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

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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.