Do Veterinarians Know How Many Puppies a Dog Has When She Is Pregnant?

by Slone Wayking

Knowing how many puppies to expect helps you be ready to provide their care.

Your dog is expecting her first litter of puppies. Whether it was a planned breeding or a happy accident, it's natural that you’re curious how many puppies she may be carrying. Knowing how many to expect helps you prepare. Take mama to your vet for a checkup and an answer.

Palpation, Ultrasound and X-Ray

An experienced vet can palpate a pregnancy at around 28 days; however, getting an accurate count of pups is difficult. The size and weight of the dog, and how high the uterus is resting, play key factors. In order to give you a more accurate count, your veterinarian will most likely recommend an ultrasound or X-ray. An abdominal ultrasound can see gestational sacs around 20 days and heartbeats usually around 25 to 30 days. Many vets prefer X-ray for better detail after 45 days. Radiographs give a clear skeletal count, and can potentially show deformities.

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