How Long Are Golden Retriever’s Pregnant?

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How Long Are Dog's Pregnant? - Raven with her litter of puppies
How Long Are Dog’s Pregnant?

If you’ve been following us for a while then you’re probably wondering when will Raven have puppies and how long are Golden Retriever’s pregnant?

Many moons ago, when I volunteered rescuing litters of puppies from the local animal shelter I didn’t worry about how long dog’s were pregnant. The animal rescue took care of whelping and a lot of other logistics. I just took care of the puppies for 8-12 weeks.

However, now that we are breeder keepers for our Golden Retriever, Raven, our litters are planned and we know approximately when she will have her puppies.

That brings us to our question of the day:

How Long Are Golden Retriever’s Pregnant?

Question: How long are Golden Retriever’s Pregnant?

Answer: 63 Days (plus or minus a few days)

So far we’ve had two Golden Retriever litters at our house. The first litter was right smack on the nose! Exactly 63 days after Raven’s breeding she whelped her first litter of puppies.

Her second litter wasn’t quite as precise. Raven’s puppies arrived a day early. So the answer for Raven’s second litter was 62 days.

Now we’re looking forward to Raven’s third litter. So, what do you think the answer is this time? How long are Golden Retriever’s pregnant?

Raven’s due date (that is 63 days from her breeding) is May 3rd, 2019!

We’re less than 2 weeks out and her stomach is really starting to pooch. I’m going to guess she will be a little early again.

I can even feel the puppies moving if I put my hand on her belly!

QUICK TIP: If you’re planning for a litter make sure you have everything setup and ready to got well in advance. We recently reviewed our whelping checklist and plan on ordering a few extra supplies as well as getting our whelping box and puppy room setup.

Dog Pregnancy Signs

Here are some of the signs that your dog might be pregnant:

Early In The Pregnancy

  • Morning sickness – Nope, nothing to report…thank goodness Raven doesn’t get morning sickness.
  • Less physical activity – Nothing noticeable with Raven.
  • Hungry, hungry, hungry! – Ummm…she’s always hungry so no change in her appetite.
  • More affection please – One word: Golden Retriever. Sorry, but she really can’t be more affectionate then she already is.
  • Behavior changes – Nothing noticeable here with Raven.
  • Vaginal discharge – She keeps pretty tidy in her nether regions, but in hindsight I do recall her licking herself more frequently then normal.
  • Bigger Nipples – This time around I started noticing an increase in the size of her nipples around halfway through. Maybe after about 5 weeks?

Early in the pregnancy we really don’t notice much change in Raven. Not until towards the end of the second trimester have we noticed signs that Raven is pregnant.

After The First Month

  • Putting on the pounds – Yes, but we don’t have a pet scale to accurately measure her weight.
  • More pee pee! – I never really noticed an increase in pee pee breaks.
  • Belly starts to pooch – Yep! This is probably one of the first things I notice that confirms pregnancy.
  • Decreased appetite – She’s a Golden…she’s always hungry, hungry hippos!

I mention this again below. Since we’re on our third pregnancy one of the clear signs I’ve noticed is the fur along Raven’s abdomen begins to flare out when she’s pregnant. Every breed and dog will be different. This is something I’ve noticed with Raven. 

QUICK TIP: We slowly startfeeding Raven a little more of her regular dog food. We feed her Wellness Core Grain Free Dog Food. By the time she gives birth we also start adding a powdered probiotic to her meals which we noticed has helped her with digestion when taking care of her litter.

The Last Few Days Before Birth

We noticed all of these bullet points the last few days before birth.

  • Visible puppy movement in abdomen – A few days ago, around 2 weeks out I started feeling puppies moving around in Raven’s belly!
  • She’s not so hungry anymore – Ummm…she’s always hungry 🙂
  • Body temperature drop – 24 hrs before labor – We start checking her temperature the week leading up to her due date. This gives us a rough idea of when she will begin labor.
  • Antsy, restless, pacing, panting, digging, nesting… – Yes, yes, yes! We (both Raven and I) usually have a few restless nights before the puppies arrive.

Check out the AKC website for more information about dog pregnancy and gestation periods.

When Did I Know My Dog Was Pregnant?

Raven and her Golden Retriever puppies days after being born.
Our Golden Retriever was pregnant for 63 days (plus or minus a day or two)

After she had her first puppy? Just Kidding…

Raven was bred on March 1st, 2019. So, I assumed she was pregnant as of that date and 63 days later we’d see puppies.

The real question is when did Raven show clear signs that she was pregnant.

Pregnancy #1 – During her first pregnancy I wasn’t totally confident she was pregnant until the last week. I checked her every day and it wasn’t until the final week that I noticed her belly really started to stick out. I remember thinking back then: “her nipples look bigger, but what did they look like before?” Maybe because it was her first pregnancy she was much tighter around the stomach and started showing a lot later then she has in her second and third pregnancy.

Pregnancy #2 – It was around 3 weeks out that I was fairly confident Raven was pregnant. I noticed 3 signs. First, her stomach was big enough that she was showing. Second, her nipples were much larger then normal. Third, something I didn’t think about until pregnancy #3 was that the fur that feathered around her stomach/sides really started to flare out from her body.

