Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.I understand that you are concerned about your girl and her pregnancy.Normal length of pregnancy can be anywhere from 63 to 76 days, though most dogs deliver at about the 65th day. First pregnancies tend to go a little longer then subsequent pregnancies and generally the more puppies in a litter the shorter the length of pregnancy. So if she only has one or two pups she may have a longer pregnancy.All that said if she was in heat and was bred at the beginning of March then mid April is really too early for her to be ready to deliver pups, and is she were pregnant and starting to lactate then she should have a noticeably swollen abdomen. Dogs usually gain most of their weight and puppies get much bigger the last couple weeks before delivery. If she were bred and pregnant then even if she were bred March 1st she should not deliver until the last week of April/1st or second week of May. I'll give you things to watch for just in case.The most accurate sign of impending labor is a drop in body temperature, usually at least a couple degrees, down to less than 99F. At this point I recommend you start taking her rectal temperature every 12 hours. That way you will have an idea of what her normal is. When her body temperature drops below 99F consistently (some dogs will bounce up and down a bit at the end of pregnancy) she should be within 24 hours of labor and delivery.Other signs to look for are restlessness and nesting behavior
. Make sure she has a place set up for delivery now that she is very comfortable with. During her first stage of labor she will have some cramping and be restless but she won't actively be pushing. Most dogs will start milk production a day or two before delivery but some start a week in advance and others don't start until the day of delivery. The second stage of labor is the active stage of labor. You will see abdominal contractions and she will be pushing and straining. The first puppy should be born within 2 hours of you noticing her straining and it is usually faster then that. There shouldn't be more that an hour between puppies and if you see any fetal membranes or a body part protruding the pup should be delivered within 30 minutes, if not that signifies trouble. The problem can be a puppy that is too large to pass through the pelvic canal, improper presentation of the puppy or uterine inertia (poor muscle
tone and contractions). She may need help getting the pup out of the fetal membranes. You can also help by tying off the umbilical cords with clean thread about a 1 inch from the body wall.There should be a placenta delivered with each puppy. Some dogs will want to eat the placentas but I recommend removing them so they do not lead to stomach
upset When she is done delivering all the pups expect her to expel some blood, fluids and the remaining tissues from the pup's placentas. She may or may not want to eat and drink after the pups. Have fresh food and water ready for her as she needs fluids and calories with all the work she has done. Some dogs however are too nervous or busy with their pups and will wait to eat and drink until later. Here is a link to an accurate article that will help if you have any further questions and also describes possible complications after delivery: http://retiredvet.hubpages.com/hub/Pregnancy-and-Labor-in-Dogs Has she had radiographs or an ultrasound done recently so that you know how many puppies to expect? That may be a good idea now. Fetal skeletons start to calcify, and thus are easier to see and count about 45-50 days out from the breeding. That would be about now.It is possible that she is not pregnant and that this may be a false pregnancy
. This can occur after a normal heat cycle
, even with a breeding. This is because hormonal changes in a dog are very similar whether they are bred or not. In a pregnant dog the female's hormones fall off and the pups respond with their own hormones which leads to delivery.In a nonpregnant dog there just isn't any pup stimulation. But some dog's bodies get confused and they feel like they are pregnant.They may pick a toy to mother, may even build a nest and produce milk.We do know that if a bitch's mother had false pregnancies then she is likely to have them as well. And once they have one false pregnancy they are likely to have one with every heat cycle where a successful breeding doesn't take place.It doesn't mean that she isn't fertile or that there are hormonal problems with her. She could be successfully bred on her next heat if you wanted to. If she hasn't had radiographs taken then I would consider that she may not be pregnant but it is probably something that you want to confirm. Just because your other female is protecting her does not necessarily mean she is pregnant. She may be confused by her milk production, and the changes in body odor with the hormonal changes she is going through, regular or false pregnancy.Best of luck with your girl, hopefully you will have healthy pups in a couple of weeks. Let me know if something I've written wasn't clear or you have more questions.