Caring for a pregnant American Bully is an exciting yet nervous experience, especially as you monitor its signs through its stages.
However, once you see newborn pups successfully whelped, there is no greater feeling of relief.
Nothing is more important during your pet’s pregnancy than its health and the health of the puppies inside. During this stage, the amount of care we should give our American Bully becomes elevated.
Fear not, though, as this article will help you survive this crucial stage in the life of your American Bully.
We’ll cover everything from being able to tell if your pet is pregnant down to knowing the different stages of pregnancy and labor.
How Long Is an American Bully Pregnant?
The American Bully shares the same length of pregnancy as most large breed dogs, around 62 to 64 days from the date of mating, or approximately two months. However, predicting the exact day of birth may not be possible since it is difficult to determine the actual point of conception.
After mating, the sperm may live up to several days inside the female, and the eggs may remain fertile for up to 48 hours.
This is why it is challenging to pinpoint exactly when the actual fertilization occurred inside the dam’s body.
This becomes even harder to count if the breeding was by accident and the breeder does not know when mating exactly happened.
No matter the situation, responsible breeders are usually already on standby for signs of labor a few days before the due date range to ensure preparedness for this critical condition.
How to Tell If Your American Bully Is Pregnant
Detecting whether your American Bully is pregnant or not may not be as easy compared to how it is done for humans.
Diagnostic testing by a veterinarian is the most accurate and reliable method of determining pregnancy in your pet.
Below are the most dependable types of diagnostic tests to determine pregnancy in your American Bully:
- Palpation: When your American Bully reaches the 28 to 30-day mark from the mating date, palpation is the earliest yet not the most accurate method to determine pregnancy in dogs. This is done by gently pressing the dog’s abdomen with the fingers to check the presence of puppies that may feel like small balls at this stage.
- Ultrasound: An abdominal ultrasound may be done between 25 and 35 days from the gestation date. This is a perfectly safe method to detect puppies’ heartbeats using sound waves. It may also determine the number of puppies based on heartbeats detected, but not as accurately at this early stage.
- Hormone test: As your American Bully reaches 25 to 30 days of gestation, a blood test can be done to determine the relaxin level in your dog. Relaxin is a hormone produced by the placenta only during pregnancy, which makes this method quite accurate.
- X-ray: The X-ray, done at 55 days and above from the date of mating, is one of the most reliable ways of confirming if your American Bully is pregnant. On top of that, it is the most effective method for counting the number of puppies since their spines are already visible. X-ray is also used to check the puppies’ positions and sizes relative to the pelvic canal.
So, never skimp on getting these tests done and keeping your pups safe.
Meanwhile, check out what the ultrasound results look like on two pregnant American Bullies in this video:
When Can American Bullies Get Pregnant?
Female American Bullies, like any other canines, start going into heat at six months old.
However, it is best to wait until they are a year old or on their second heat cycle so they would be physically and mentally mature enough to carry pups.
To have a successful pregnancy, your female American Bully has to be mated at the right time of ovulation. Its heat cycle will last between two and four weeks but will only be fertile for approximately five days.
Usually, these five days would be between the tenth and fourteenth day of their estrous stage, with day one being the first day you notice blood in your dog’s vulva. You should also observe the vulva to be swollen at this stage.
However, counting the days is the least accurate method to determine the peak of the estrous period.
The other technique you can employ includes having a male dog next to your female and observing its reaction.
Male dogs would have a strong urge to go crazy and mount female dogs releasing pheromones.
If the female dog offers its end part to the male and moves its tail to the side, that is a sign that your female is already at its peak.
Another approach to checking readiness for mating is via vaginal smear, done by taking a swab of the vulva and examining it under the microscope.
Females in the estrous period will have cornified, serrated, and non-nucleated cells.
Lastly, one of the most accurate ways to check when to mate a female American Bully is via progesterone test.
