Shih Tzu Pregnancy Length: What Does It Look Like?

Pregnancy can be stressful for anyone, and female dogs are no exception. A Shih Tzu, for example, goes through a lot of changes during the short time she’s pregnant.

shih tzu pregnancy length

So, if you have a pregnant Shih Tzu on your hands, this guide is for you! We’ll tell you all about a Shih Tzu pregnancy length and explain what happens in every stage.

Let’s get to it!

How Long Is a Shih Tzu Pregnant?

For starters, any dog doesn’t get immediately pregnant after mating. Typically, it takes a couple of days or more before you can know for sure that your Shih Tzu is carrying puppies. (Robertson, 2021)

This goes back to the fact that sperm can survive inside a female dog for several days before reaching the ovum. On the other hand, the eggs can stay fertile for at least two days. In other words, it’s pretty difficult to ascertain when a dog pregnancy exactly starts. (Robertson, 2021)

With that in mind, once fertilization is successful, a female Shih Tzu won’t be pregnant for too long. A typical Shih Tzu pregnancy length lasts from 56 to 63 days. This period may exceed a few more days, depending on when the pregnancy started. (White, 2021)

Often the pregnancy period is referred to as the gestational stage and lasts for the same amount of time (almost 63 days). During this time, your Shih Tzu will require a lot of pre and post-gestational care. (Health, 2021)

What Does a Shih Tzu Pregnancy Look Like?

A Shih Tzu pregnancy is pretty short-timed, so you don’t get to stress over it for too long. Plus, you’re in for a couple of cute Shi Tzus in the end!

This section will take you through the nine stages of a Shih Tzu pregnancy, what happens in each one, and what you need to do as a caretaker.

Week 1

In the first seven days, egg fertilization is still happening in the uterine line of a female Shih Tzu. During this process, the ovum splits and slowly moves to the uterus, where it stations itself. (Jones, 2022)

Week one of a Shih Tzu pregnancy isn’t the hardest, but you’ll notice that your dog is sleeping more often and appears more distressed than usual. It’s recommended that you don’t try to change anything in your pet’s routine at this time. (White, 2021)

It’s also just as important not to adjust a Shih Tzu’s diet or exercise regime. She still needs to go on daily walks plus get enough food and sleep. Your pregnant pet may experience some puking and pink vaginal discharge, which are normal in this stage. (White, 2021)

Week 2

The second week is more or less the same as the first one. During those seven days, the yolk case of the ovum starts forming a placenta. This sac is where the puppies will hopefully begin to form. (Robertson, 2021)

You may realize that your Shih Tzu’s inner biology has shifted as she’ll begin undergoing many noticeable changes. For example, her mammary glands will enlarge and become harder as time passes. (Health, 2021)

Similar to the first week, you shouldn’t alter much in your Shih Tzu’s day-to-day. It would help if you only kept in mind not to over-exercise her. Otherwise, you’ll increase her risk of getting a miscarriage. You could add more protein-packed food to her diet, such as chicken breasts. (White, 2021)

shih tzu pregnancy signs

Week 3

By now, your new puppies are finally beginning to take on their shape in the womb. They’re around one centimeter long, but they still haven’t become dogs just yet. The one significant change you’ll note in this stage is your Shih Tzu’s increased appetite. (Aaron, 2020)

Not only that, but the central nervous system begins to form as well. Since the puppies’ legs, paws, and arms are growing into a recognizable shape, the mother needs healthy food. Her diet should be rich in minerals, vitamins, and protein. (White, 2021)

Fun fact, you can quickly feel the outline of the embryos in the soft belly of your Shih Tzu in week three. Avoid over-exertion or any intense workouts since this is a sensitive time, and there’s a high possibility of miscarriage. (Aaron, 2020)

Week 4

During the end of the first pregnancy month, the puppies are double in size. They’re already growing out eyes, limbs, and tiny pup faces too. They start moving to the fetus position , making it easier for the Shih Tzu to birth them later. (Robertson, 2021)

This is the most critical week in the Shih Tzu pregnancy as the risk of miscarriage is at its highest. The mother needs a lot of rest, food, and closer attention at this stage. You’ll notice clear vaginal discharge and infrequent leaking from the nipples, but those are only signs that the puppies will be healthy! (White, 2021)

In other words, the fourth week is a sensitive time for both you and your pregnant Shih Tzu. As the brains, spinal cords, and organs develop, much stress is being put onto your puppy’s body. (Jones, 2022)

Week 5

The second month of a Shih Tzu pregnancy is when you can finally get an X-ray to know the gender of the puppies. It’s also when the babies finally start to grow out their toes and whiskers while beginning to resemble their parents. (White, 2021)

From here on out, the development of the puppies is pretty rapid. As a result, the increased appetite of your Shih Tzu will continue. You should keep giving her enough supplements and healthy meals to keep her energy up. (Aaron, 2020) – Check out this link!

