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FAQs on Reproduction (Heats & Pregnancies) in Dogs
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
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At what age can a dog have her first litter?

Puberty (the age at which animals can reproduce) in the dog is usually between 5 and 12 months of age. This is when a dog will have her first heat. Some large breed dogs may not have their first heat until they are almost 2 years old.

How often does a dog come into heat?

Most dogs come into heat every 6 to 7 months.

How can I tell if a dog is in heat?

Just prior to coming into heat, the dogs' vulva and breasts may enlarge and a bloody discharge will be seen coming from the vulva. At this point, she is not yet ready to accept a male dog. When the vaginal discharge becomes more yellow in color, generally in 4 to 13 days, she will accept the male. She will accept the male for another 4 to 13 days.

How long is pregnancy in the dog?

Dogs generally have their puppies 58 to 68 days after they are bred. The average is 63 days.

How many puppies are in the average litter?

The average size of a litter is generally 6 to 10 puppies. The number of puppies in a litter often varies with the size of the dog. Smaller dogs tend to have smaller litters.

How many litters can a dog have in a year?

The average dog could have 2 litters a year.

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