Progesterone is the hormone produced by the ovaries and placenta that prepares the female body for a healthy pregnancy.
When the progesterone reading reaches 5 ng/ml, that will be the best time to schedule your female American Bully for mating.
A best practice by breeders is mating the female twice, with the second done two days from the first.
Nonetheless, no matter how accurate one’s timing is, other factors contribute to the successful pregnancy of an American Bully.
These include health, environment, stress, and the male’s sperm count and quality.
American Bully Pregnancy Stages (Week-by-Week Breakdown)
Understanding the week-by-week development of puppies inside your American Bully is essential for determining what support to give both the puppies and the mother throughout the entire gestation process.
That said, here are the different American Bully pregnancy stages for you to be familiar with:
Expect no physical or behavioral manifestations yet of pregnancy in your Am American Bully dam at this point. The first week is when the sperm reaches the eggs, and fertilization takes place.
During this stage, it is very critical to avoid big movements in your dam as it is critical for fertilization to happen successfully, without too much stress.
In the second week, the fertilized eggs of the American Bully will attach themselves to the lining of its uterus, or the endometrium, ready for implantation.
The first sign of behavioral changes in the dam may occur at this time. You may notice your American Bully being more moody or affectionate than usual.
As your pregnant American Bulldog reaches days 15 to 21, the process of implantation should be completed, and the embryos start to develop.
This is also the time when changes due to pregnancy hormones start to really show.
Physical and behavioral changes also become more apparent at this point, such as changes in appetite, reduced activity level, slightly enlarged breasts, rosier or flushed nipple color, and a more grumpy or clingy temperament.
During days 22 to 28 of gestation, the fetuses can be felt in the uterine horns through palpation. Expect that these fetuses have started developing spinal cords and growing facial features.
The pregnant American Bully’s uterus will also begin to fill with fluids to protect the fetus at this stage. By the 25th day, the heartbeats of these fetuses can be detected by ultrasound.
Further, watch out for an increase in your pregnant dog’s appetite during this stage. You might need to adjust its diet to match its needs.
By week five, the American Bully’s tummy becomes more swollen, making pregnancy more obvious. Further, expect an increase in your dog’s weight due to heightened appetite driven by its hormones.
Feeding your American Bully smaller and more frequent meals might be needed to manage its abdomen space better.
In this stage, the fetuses start to take the shape of puppies – they develop sex organs and toes, and their legs extend.
On days 36 to 42 of the gestation period, your pregnant American Bully will show more behavioral changes, such as laziness, moodiness, and discomfort.
They may also discharge clear fluid from the vulva and occasionally vomit, which is normal.
During this time, it would help to be sensitive about their physical needs and give them the space they want, as needed.
The pups grow even further and begin to have pigmentation at this stage. Their facial features also start to take form. The eyes remain sealed, though, until approximately ten days after birth.
With a larger and firmer belly on days 43 to 49, the American Bully experiences more discomfort, making it more emotional and clingy.
The normal clear discharge will also continue, but your dog should be able to clean itself quickly.
This is also the week when your puppies become well-developed. They will be big enough for you to notice their movements as you touch your dam’s abdomen.
The breasts of your dog will also be more swollen as it starts to produce colostrum.
As the puppies grow even larger in the eighth week of pregnancy, they would be pressing against your dog’s stomach and other organs, making it even more uncomfortable for your mother dog. Expect them to be lethargic during this period.
Your pregnant American Bully might have a big decrease in appetite since eating might be challenging, so just keep food available as needed. Give plenty of water as well for your dog’s hydration.
Having an x-ray taken on day 55 should also help you prepare for any eventualities of the birth of the puppies.
It gives you a sense of how many puppies to expect, their positions, and if they might be too big for normal delivery.
Further, make sure that a whelping box is prepared for your dam as it begins its nesting behavior.
This is your American Bully’s final week of pregnancy, and it needs to be monitored very closely, especially for signs of labor.
