How Long is an English Bulldog Pregnant For?
Are you curious about how long an English Bulldog remains pregnant? Whether you’re deliberately breeding your Bulldog or faced with an accidental pregnancy (which is rare), it’s essential to be prepared. So, how much time do you have to get ready? How many days does an English Bulldog stay pregnant, and when should you expect those adorable puppies to arrive?
The Duration of an English Bulldog Pregnancy
On average, English Bulldogs carry their babies for about 63 days or 9 weeks. However, please keep in mind that this timeline may vary by a few days based on several factors. To determine the exact stage of pregnancy and the expected delivery date, it’s wise to consult a veterinarian who can perform tests.
How Many Days are English Bulldogs Pregnant?
In general, dogs, regardless of breed, undergo a gestation period of approximately two months or 63 days. English Bulldogs adhere to this timeline, with the pregnancy duration measured from the moment the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine lining.
Now, let’s delve into the different stages of an English Bulldog’s pregnancy, including their symptoms, and learn how to provide optimal care before, during, and after labor.
English Bulldog Pregnancy Stages
Similar to humans, dogs go through three trimesters during pregnancy, each lasting approximately three weeks.
Week 1-2: Implantation and Early Development
Within a week after breeding, the fertilized eggs begin to embed themselves into the uterine wall, typically during the second and third weeks. At this stage, you may notice the initial signs of an English Bulldog’s pregnancy. Your dog might become more affectionate or irritable.
Week 3: Implantation and Embryo Development
Around the third week, the embryo’s development begins, accompanied by more noticeable mood swings, changes in appetite, and breast tissue development in the mother.
Week 4: Growing Puppies
By week 4, you can physically feel the developing puppies within the uterus. This is also when their spinal cords and facial features start taking shape. Don’t panic if you can’t feel the puppies moving at this point; the mother’s uterus fills with liquid to protect them.
Week 5: Puppies Taking Form
Around week 5, the puppies start looking like miniature English Bulldog pups as their legs and toes develop. Your dog’s belly will exhibit a noticeable pregnancy bump, and her appetite may decrease. Additionally, the puppies’ pigmentation and eyelids begin to develop this week.
Week 6: Preparing for Birth
At week 6, the puppies reach their birth size, making them physically feelable inside the abdomen. This indicates that the pregnancy is nearing its end, and you should start preparing to welcome the litter.
Handy Hint: Planning on breeding your Bulldog? Don’t forget to learn about the English Bulldog heat cycle. It’s crucial to be prepared for it and recognize the signs to look out for.
Week 8: Nesting Behavior
In week 8, your dog will exhibit nesting behavior, preparing for the imminent birth. You’ll notice her restlessness, frequent bed-making, and decreased appetite. This is when the puppies start moving around within the uterus.
Week 9: Time for Delivery
By week 9, the puppies are ready to be born, and labor will commence. Keep an eye on your dog’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. Her normal temperature should be around 100°F. If it drops to 97°F for two consecutive readings, labor will usually begin within the next 24 hours.
Most English Bulldogs require a cesarean section for delivery. Natural birth can be dangerous for them.
If you prefer a professional setting for the birth, consult your vet about veterinary hospitals that can assist you. A cesarean section is the recommended method for most English Bulldogs.
How Many Puppies Do English Bulldogs Have?
While the average dog litter comprises around five to six puppies, the number can vary based on the dog breed. English Bulldogs typically have litters of about three to four puppies. As the pregnancy progresses, your vet can determine the exact number through X-rays around the eighth week. It’s crucial to acknowledge that ultrasounds and X-rays aren’t 100% accurate, so there might be surprises in store.
Handy Hint: Before buying an English Bulldog, do your homework! Learn everything you need to know and ask the breeder relevant questions.
After delivery, you’ll notice the mother becoming more relaxed and no longer straining. However, if you believe there are still puppies inside her after four hours, contact your vet for assistance. Place the newborn puppies in a warm box and allow them to nurse. Since English Bulldogs can be inexperienced mothers at first, separate the puppies from the mother until their eyes open. Once the mother is ready, she will gladly take over their care and feeding.
How Can You Tell if an English Bulldog is Pregnant?
