Towards the end of your dog's pregnancy, the vet will likely be able to feel the mother's belly or take an X-ray to determine an “exact number of puppies in their belly” (although it can be easy to miss one of the puppies, so you'll never know for sure until the little wiggles start to come out). If you really want to know how many puppies your dog can have, your safest bet is to have a veterinarian give the expectant mother an ultrasound. Usually, these scans can offer reliable numbers. Her bulging tummy can't reveal too much from the outside, after all.
A veterinarian can look for babies after a certain point in gestation, but don't try it yourself. A veterinarian can use the x-ray to count the number of skulls he sees in the uterus and can give you an estimate of the number of puppies. The best way to assess litter size is by radiography. This requires that the puppies' skeletons have been mineralized, so that they are visible on an X-ray.
This mineralization process begins around 45 days of gestation. However, this method is not 100 percent accurate, since skeletons may be sitting on top of each other, making it a bit difficult to count. However, this is the best method, since skulls can be easily counted once prey approaches delivery. A parent or pet breeder can choose their breed, raise them at the optimal time, and feed them highly nutritious meals throughout the year.
But they can't determine the size of the litter, that depends on Mother Nature. The amount a dog breeding business can earn depends on the quality of its dogs and the number of litters it breeds in a year. Larger litters will most likely occur when the male dog is less than 5 years old, since it is easier for sperm to enter the female's eggs and most sperm are of higher quality. In general, large dogs have larger litters because, biologically, they can safely carry more puppies.
When a dog has its first litter, it will have fewer puppies than when it grows up a little and has litters later. You can't put two parents who produced large litters before and expect the puppies to also produce large litters two years later. Let's say that for your breed the average litter size is between 8 and 12 puppies, some breeders want to help their mother reach 11, 12 or even 13 puppies. Usually, the size of a dog litter is mainly based on the size of the dog's body simply because biologically, larger bodies are capable of carrying a larger litter than smaller bodies.
Make sure your dog is the right weight and eats the right food to increase your chances of having a larger litter. Another benefit of a late x-ray is to delay the amount of radiation puppies are exposed to when they are extremely underdeveloped. If a dog and her babies together were producing babies, they could have up to 67,000 puppies in a matter of 6 years. According to the American Kennel Club, dog mothers give birth to larger litters in spring and smaller litters in summer.
The only precise way to know how many puppies your dog will have is through your veterinarian, who can estimate the size of the little one through palpation, ultrasound or x-rays. You also need an idea of the number of puppies because it determines if your dog will be able to have a home birth or if a veterinarian needs to intervene. If the average litter size is six to seven puppies, this means you could have between 18 and 21 puppies in a year. Determining litter size can help breeders know if the mother dog has given birth to all puppies and recognize early signs of possible complications, such as large puppies that may be difficult to transmit.