Your dog must also be provided with a stress-free environment for it to feel safe in delivering the puppies.
Part of rigid monitoring for signs of labor should include taking your dog’s rectal temperature at least 12 hours apart.
The normal temperature in dogs is 100 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it drops to 97 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, it indicates that your mother dog will start going into labor in the next 24 hours.
Other signs that your dog is near labor would be milk production, digging, and loss of appetite.
Meanwhile, here is a video that will show you what a pregnant American Bully looks like week by week:
American Bully Pregnancy Signs
After mating your American Bully, you might already be watching out for signs that your dog has successfully become pregnant.
This section should help you identify what to observe closely in your dog, no matter the stage of gestation.
Here is a list of signs indicating pregnancy in your American Bully.
1. Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is one of the earliest signs that will determine an American Bully’s pregnancy.
Similar to humans, they experience nausea and vomiting due to hormonal changes but should taper down after the first few weeks.
2. Changes in Appetite
During the entire course of your American Bully’s pregnancy, you will encounter shifts in the dog’s appetite depending on the stage of gestation it is at.
In the early stages, it would have reduced appetite as an effect of its morning sickness.
Towards the second half of pregnancy, the surge in hormones will leave your dog feeling very hungry, and it will tend to eat voraciously as a result.
It is acceptable to increase the amount of food to give them at this stage to meet their satiety level.
However, as the mother dog approaches the last couple of weeks of pregnancy, expect a very poor appetite driven by the discomfort it feels, especially with its enlarged abdomen.
3. Weight Gain
As the puppies develop inside the womb of your pregnant American Bully, expect a healthy and natural increase in its overall body weight.
For the second half, expect a weight gain of as much as 20% to 50% of its ideal weight.
4. Swollen Breasts and Nipples
By the third week of your American Bully’s pregnancy, the milk glands start to develop underneath the nipples, making them appear larger.
They will also change in color from pinkish-gray to a more flushed, rosy color due to increased blood flow.
The breasts become even more engorged and rounded towards the last week of pregnancy as milk is already produced and ready for puppy feeding.
On top of this, the nipples also tend to become more sensitive, so avoid pressing too hard.
5. Enlarged Belly
An American Bully’s tummy starts to bulk by the fourth week of pregnancy. Naturally, as the pups inside start to develop, the mother dog’s abdomen becomes even larger and more rounded, as well as its waist.
Further, the area around the stomach becomes firmer as the pups grow bigger, and by the 50th day, one can even feel the puppies’ movements as you touch its belly.
6. Vaginal Discharge
A clear or light pink discharge from the vulva of your American Bully is a good indication of pregnancy, especially in the sixth and seventh weeks of gestation. This is also perfectly healthy, so you should not worry.
However, if the discharge is dark or contains blood or pus, please bring your dog to the veterinarian immediately as that is an indication that something is wrong.
7. Easily Exhausted
Due to the tremendous amount of hormonal and physical changes in the pregnant dog’s body, it may not have enough energy left anymore for its other daily activities.
In this case, they quickly get tired, and sometimes even to the point of being lethargic. Giving them a good resting spot, a stress-free environment, and high-quality dog food should aid their energy recovery.
8. Nesting Behavior
Digging, scratching, pacing, and burrowing, especially in small and dark places, are good indicators of a dog’s pregnancy, especially as it approaches the latter weeks of its gestation period.
9. Behavioral Changes
Hormones play a large part in the behavioral changes seen in pregnant American Bullies.
These may vary for each dog but would mostly be aberrations from their usual temperaments or a heightened display of regular behavior.
Your aloof dog might become unusually affectionate or clingy, and a sweet pooch might suddenly become irritable or moody.
They also tend to be more sensitive to their surroundings and more suspicious of strangers due to maternal instincts.
American Bully Stages of Labor
As you observe a sudden drop in the temperature of your American Bully, you now need to prepare for your dog heading into labor.
