When Can You Feel Puppies Move in a Pregnant Dog?

when can you feel puppies move in pregnant dog

When your dog is expecting puppies, you could be one of those owners who won’t be able to help themselves. You know, the ones who want to try to feel the puppies moving about in her stomach. Not only is this an amazing aspect of nature that I don’t blame you for wanting to experience, but it’s also going to put your mind at rest if you have concerns over the unborn pups’ health. 

But when you can start to feel puppies move, how many weeks of pregnancy will they be moving the most, and how long will you then have to wait until birth?

In this guide you can find some typical guidelines to when you can feel puppies move in your pregnant dog.

When can you feel puppies move in pregnant dog? After 5 weeks of pregnancy, vets can palpate a dog’s abdomen to feel for puppies moving. For owners, it’s usually at around 6 weeks onwards that they can feel the puppies, and then at 7 weeks you might even see them move under the skin.

Stages of puppy movement in your pregnant dog’s stomach

During the first 3 weeks of pregnancy (21 days) there will be no movement of the puppies. In fact, you might not even know your dog is pregnant at this point. The potential signs of pregnancy include:

  • Has her appetite decreased? Does she appear to have gone off her food?
  • Is she acting more tired and not as active as usual?
  • Have her nipples grown? If yes, she could be pregnant.
  • Can you see any increase in belly size? This can happen as quickly as 2 weeks.

So, at what stage can you feel puppies move then? 

Can you feel puppies at 3 weeks pregnant?

It’s very unlikely that you will be able feel puppies in your pregnant dog’s stomach at the 21 days point. At this point they might only be between 5 to 10 mm in length. This is far too small to be able to detect by movement in your dog’s belly.

Vets can detect puppies at 3 weeks though by using an ultrasound device. This is a safe test, and just like the same type of technology that humans use to see unborn babies in the womb. It uses sound waves that then create a digital image of the dog’s womb.

Can you feel puppies at 4 weeks pregnant?

At 4 weeks pregnant the tiny dog fetuses can grow in size to 14 to 15 mm in length. It is very unlikely that you will be able to feel the puppies move at 28 to 30 days.

I have read some blogs that say in very rare cases vets might be able to detect puppy movement manually, but I think is very unusual.

Can you feel puppies at 5 weeks pregnant?

After 35 days the fetuses are now starting to resemble dogs, with the growth of paws, claws, and whiskers. 5 weeks is also the point when their genital areas develop. It’s also possible for vets to use a scan to find out how many puppies your pregnant dog is expecting.

But what about the movement? Is it possible to feel puppies moving at 5 weeks of pregnancy?

Actually, you might, as at 5 weeks vets can feel your dog’s stomach to see if they can detect puppies. They will be very small though, being as big as a golf ball in some case, or as a tiny as a grape in smaller dog breeds.

Can you feel puppies at 6 weeks pregnant?

Generally speaking, the period of 42 days onwards is the most common time that owners are able to feel puppies move in their pregnant dog. The puppies can grow to 45 mm long and might even weigh 6 grams at this point.

As your dog walks, her belly will sway with the weight of the puppies, and when she lies down you might not only be able to feel the puppies move.

You can even use a stethoscope to hear feint heartbeats in the dog’s womb.

Can you feel puppies at 7 weeks pregnant?

After 49 or 50 days, as well as feeling the puppies move in your dog’s belly, you might even be able to see them move around under the skin when the mother is resting.

She is now not far off delivering her puppies, and you will continue to see them move as the mother gets closer to her delivery date in the 9th week.

Handy Hint: Did you know that female dogs can have between 6 and 12 nipples, and sometimes even odd numbered nipples?

How far along is my dog if I can feel the puppies? 

Some vets will be able to manually detect puppies by feel as early as 5 weeks into the pregnancy. 

How long after feeling puppies will they be born?

There is no accurate answer for this question, because all dogs are different. With a larger breed you might be able to feel the puppies in her stomach as early as 5 weeks, meaning she is 4 weeks from delivery.

Do puppies move a lot before birth?

The closer to the delivery date, more movement there will be. However, they won’t always be moving, and there will be periods of inactivity.

Then between 6 and 24 hours before birth, the puppies will start to get into position in the womb, in preparation to move through the birth canal.

Can you always feel puppies in a pregnant dog?

No, you can’t. Some dogs will have very tight stomachs where nothing can be seen or felt. Providing you have regular checks with your vet to take scans, don’t worry if you never feel or see the puppies moving – it’s doesn’t’ happen with all dogs.

How do I know if my dog still has puppies inside her?

If you don’t know how many puppies your dog is expecting, you might not be certain that she has finished delivering. According to the Cuteness.com website there are some ways you can check if she still has puppies inside her:

  1. Gently apply pressure to the outside of her abdomen to see if you can feel any puppies inside the womb.
  2. Check for placentas as there should be one for each puppy outside of the mother.
  3. If she pushes and strains for longer than 60 minutes it could mean there is a puppy stuck inside her still.

How do you palpate a pregnant dog?

Palpation is the act of touching the dog’s body to check for puppies. You can palpate a pregnant dog yourself, but please watch this video first so you know how to do it safely.


You dog’s pregnancy is a hugely exciting time, and hopefully will go without a hitch. It’s important to have the support of a vet to do tests, check the puppies, and ensure all is well before birth. Be aware though, that not all pregnant dogs will show puppies moving so don’t be alarmed if they aren’t as visible as you hoped.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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