As the proud owner of a female American Bully, you’re eager to watch her give birth to and raise her pups.
American Bully pregnancy is relatively uncomplicated compared to some breeds, but as with any pregnancy, Mom needs a little extra care and careful monitoring.
In this article, we’ll answer your questions about American Bully pregnancy. How long are American Bullies pregnant for? How can you help your pregnant American Bully? What should you do and what should you avoid?
Let’s explore the answers to these questions and more! We’re looking forward to hearing about your experience as an American Bully “grandparent,” so follow our tips for a successful pregnancy and whelping.
How Long Is An American Bully Pregnant For?
Like other dog breeds, American Bully pregnancy lasts about 63 days from the time of conception. However, this is only a guideline, and determining just when conception happened isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
Dog breeders often adopt a very scientific approach, using vaginal smears and blood tests to measure hormone levels to determine the ideal time for breeding and when to expect the puppies’ arrival.
However, even this approach won’t really give you exact answers. Instead, you’ll get a good estimate and nothing more.
Nature takes its course in its own way, but you can estimate arrival times within a two to four day window, especially if you get help from your veterinarian.
American Bully Pregnancy Stages
During the first week of pregnancy, you won’t see any external signs of your Bully mom-to-be’s pregnancy. Fertilization of the eggs has just taken place, provided all goes well.
Although you may know that the dam has been covered, you still can’t be sure that a pregnancy will result from the event.
To increase your chances of successful fertilization of your Bully’s eggs, keep your Bully in a calm, relaxed environment and don’t vary her routine significantly or allow her to become over excited about anything. Any form of stress may reduce the chances of a pregnancy.
Week 2 & 3
During the second week of her pregnancy, the fertilized eggs become attached to the lining of the uterus where they will continue to develop until birth.
Hormonal changes start to occur, and you might notice that your female Bully is experiencing “mood swings.”
Fortunately, American Bullies are good-natured animals, so these often manifest themselves as an inclination towards being a little more affectionate than she already was.
In the third week of her pregnancy, implantation of the fetuses is completed and the puppies start to grow and develop in your dog’s womb.
Pregnancy hormones kick into overdrive, and you’ll start noticing more marked behavioral changes as well as physical ones.
Mommy Bully may start getting a little lazy, and you might notice changes in the nipples and breasts. She might be a bit grumpy now, or she’ll start coming to you for even more love than she wanted before.
By the time your pregnant Bully reaches week 4, your vet can feel the developing puppies when palpating the abdomen.
They’re sitting snugly in the uterine horns and they’re already starting to look a bit like the pups they will soon become. Their spinal cords are there, and they’re even developing faces!
To protect her growing babies, Bully’s uterus will start filling with fluids that cushion them from harm, and by day 25, an ultrasound will pick up the puppies’ tiny heartbeats.
While Bully Mom may seem unconcerned, you’ll be feeling excited! However, do remember that American Bullies are prone to “false pregnancy” so this is a good time to visit a vet to confirm a possible pregnancy.
As for mommy Bully, she’s going to start getting really hungry from here on in, and it’s time to start adjusting her diet since she’s definitely not just feeding herself when she tucks into her meals.
Needless to say, she will start gaining weight, but it’s definitely not fat!
Week 5 & 6
This is the time when even less-attentive pet parents realize that their American Bully is pregnant. Her tummy starts to swell, and that appetite is way more intense than it normally would be.
Because her actual digestive system doesn’t get any bigger despite needing more food, consider giving your bully smaller, more frequent meals or else simply “free feed” by ensuring that her bowl always has food in it.
But what’s happening to those pups? By now, they’ll start developing their gender, and their little legs start to get longer. They’ll even start developing pigmentation that will later determine their fur color.
Meanwhile Mommy Bully might start feeling a little uncomfortable, and she may get a bit lazy and cranky. You might also notice some clear discharge from her vulva and that’s perfectly normal.
So is a little nausea and vomiting, but if it gets extreme, or if the discharge is off-color, do consult your vet. Give your Momma Bully a bit of extra love and understanding. She needs it!
By now, your sweet lady Bully is getting kinda big around the tummy and it’s firm to the touch. She’ll definitely be feeling it, and she’ll be somewhat uncomfortable.