Pregnancy #3 – Very similar to pregnancy #2 – This time I really noticed the enlarged nipples and her fur flaring from the side of her body. The last thing I noticed was her bulging belly. All 3 signs became apparent around 4 weeks out.

NOTE: Probably the easiest way for me to confirm pregnancy earlier would be to weigh Raven daily/weekly to see if she’s gaining weight. We don’t have a pet scale, but it may be a purchase we consider down the line if we continue to raise service dog litters. Also, you can get an ultrasound, blood test, or have your vet check your dog to confirm pregnancies much earlier.

So what’s going on? Am I getting better at noticing the signs of pregnancy? or do the earlier signs mean something different?

I have two theories for why we saw signs of pregnancy earlier in Raven’s second and third litter.

  • Theory #1: Raven’s belly was stretched from her first pregnancy and her belly was more prone to showing as a result.
  • Theory #2: Raven started showing earlier because she has more puppies in her belly. Pregnancy #1 = 6 puppies; Pregnancy #2 = 8 puppies; Pregnancy #3 = ???

Theory #2 sounds more plausible to me and since Raven started showing earlier in her third pregnancy we could be in for a big litter.

That brings us back to one of the other questions we got on our blog a couple years ago: How many puppies in a litter of Golden Retrievers?

So, I have two questions for you guys today:

  1. When do you think Raven will have her puppies? Basically, you’ll be answering our original question: How long are Golden Retriever’s pregnant?
  2. How many puppies will Raven have in her third litter? You have the facts now let’s here your guesses.

I’ll post my guesses in the comment section below.

That’s all folks!

If you have any questions or comments please leave us a note in our comment section below.

P.S. If you guys are expecting a litter of puppies then you should check out our whelping checklist. It lists all the supplies we like to have before our litter of pups arrive.

How Long Are Golden Retrievers Pregnant? - Raven with her litter of 8 puppies
How Long Are Golden Retrievers Pregnant?

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21 Comments

  1. My golden had 8 pups her first litter and now she is 3 weeks pregnant (not confirmed which is killing me) and I keep watching her and trying to see a major change or sign. I think her nipples are a little bigger but maybe it’s just my imagination. I remember a few things that seem similar from her first pregnancy but it’s so difficult to tell.

    1. Take a look at our article on dog pregnancy signs. We’re hoping Raven is pregnant now too. Her behavior changed about 2 weeks after insemination and her activity level is definitely lower than normal. Just like you I think her nipples are larger, but it could be my imagination. Hopefully your Golden is pregnant. Good luck!

  2. We are considering raising goldens for service needs etc. Can you recommend a starting point to find who to sell them through/to? Is training required before selling them at 8 to 12 weeks?

    1. All of our puppies are donated to non-profit service dog schools. In my experience most of the puppies are bred at the school or donated to the schools at no charge. I don’t know of any schools that regularly purchase puppies to train as service dogs.

  3. Thanks for the tips! But I noticed you said you give your golden a grain free food. This article is a little old so hopefully you have learned by now that grain free food is really bad for dogs. Please do some research and learn about why grain free is so bad for them. There really is no good reason for dogs to be grain free. It’s just a fad. I have seen so many cases of dogs vomiting blood and then dying from being on grain free for a long time. And it could be why she needs a probiotic to help her digest. Please look into it if you are still doing grain free.

    1. Thank you for your response. Yes, I have read the articles about grain free dog food and dilated cardiomyopathy and I just read some of the newer articles this evening. Here are a few things I found:

      #1. Wellness was not on the list of top brands with cases of dogs with DCM
      #2. From what I’ve read it seems the link is between the lower levels of Taurine in grain free foods that may be causing the issue: “…grain-free pet foods can skimp on expensive animal proteins and use larger amounts of cheap plant proteins in their place. And because plant proteins are devoid of taurine, dog foods might be deficient in taurine”.
      #3. One of the reasons I chose Wellness Core is because it’s high level of animal proteins.
      #4. Wellness Core was recommended to me by our veterinarian for Stetson’s allergies and it helped and I was able to take him off other medications.
      #5. The past few years I vary my dogs diets by feeding different foods throughout the year. I’ve been feeding a combination of Wellness Core, The Farmers Dog Fresh Food, Honest Kitchen, Fromms, and Natures Variety. This year I also plan to add Ollie Fresh Dog Food and NomNomNow.

      I really appreciate your concern and I did do research before choosing Wellness Core and after hearing about the issues with Grain Free and DCM. I’ll do another deep dive into the subject and see if there are some better options available for feeding my dogs.

  4. I have heard others mention something about hair flaring out on the sides. Does anyone know anything more about this? Does that occur as part of a golden’s typical cycle or only when a dog is pregnant? What would cause that? I am so curious about this.

  5. Golden Retriever gestation period is estimated of 63 days .. at that time she needs extra love care and attention …small physical activity is must for healthy babies.

  6. In case you were wondering Raven was early. Her puppies arrived in 60 days on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 and she had 10 puppies…Yowzers! I was told that large litters often arrive earlier then expected.

  7. My guesses:

    When do you think Raven will have her puppies? 61 days = May 1st, 2019, but I’m hoping they are a day late and arrive on Saturday, May 4th, 2019 so my wife can be there to see them arrive.

    How many puppies will Raven have in her third litter? 10 puppies. She’s big so I’m going big, but I’m hoping for 4 puppies because it’s so much easier to manage.

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