Australian Shepherd Pregnancy (Signs, Stages, & Best Vet Tips)

Pregnancy in Australian Shepherd is an important time for the mothers and soon-to-be-born puppies. During this time your aussie may need more attention than usual. Your aussies immune system and other body functions may be stressed, so they may be susceptible to chronic disease and health problems. Sometimes dogs need the help of humans during their pregnancy.

 

How To Tell If Your Aussie is Pregnant

Humans have a simple way to determine if they are pregnant but its not as easy for dogs. You will most likely need to visit your vet to find out if your aussie is pregnant for sure. Be sure to tell your vet as much info as you know to help them diagnose your aussie.

Here are the 4 ways a vet can use to determine if your aussie is pregnant:

  1. X-ray
  2. Ultrasound
  3. Hormone test
  4. Palpation

Although these are the only ways to confirm your aussie is pregnant, there are signs you can look for to tell if your aussie is pregnant.

Early Aussie Pregnancy Signs

Usually your aussie won’t show signs of pregnancy until the third or fourth week of being pregnant. During the first 3 to 4 weeks these symptoms may occur:

  • Morning sickness
  • General tiredness
  • Lack of appetite

 

Gestation: How Long Are Australian Shepherds Pregnant?

For all dogs, the normal gestation period is 63 days from conception. However, this can vary a little bit and it can be hard to determine when exactly conception happened in an aussie. Sperm can live for a few days and eggs can remain fertile for up to 48 hours, so predicting it is not as straightforward as it sounds. That’s why you’ll need some help from your vet.

Gestation length according to measurements:

  • 56-58 days from the first day of diestrus
  • 64-66 days from the initial rise in progesterone
  • 58-72 days from the first time the bitch allowed breeding

 

Stages Of Australian Shepherd Pregnancy

Australian Shepherd Pregnancy usually lasts 60-65 days, although it differs between a few days.

The pups develop quickly inside the womb and then are ready to be born after.

First Month of Aussie Pregnancy

In the first month, the embryos travel to the uterine horns inside your aussie. The embryos get planted in the uterine lining around day 16. The fetus will take shape around day 22 and by day 30 a vet should be able to detect heartbeats of the fetus.

Most aussies won’t show symptoms for the first 3 weeks of pregnancy. If you do see signals that your aussie is pregnant, they will typically be:

  • Decreased physical activity
  • More affectionate behavior
  • Increased appetite
  • Enlarged nipples
  • “Morning sickness”
  • Clear vaginal discharge

 

Second Month of Aussie Pregnancy

During the second month of your Australian shepherd’s pregnancy, the fetus will develop a lot faster. Eyelids and toes will form by day 35. Their coat and skeleton will be visible by day 45. By day 50, you’ll be able to see how many puppies are developed with an x-ray.

Your aussie will also start looking for a place to nest by day number 58. In the second month, symptoms of pregnancy are a lot more noticeable. Some of them to note are:

  • Weight gain (between 20-50% of their original weight)
  • Behavior changed
  • More frequent urination
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Visible puppy movements

 

Third Month of Aussie Pregnancy

Your aussie will be ready to whelp (give birth) by the start of the third month. Puppy development is basically complete by day 60 and it means they will be getting into the birthing position inside your aussie.

The last symptoms of pregnancy in this stage are:

  • Waist will look different before birthing
  • Drop in body temp before labor
  • Restlessness
  • Pacing, panting, shivering, or digging
  • Appetite loss

 

Feeding During Australian Shepherd Pregnancy (with vet tips)

There’s no specific diet for a pregnant Australian Shepherd. In early pregnancy, she will most likely  be eating somewhat normally. During the pregnancy her eating habits will change as she goes into the different stages of pregnancy. This is because her stomach will become enlarged and restrict how much she can eat.

As a vet, a great trick is to actually give your aussie some puppy food along with her normal food as it will help with the developing puppies and make it easier for her to eat more. Additionally, give her an appropriate amount of folic acid, and that‘s enough to provide it with all nutrients.

Another great trick is as your aussie gets further along in her pregnancy, try feeding her more often with less food. This will help her be able to eat more since her stomach will gradually have less room for lots of food.

Pregnant Australian Shepherd Lifestyle Changes

During pregnancy, your Australian Shepherd will most likely be somewhat normal with slight behavior changes. These behavior changes might look like being more affectionate towards you early in the pregnancy.

Your pregnant aussie might also be slightly more distant the closer she is to giving birth. Both of these behavior changes are normal for a pregnant aussie and are not cause for concern.

You should not let your pregnant aussie jump from any heights. You also should refrain from picking her up but if you have to, do it carefully. It’s also best to avoid car rides for your aussie while she is pregnant.

Remember to make sure she is still getting some exercise along with other typical hygiene caring like brushing or deshedding.