More than ever, she needs your love and sympathy, and she’s sure to ask for it. You’ll notice that she’s still producing a clear discharge – at least, if you’re alert to it. She cleans herself up pretty fast like the good lady she is!
Here’s the fun thing! The rapidly-developing puppies start moving about, and feeling Mom’s tummy will allow you to feel their movements.
Since they’re approaching the time for birth, Momma Bully starts to produce colostrum, and her breasts become even more swollen in the process.
The big day draws near! Poor Momma dog has a tummy that’s so full of pups that eating is a challenge, but she’s still hungry. So if you weren’t free-feeding before, now is the time to start.
As always, her water bowl should be charged up with fresh water, but now, it’s even more important that she’s able to access her liquids at will.
She’s really feeling heavy now, so she won’t be as eager to move about, run or play. If she’s lazy, don’t worry too much. Just let her take it easy.
It’s also time for a vet checkup. How many puppies are on the way? Is there a chance of a difficult birth? An ultrasound is first prize, but if there’s no alternative, an x-ray will help you to get an idea of what to expect from the birth.
Momma Bully is going to look for a birthing site soon. She might like a whelping box, but be ready for her to choose an alternative site and be willing to accept her choice, even if that’s the bottom of your wardrobe!
Her time is drawing near. Now’s the time to keep a close eye on your American Bully. She’ll need a safe, quiet place to give birth, and you can monitor her rectal temperature to help you determine when the happy event will take place. Check every 12 hours.
A temperature of 100 to 101 fahrenheit means she’s not ready just yet. At 97 degrees, you know that she’ll give birth within the next 24 hours. Chances are, she won’t have much appetite, and she might even try to dig a den.
Watch her closely and be present to witness the birth process and call for help if things don’t seem to be going smoothly.
American Bully Pregnancy Signs
1. Behavioral Changes
To recap, when your Bully Momma gets pregnant, she’s likely to start out by being a little more affectionate and clingy than normal.
She may also seem more lethargic, especially as her pregnancy progresses, and she’s likely to get a bit grumpy as her belly gets bigger and she starts feeling uncomfortable.
As birth nears, you’ll notice that she’s looking for a “nest” in which to give birth. You can try providing her with a comfortable spot, but ultimately, the choice will be hers.
After all, Momma knows best! If she seems to be trying to dig out a den outdoors, bring her indoors and keep her there. You really don’t want to try monitoring an outdoor birth, and a clean space will be better for her and her puppies.
2. Changes in Appetite
In the early stages of pregnancy, your Bully may have morning sickness. She may have reduced appetite and might even throw up.
If this persists or seems acute, consult your veterinarian. As she settles into her pregnancy, she will need more food. Provide this through free-feeding in which there is always food available, or by offering more frequent meals.
As the puppies grow, they start applying pressure on her organs, and she’s less able to eat a full serving at once.
Add to that the need for more nutrition, and free feeding, making food available at all times, will help your mom-to-be Bully.
In the lead-up to birth, her appetite is likely to decrease, and she may become prone to nausea or even vomit. Once again, call your veterinarian if she seems unwell enough to give you cause for concern.
3. Enlarged Or Discolored Nipples
During the first month of her pregnancy, you will notice a slight enlargement of the pregnant Bully’s nipples.
As her pregnancy progresses, changes to her nipples and swelling of the “breasts” around them become more pronounced. She may feel uncomfortable if you apply light pressure in this area.
Even in the early stages of pregnancy, her nipples may begin to change color, becoming redder or darker than they normally are.
By week seven. You will notice increased swelling of the breasts and there may be some discharge, especially when you gently rub her tummy.
4. Weight Gain & Enlarged Abdomen
With all those puppies developing inside her, it comes as no surprise that your American Bully mom gains weight. It’s not a cause for alarm, and you should definitely not decrease feeding.
Let her eat as much as she likes. Momma knows best! Weight gain is among the early signs of pregnancy, and it will keep on snowballing as the puppies develop.
As a guideline, expect a weight increase in the region of ten percent during the first half of her pregnancy.
During the second half of her pregnancy, it’s normal for your American Bully to weigh 20 to 50 percent more than her normal ideal weight. Does her tummy look big? It certainly should! After all, there are lots of puppies in there!
How Can You Confirm Your American Bully Is Pregnant?