Here are the three labor stages your pregnant American Bully is expected to undergo.
Labor Stage I
When your American Bully is not touching its food anymore and is already exhibiting nesting behavior, such as panting, pacing, digging, scratching, and burrowing, then your dog has entered the first stage of labor.
During this stage, they tend to be restless and will try to drag clothes to their whelping box. Your dog will also have minor contractions that may not be visible to you. This usually lasts 6 to 12 hours.
Labor Stage II
As your dog’s cervix becomes completely dilated and visible contractions happen, leading to the delivery of puppies, labor stage II is in place.
You may observe heavy panting from your American Bully as they also begin to strain.
Expect the first puppy to be delivered 1 to 2 hours from the start of the heavy contractions and straining. The puppy will be enveloped in the amniotic sac when expelled.
After the delivery of a puppy, they may enter a resting period of up to 4 hours before they begin contracting again to expel the next puppy.
Labor Stage III
Once a puppy has been successfully delivered, the American Bully mother will also expel the placenta or “afterbirth” about 5 to 15 minutes after. This is the third labor stage.
The mother dog usually eats the placenta, along with the sac. If they don’t, remove these accordingly to keep the dam’s environment as clean as possible while in labor.
All placentas are expected to be expelled after all the pups have been delivered.
It is best to bring your dam to a vet once all expected pups are delivered to ensure that all puppies and placentas have been expelled successfully and avoid the risk of infection.
Caring for a Pregnant American Bully
Your pregnant American Bully must be given the best care possible throughout the entire gestation period.
This gives your dog a higher chance of having a successful delivery and producing healthier puppies.
To start, seek the guidance of your veterinarian through the entire process, from the point of mating down to the assurance that whelping has been completed.
Having regular vet visits should help avoid issues from happening during gestation.
As part of these visits, your American Bully should also receive proper vaccination and deworming at the right time in the breeding process.
This ensures that the pups are also protected from parasites, worms, and fatal illnesses.
Further, you must provide the best nutrition for your dam throughout its pregnancy.
As the dog reaches the last five weeks, small, frequent meals are recommended as they are bound to consume 35% to 50% more than their regular intake.
The right amount of exercise, especially during the last five weeks, is also beneficial in making labor easier by strengthening your dog’s muscles, aiding its contractions, and giving it the endurance to survive this phase.
Lastly, providing your dog with attention and love as it endures this challenging stage should help ease its anxieties.
Keeping its environment as stress-free as possible should translate to healthy and vibrant pups.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Puppies Do American Bullies Have?
The average litter size of an American Bully is around 4 to 8 puppies. This can vary depending on the number of eggs successfully fertilized in the dam.
Other factors influencing litter size are health, nutrition, age, and environment.
How Long Do American Bullies Stay in Labor?
It is difficult to precisely determine how long American Bullies stay in labor since it may last from just a few minutes to several hours.
It also depends on factors, such as the strength of a dam’s contractions and the position of pups.
However, if your pregnant dog is unable to deliver a pup after 24 to 36 hours from labor stage I, or 2 to 4 hours from labor stage II, it is best to take it to the veterinarian immediately as there could be an underlying issue.
Can Pocket Bullies Give Birth Naturally?
Pocket bullies can give birth naturally, but it will be very tiring since the process may take several days.
It is best to choose a stud that is smaller than the female dog to increase the chances of successful natural delivery for this type of Bully.
Does My American Bully Need a C-Section?
The American Bully is a loving and confident dog, and having a litter of American Bully puppies should be an exciting experience.
However, the entire gestation process can also be stressful for both the owner and the dog.
Nonetheless, so long as you are guided closely by your veterinarian, familiarize yourself with the entire process, and provide the right care, nutrition, and environment to your dog, you are a step ahead of successful breeding.
We hope to see cute American Bully puppies from you soon as you successfully breeze through its pregnancy stages. Please comment about your experience below!