If you suspect your English Bulldog is pregnant, whether intentionally or unexpectedly, several signs and symptoms can help you confirm it as early as the first or second week of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Signs for English Bulldogs
- Change in Mood: Every dog is different, but most pregnant dogs experience changes in mood. Some become more affectionate, seeking extra attention, while others prefer isolation and avoid any interaction, even if they are typically friendly.
- Appetite Change: Pregnant dogs may exhibit fluctuating appetites. They might have a decreased appetite early on, followed by an increased need for food later in the pregnancy. Hormonal changes account for these variations.
- Vomiting: Alongside a decreased appetite, some dogs might experience short-term nausea and vomiting around week 3 of pregnancy. However, keep in mind that throwing up could indicate other issues.
- Decreased Activity: As the pregnancy progresses, your dog may become less interested in physical activities and play, usually starting around the second week. Over time, she will likely adapt to her condition and become more willing to interact and play again.
- Breast Growth: A pregnant dog’s nipples and breasts only grow once pregnancy occurs. Milk glands develop around the second week in preparation for nursing. The nipples might also change color, becoming redder due to increased blood flow.
Can English Bulldogs Give Birth Naturally?
Due to their breeding history, many Bulldogs struggle with natural birth. French Bulldogs, for example, often require cesarean sections due to their narrow hips. Similarly, English Bulldogs, being close relatives, face similar challenges. Approximately 95% of English Bulldogs require cesarean sections for a safe delivery. The birth canal in these dogs is often too narrow to allow puppies to pass through naturally, posing a risk to both the mother and the puppies.
However, some English Bulldogs can give birth naturally. Nonetheless, breeders often opt for planned cesarean sections to ensure the safety of repeated litters. If you’re uncertain whether your dog requires a cesarean section, consult your vet, who can recommend the best course of action for your Bulldog.
If your dog is currently in labor and appears to be struggling, contact your vet immediately for the necessary medical assistance.
Signs of Labor in English Bulldogs
Around the eighth week of pregnancy, your dog will exhibit signs of preparing for labor, often referred to as “nesting behavior.” Restlessness, bed-making, and loss of appetite are common indications. Eventually, your dog will start panting, pacing, and moving around when labor is about to commence. Monitor her temperature using a rectal thermometer.
Once her temperature drops from 100°F to approximately 98°F, labor is expected within the next 12 to 24 hours. If your plan is to have a vet-assisted birth, this is when you should head to the veterinary hospital.
Delivering English Bulldog Puppies Naturally
Once labor begins, your dog may become increasingly agitated, digging her bed, and possibly vomiting. It’s important to stay by her side, monitoring her progress. The duration of labor can vary between 4 and 24 hours. If you observe excessive straining or notice greenish discharge, promptly contact your vet for immediate assistance.
As the puppies start being born, they will be covered in fluid, which the mother will typically break and lick off, stimulating their movement. However, if your dog is exhausted, she may not have the energy to do this on her own. In such cases, you’ll need to intervene by using a hand towel to break the sack and wipe the puppy’s nose.
If a puppy is not breathing, vigorously wipe it to stimulate its breathing response (don’t worry about being too gentle; firm rubbing is necessary). In emergency situations, you may need to perform CPR or rescue breaths. Your vet can guide you through the process and provide instructions for CPR and other aspects of labor.
Pro Tip: Is your pregnant English Bulldog’s temperature dropping? Don’t panic—it’s normal! This is a crucial sign indicating that she will begin giving birth within the next 12 to 24 hours. Once this happens, you need to make final preparations, including setting up a whelping box or preparing for an assisted birth at the veterinary hospital.
If you are a new breeder or your English Bulldog unexpectedly becomes pregnant, congratulations! English Bulldog puppies are undeniably adorable and no more challenging to care for than puppies of other breeds. However, keep in mind that breeding and caring for a pregnant Bulldog require dedication and responsibility. It’s not just about knowing the length of the pregnancy; it’s also about providing proper care during this period and preparing for the big day.
You might also like: Check out our helpful article to learn more about caring for English Bulldogs before making a purchase. Make informed decisions and always ask breeders important questions.