Don’t worry if this leads to the Shih Tzu putting on a few extra pounds. Just like she should take 10% of her overall calorie intake in the fourth week, she needs to take around 20% of it during the fifth week. (White, 2021)

shih tzu pregnancy signs

Week 6

As a Shih Tzu approaches the end of its pregnancy, you’ll realize her daily routine begins to slow down. She may still be lapping up her food, but she’s resting more often and needs less exercise. Her nipples will get significantly darker at this time too. (Aaron, 2020) – Read more!

Your Shih Tzu is finally starting to show during this stage. As she gets bigger, she’ll be running out of energy faster. You should notice her beginning to nest during those seven days as her puppies begin to develop nails and fur patterns. (Robertson, 2021)

The nesting period is reasonably necessary for your pregnant Shih Tzu. You don’t need to force her into a particular space where she can rest until she’s in labor. In fact, most Shih Tzus like to choose for themselves where they’d like to give birth. (Allshihtzu)

Week 7

As the third month begins, the development of the puppies has reached an end. By the 58th day, they start moving downwards, so they’re near the birth canal. When this happens, the Shih Tzu’s waist appears thinner. (Burke, 2021)

When labor time approaches, you’ll need to ensure that both the Shih Tzu’s abdominal and inner muscles are strong. That’ll help the mother go through labor quickly. You just need to take her on short walks every day to achieve this. (Tenkay, 2022)

A Shih Tzu will typically lose her hair during week seven, which is a perfectly normal thing since she’s preparing her body to breastfeed. She’ll need more calcium in her diet, too as by then; the puppies will be developing their teeth and bones. (White, 2021)

Week 8

Be on the lookout for premature births during the last two weeks of pregnancy. A Shih Tzu will be at her heaviest then, and you’ll need to keep your veterinarian on hold if anything happens. (Robertson, 2021)

Regardless, you should just keep her relaxed and pause on physical activity. Keep her confined to her nesting space, making sure she’s isn’t too stressed. You’ll notice the puppies moving in her womb too. (Aaron, 2020)

Week 9

The week in which a Shih Tzu gives birth is the one where most of the work occurs. She’ll show signs of heavy breathing and restlessness, so she’ll need your presence around her to calm her down. (Burke, 2021)

The labor itself can get messy, so many owners like to put down plastic covers or old blankets for the puppies to arrive on. Once they’re out in the world, the mother will take care of cutting their umbilical cord and licking the sac off them. (Bustamante, 2021)


This guide helped you learn about a Shih Tzu’s pregnancy length and to know in detail what happens in every stage through the short time of the dog’s pregnancy.

In the end, all you need to keep in mind is not to overexert your Shih Tzu during the nine weeks when she’s with child. She’ll need more care and attention on your part, but with the proper diet, the pregnancy should go by smoothly.

References & Resources:

Aaron, M. (2020, December 29). How do I know if My Shih Tzu is pregnant? + signs & stages to look for. DoggySaurus. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Aaron, M. (2020, December 30). How long are Shih Tzus pregnant for? + pregnancy calendar days. DoggySaurus. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Allshihtzu. (n.d.). Shih Tzu Information Center: Pregnancy. Shih Tzu Information Center | Pregnancy. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Burke, A. (2021, May 3). Gestation period: How long are dogs pregnant? American Kennel Club. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Bustamante, A. (2021, August 31). Stages of a shih tzu pregnancy: Cuteness. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Health. (2021, August 19). Shih Tzu pregnancy and proper care – shih tzu time. Shih Tzu Times. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Jones, J. (2022, February 5). Shih Tzu pregnancy: What you can expect. Miracle Shih Tzu. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Robertson, E. (2021, May 29). How long are Shih Tzus pregnant for? National Canine Research Association of America. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

Tenkay, T. E. N. K. A. Y. (2022, April 20). How to take care of your pregnant Shih Tzu. PetHelpful. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

White, K. (2021, June 14). How long are Shih Tzus pregnant for? + pregnancy calendar days. PetDT. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from

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