 

Pregnant Australian Shepherd Hygiene

Hygienic care for your pregnant aussie might look like watching her each day, cleaning or deshedding her fur, and monitoring her condition. During the second half of an Aussie’s pregnancy, she may need more supervision. However, near the end of the second stage of pregnancy you should not clean your aussie any longer.

If you put off deworming your aussie before she was pregnant, you should wait until your aussie is no longer pregnant and up to two weeks after giving birth to deworm her. Even leading up to mating you should not be using any medication, unless prescribed by a vet in an emergency. Certain Australian Shepherd Genetic Diseases can occur if drugs are used improperly while the mother is pregnant

Also, don’t let your aussie interact with wild or stray animals during pregnancy.

 

Making a nest for your pregnant Australian Shepherd

It’s beneficial if your pregnant aussie has a “nest” or a place she can go to both leading up to the birth and during the birth. It should be a comfortable, quiet, warm, and easy to reach place for your aussie to stay.

The nest can be made up of a lot of different materials. Some decide to get a whelping box for their pregnant aussie since it can easily be used to keep the puppies in after. Here’s a great whelping box on amazon (affiliate link) that we found. There are also whelping pads on amazon (affiliate link) that you can put in the box or just use on their own to help contain any messes.

However whelping boxes can be expensive. Some budget whelping box ideas and workarounds are using things found around the house like large blankets, a cardboard box, an empty blow up kiddie pool, or a bath tub. Just remember to help calm the mother they should be able to go in and out of the nest as they please so you may have to make some modifications to any home nests.

Right before the birth of the puppies, your aussie may go to her nest or even another area away from everything/everyone.

Bonus tips from a vet:

  • Your aussie’s temperature will change within 24 hours of them giving birth. So it’s useful to keep a dog thermometer on hand to check their temperature to know when to expect labor. Here’s the dog thermometer on amazon (affiliate link) we use and recommend.
  • If possible, arrange to have a vet nearby or on standby during the birth of your aussie puppies in case of any complications.

 

How Long Are Australian Shepherds in Labor?

Once “gestation” is over labor for birthing your Australian Shepherd puppies will begin. Labor is typically divided into 3 stages.

 

First Stage of Labor

This stage lasts 12 to 24 hours and is usually not noticeable. Contractions will start in the uterus and become stronger and more frequent as the stage goes on. However, the contractions typically aren’t noticeable. Here are the labor symptoms that you might notice:

  • Vomiting
  • Refusing to eat
  • Intermittent nesting
  • Reclusive behavior
  • Panting
  • Change in behavior
  • Restlessness

 

Second Stage of Labor

During the second stage is when the puppies are delivered. It can take anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours for your aussie to deliver all her puppies. Each delivery shouldn’t last more than 2 hours and they usually will occur every 30-60 minutes, which is why you need to know how many puppies to expect and wait for.

 

Third Stage of Labor

In this stage, the placenta is delivered. The last two stages (2 & 3) occur at about the same time and during stage 3, all placentas will be delivered.

You should contact your vet (if you haven’t already) if the labor lasts longer than 24 hours or if more than 2 hours pass between puppy deliveries. Both of these could indicate serious issues for the unborn puppies and the mother.

australian shepherd pregnancy labor

How Many Puppies an Aussie Can Give Birth To?

Typically, Australian Shepherd litters are about 5-8 puppies. In rare cases, aussies can have up to 10 puppies. The bigger the litter, the more time your aussie will need to rest after.

You may also have to assist your aussie in feeding her puppies so she doesn’t become exhausted. This will help both the puppies and the mother.

How Often Can A Female Australian Shepherd Get Pregnant?

Australian Shepherds can get pregnant every 10-12 months when the estrus season comes.

The fertile period lasts up to three weeks long and it’s best to keep track of this period (in case you want puppies or not).

Vet tip: If you don’t want to have puppies, you should get your aussie spayed at a local vet clinic.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Australian Shepherd Pregnancy

How long are Australian Shepherds pregnant?

Australian Shepherds are pregnant for 63 days total on average. This is measured from the day the ovulate to the day puppies are born. Similar to humans, dogs have 3 trimesters which are about 21 days long each.

 

How can you tell if your Australian shepherd is pregnant?

The “early” signs your aussie may be pregnant are:

  • Morning sickness
  • General tiredness
  • Lack of appetite

They also can include:

  • Nipples enlarging and changing color
  • Weight gain
  • Nesting behaviors

 

How long after mating can you tell a dog is pregnant?

Most signs are subtle so it can be hard to tell but generally after 30 days, a slight mucus discharge may occur for your dog which would be a sign. You’ll need to get it checked with a vet to conform. Her nipples may change color and size and may also produce a fluid.

 

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