beginning to grow.

Your vet can scan them and see what gender the puppies are and sometimes the genital areas can be seen.

Your Pitbull will want more and more food now to feed the puppies and she will start putting on some weight.

You are required to the number of calories she is taking to ensure the healthy development of the fetuses. The vet can also scan and see the number of puppies.

During week six, the pregnancy will start to show, and your Pitbull will visibly get bigger making it obvious that they are pregnant. The nipples will start getting darker and inside the womb, the puppies will start developing their unique patterns and markings.

During this stage, you can help your Pitbull prepare her nesting: a safe, quiet, warm, and comfortable place for giving birth.

You can start feeding her puppy food and supplements following your vet’s recommendations.  

Week 7

This is the fifth stage of pregnancy, and your Pitbull has now been pregnant for 42 days. Your Pitbull will start losing hair which is a natural process as she is preparing her belly for giving birth and feeding puppies.

During this stage, you need to increase the amount of food she is eating because the puppies are almost fully developed. It is important to add calcium to her diet to help the growing puppies develop and become strong.

Week 8

Typically, the length of Pitbull pregnancy is 63 days, but some Pitbulls can give birth prematurely. Week 8 is when this could happen, so you need to be ready in case you receive early surprises.

The best thing to do for your Pitbull now is to keep her calm and relaxed with almost no physical activity. She could give berth earlier if she starts running around and over-exerts herself.

During this stage, your Pitbull will start showing nesting behaviors and you can see the puppies moving around under the belly surface.

Week 9 

Most Pitbulls give birth during week nine. She will show signs of labor pain such as quietness, slowing down, low temperature, and appetite loss, which means she is ready to give birth.

Normal dog temperature is between 99 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, but if your Pitbull’s temperature drops to 97-98 degrees, she is ready to give birth within 24 hours.

Pitbull Pregnancy Signs

How Long Are Pitbulls Pregnant

There are various signs of pregnancy for a Pitbull. These signs are detailed below.

Behavioral Changes 

One of the most obvious signs of Pitbull pregnancy a behavior change. If your Pitbull is normally attention-seeking but has become more vacant and reserved, or if they are normally shy and seek more comfort, it is likely the behavior change is caused by pregnancy.

Typical behavioral signs of early pregnancy for a Pitbull include lethargy, shyness, and being less active than normal. It is quite normal to see your Pitbull become easily exhausted and be napping more often.

If your Pitbull is very energetic and the decrease in energy is sudden, it may not be pregnancy but other serious conditions which should be checked by a vet.

As the pregnancy develops, you will also likely notice a change in their nature to care for items such as toys, food, or even clothes, as the maternal instincts kick in.

Changes In Appetite 

Another change that you will see as a sign of Pitbull pregnancy is a change in appetite. Due to changes in hormones, you can expect fluctuations in appetite across the different pregnancy stages.

During the early to middle stages of pregnancy, it is expected that Pitbulls will have a reduced appetite and may shy away from their favorite foods. During these early stages, they may also vomit after eating, the canine equivalent of morning sickness.

During the latter stages of pregnancy, your Pitbull will likely have a greater appetite and also express dissatisfaction over foods they normally enjoy.

This behavior is perfectly normal so there is no need to be alarmed. Only if your Pitbull refuses to eat over a couple of days should you refer to the clinical advice of a vet.

Pitbull Pregnancy Stages

Enlarged Or Discolored Nipples 

The size of a Pitbull’s nipples is fairly small, flat, and light red. However, during pregnancy, it is expected that the nipples of a Pitbull become enlarged and discolored.

Particularly in the early stages, you can expect the nipples to enlarge and also the shape of the areolas to be more round.

The color of the nipples will turn darker red due to the increased blood flow. While later on in the pregnancy, the nipples become larger and leak milk.

Weight Gain & Enlarged Abdomen 

A classic and inevitable sign of pregnancy is weight gain, primarily due to an enlarged abdomen. As the puppies grow, the abdomen has to expand with it to cope with the demands of puppy growth.

If you notice your Pitbull’s increased weight gain without any clear signs of increased food intake, illness, or inactivity, it is likely your Pitbull is pregnant.

The enlarged abdomen is a sign of late pregnancy so you should see a vet as soon as this sign occurs if you have not previously visited the vet about pregnancy.

How To Confirm That Your Pitbull Is Pregnant

There are two methods to confirm if your Pitbull is pregnant. They include:

Ultrasounds 

Ultrasound can be done 25 days after mating to see whether your Pitbull conceived or not. You can do ultrasound three weeks after mating but the results may not be 100% accurate because it is still early.

Even though ultrasounds are free from pain, if your Pitbull does not like the vet, this can be a stressful situation for them because the hair in their belly will be shaved off.

The ultrasound costs for pregnancy checks range between $300 and $500, which is not cheap. Most owners prefer to wait until their Pitbull shows signs of pregnancy than pay for the ultrasound.