Ultrasound is another way to get early detection of pregnancy in American Bullies. Within 20 to 22 days, there’s a good chance that ultrasound will help you to determine whether your American Bully is pregnant.
However, this method is more effective after 30 days. Don’t expect an accurate puppy count just yet.
At best, you’ll get an estimate, but you can use ultrasound to answer your most pressing question: “Is my American Bully pregnant or not?” Ultrasound can’t hurt the puppies, so it’s a great way to determine whether you should prepare to become a puppy grandparent.
As we’ve already noted, American Bullies are somewhat prone to “false” pregnancy. How can you confirm whether she’s expecting a family of pups? Involve your veterinarian in the process from the start, by getting official confirmation of her pregnancy.
Within 22 days of conception, your veterinarian can use a blood test to confirm pregnancy.
But since you’re unlikely to know the exact conception date, even if you know when your Bully was covered, you should repeat a negative test within seven days to confirm its results.
“Palpitation” means using the sense of touch to feel for the presence of developing puppies.
This method is only effective after 28 days. A qualified veterinarian will be able to feel the growing pups by gently palpitating the mom’s belly.
He or she won’t be able to tell you exactly how many pups there are, but it will be possible to confirm pregnancy, and since you can expect your pregnant American Bully to give birth to between 4 and 8 pups, it will at least prepare you for the process that is to follow.
Caring For A Pregnant American Bully
A pregnant American Bully will need a little extra care and patience. She won’t be as keen on strenuous exercise, she will need extra food, and you should monitor her carefully for signs that all is not well with her.
Although she will initially want to eat more than normal, and will gain weight, she will be less keen on eating in the last days leading up to the birth of her pups.
She’ll also be a bit moody during her pregnancy, although her naturally positive personality means that she’s most likely to ask for extra attention.
At times, though, she’ll need some space, so use your natural intuition and her behavior to determine just what she needs at any given time. Do expect her to pee more frequently and be willing to excuse the occasional “accident.”
How Do American Bullies Give Birth?
In most cases, American Bullies are perfectly well able to give birth naturally. However, you should be on hand to intervene or call for help if things start going wrong.
Unfortunately, you can expect a pup or two to be still-born. Eight percent of puppies are stillborn or die within the first week after birth.
It’s simply nature’s way, and although it may seem brutal, there’s nothing much you can do to prevent this.
The natural birth process should be over within 6 hours, while 24 hours is the maximum amount of time for a natural and uncomplicated birth process to complete itself. If your dog is in labor for four hours with no pup being born, you should seek assistance.
C-sections aren’t ordinarily required for American Bullies. Nevertheless, it’s good to take your dog for a sonar in the final stages of her pregnancy.
This will help vets to determine whether the birth process is likely to be complicated, and a C-section is called for.
If your vet is happy to allow your dog to give birth naturally, get an emergency number that you can call if things don’t seem to be going as well as expected.
If a C-section is required, don’t worry too much. The operation will save your bitch a great deal of suffering and avoid the risks of a complicated birthing as indicated by a prenatal examination.
How Many Puppies Do American Bullies Have?
On average, American bullies will give birth to 4 to 8 puppies. Most American Bully females give birth to 4 to 6 puppies at a time, but you could end up with as many as ten!
The bigger the litter, the more likely it is for there to be a fatality during birth or in the week following birth. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad pet parent if there is one! Sad though it may be, there’s only so much you can do to help nature along.
If the dam is in labor for more than 6 hours with no puppies arriving, it’s best to call for help since this could limit whelping fatalities.
Research has shown that mortality is higher in puppies delivered by C-section. As a result, don’t choose this option unless your veterinarian thinks it’s a necessity.
As a comparatively new breed, American Bullies have few genetic weaknesses, and unlike some of the more “cultivated” breeds, they’re more likely to be able to give birth to healthy puppies naturally.
Being a good pet parent to an American Bully mainly means having her checked out during pregnancy, taking extra care of her, and being alert and present during whelping.
There’s a very good chance that everything will go smoothly, and that you’ll end up with a charming litter of pups.
With the popularity of this breed, you can pick and choose which homes they ultimately go to. However, don’t expect breeding your Bully to be profitable.
Despite the high prices you can charge for American Bully pups, veterinary care, extra food, and your own time investment, amount to a great deal of time and money spent, so only embark on this process as a labor of love – not a profitable venture.