Pregnant Pitbull Ultrasound

Blood Sample

This is the second option of testing whether your Pitbull is pregnant or not using a blood test. This test will detect any pregnancy hormones in the blood of your Pitbull. This test should be done 5 weeks after mating to get accurate results.

A pregnancy blood test is cheaper than ultrasound but if it is done too early, the results may not be accurate. For example, the results will likely come up as negative if your Pitbull has only been pregnant for less than 35 days.

Caring For A Pregnant Pitbull 

During the pregnancy of a Pitbull, you should be mindful of the measures you need to follow to ensure they are cared for and supported through a process that will change the balance of hormones and behaviors. Proper care is also essential to ensure your Pitbull can give birth safely.

Some tips for caring for a pregnant Pitbull include:

Diet change – One month into the pregnancy, considering adding some puppy kibble to your Pitbull’s diet. As puppy food is more digestible and highly nutritious for growing puppies, it is recommended to ensure a healthy mother and newborn pups.

Provide high-quality food – As the food being consumed is not only supporting the mother but also the puppies growing inside, spend a little extra on high-quality to feed to support strong growth.

Regular but steady exercise – Be steady with exercise routines and do not over-exert your pregnant Pitbull. As pregnancy induces more tiredness and lack of energy, work with your Pitbull to ensure they are not over-worked.

Pitbull Pregnancy

That said, regular exercise is still very important for the overall health of your pregnant Pitbull, so work with them to assess an acceptable level of activity.

Observant of changes – Be observant of changes in behavior and physicality throughout the pregnancy. This will help identify any issues with the pregnancy as early as possible.

Water access – Ensure your pregnant Pitbull has easy access to water throughout the pregnancy and even during the delivery. They will be exhausted more easily and require regular hydration to support their bodily needs.

Nesting preparedness – Support your pregnant Pitbull with the nesting process. You can do this by creating a comfortable and relaxing crate well in advance of the birth.

Safety and security are key throughout the pregnancy for the wellbeing of a Pitbull, especially reassuring them of a safe birthing location.

How Do Pitbull’s Give Birth?

Pitbull’s give birth either through natural birth or C-section. Both methods are explained below.

Natural Birth 

With natural births, owners need to be very observant to see the signs of imminent birth. Their nest must be ready to house the new arrivals.

The signs of imminent birth include:

  • Your Pitbull visiting the nest regularly.
  • Scraping the towels in the nest frequently.
  • Finally sitting down and panting as if she’s just returned from vigorous exercise.

This period is very stressful for your Pitbull. It may take up to 12 hours from the initial panting to giving birth.

During a natural birth, a Pitbull is unaided as they push out their newborns. Once a puppy is born, the mother will bite the birth sack and lick away the excess to enable the puppy to breathe.

First-time mothers may need support from owners for this process, so you should be on-hand to support them.

It is also common for Pitbull mothers to eat the sack and umbilical cords. There is no need to be alarmed with this at is perfectly natural and is highly nutritional.

C-section 

A minority of Pitbull births are carried out by C-section. This method requires the intervention of a vet and is decided upon during an examination.

The decision to opt for a C-section is determined by the number of puppies expected and the size of the skulls. This is examined via X-ray.

C-sections require Pitbull’s to go under general anesthetic does have some health risks.

C-sections may become necessary if the natural birth is having issues. For example, your Pitbull has been waiting 10 hours with no signs of delivery. In this case, you should visit a vet immediately as there may be issues with the birth canal.

Pitbull Caesarean Section

How Many Puppies Do Pitbull’s Have? 

Pitbull’s typically have litters of 5 puppies. The average size of each puppy can is expected to be around a few ounces.

Compared to other dog breeds, a litter of 5 is roughly average in terms of litter size, with Bernese Mountain Dog’s have litters of up to 8 and Shih Tzu puppy litters closer to 3 on average.

During a vet visit in the early stages of pregnancy, using the ultrasound they will be able to identify the number of puppies expected in the litter to ensure owners can be prepared for the upcoming birth.

Final Words 

Hopefully, this article has given you all the essential information you need to know about Pitbull pregnancy stages and signs, leaving you well prepared for when your Pitbull becomes pregnant.

It is important to note that you should expect changes in your Pitbull’s behavior and body size during this period and that they may need more comfort and support throughout the process.

As an owner, the best thing you can do to support the process is to be observant of changes (big and small), be in contact with a vet straight away if see any warning signs and prepare as much as possible for the impending birth of a puppy litter.

About the author

Adriana

Adriana has been around dogs since she was a little kid. It all started with growing up with a German Shepherd Lord and an English Cocker Spaniel Bady. Her dream job has always been becoming a veterinarian. She has been taking care of animals all of her life and she wants to share her experience with other dog lovers.