Pregnancies are always special, and it’s no different when we’re talking about our faithful companions! Dog pregnancies also deserve to be celebrated, but some special measures should be taken to assure your buddy’s comfort and well-being. Therefore, we’ve prepared some tips for you to follow during pregnancy and when your fluffy mate is giving birth! Caring for a pregnant dog demands responsibility, but we know you’ll rise to the challenge! ?
Caring for a Pregnant Dog: Signs your Dog is Pregnant
Changes in your dog’s body and behavior usually start to be noticed 3 weeks after ovulation. Want to confirm your suspicions? Here are some signs your dog is pregnant:
- Larger appetite – eating (or asking for) snacks more frequently
- Enlarged nipples
- More attention demanded
- Clear mucoid vaginal discharge (after 4/5 weeks)
- Waist thicking (after 4/5 weeks)
Of course, you can also take your four-legged friend to a vet. Using ultrasound, they’ll be able to pick up fetal heartbeats 28 days after the gestation period starts. Alternatively, they can also carefully palpate the uterus and feel the fetuses.
? Quick fact:
- Dogs’ gestation period duration: 58 – 68 days
Caring for a Pregnant Dog: Pre-Birth
Suspicions confirmed? “Elementary, my dear Dogtson”! ? You should now adopt some special measures in order to provide your dog everything she needs. Don’t worry – we’ve already prepared your to-do list:
- Vet care:
- Vaccination (in some cases, it might not be advisable to vaccinate pregnant dogs, so contact your local vet)
- Dog deworming
- Heartworm test (avoiding heartworm microfilaria on puppies)
- Normal amount of high-quality commercial dog food (first 4 weeks)
- High-quality puppy food (5th to 6th week)
- Increase the amount a quarter (8th and 9th week)
- Go for daily walks, as they’re good low-intensity exercises
- Avoid contact with other dogs
Build/buy a whelping box ?
This is extremely useful when caring for a pregnant dog! Here are some tips for its maintenance:
- Fill the bottom with towels (do not use newspaper!)
- Change them daily
- Place the box in a zone with a pleasant climate
- Be sure the box is comfy!
Caring for a Pregnant Dog: Giving Birth
The time is now! ? Your dog has started giving birth and, if you’re lucky enough to get there on time, you may even give her a hand! Here are our tips:
- Very important: do not bath the mother, nor her puppies, or you might inadvertedly kill them! She will spontaneously clean them by licking and even… eating their poop (yuck!)… ? Nature takes care of itself! ?
- Don’t make anything that can make her anxious/nervous
- It’s normal if she feels uncomfortable during contractions
- 1 to 3 hours after they’re born, check if the puppies start nursing; if not, help them to find a nipple
- If you notice a puppy is not being nursed, take them to the vet as soon as you can – they’re most likely sick
In the end, expect your buddy to eat the placentas after she gives birth. Again, it’s normal – that’s Mother Nature in action! ?
Caring for a Pregnant Dog: After Birth
New puppies are now a part of our world, and everything went well in the aftermath of their birth. ? You should now keep an eye on them to be sure they grow safely! A few tips on what’s next:
- Check if puppies are being nursed every 2-4 hours daily
- In almost every litter, there’s a skinnier puppy who will cry a lot because they’re not being fed properly – if that’s the case, please contact your vet
- According to the American Animal Hospital Association, you should vaccinate your puppies every 3/4 weeks, between the 6th and the 16th week
- After 4 weeks, puppies will be ready to start eating solid food
- Around this time, you can also bathe your puppies with extreme caution! If you prefer, just clean them with a dry cloth or simply leave this task to their mother! ?
- After 8 weeks, they will be ready to survive without their mother
If your dog is a bit old to have another litter, or if you want to avoid her getting pregnant, please neuter her. We’d also like to raise awareness to the fact that there is currently a dog overpopulation problem in the US – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says 1,200,000 dogs are euthanized in shelters each year… ? So, if you’re looking for a new pal, please adopt a shelter dog instead of breeding, and you’ll be saving an innocent life as well as gaining an inseparable buddy! In the end, breeds don’t matter – they all love us the same way! ?
Did you find our tips on caring for a pregnant dog useful? What would you add to our community regarding this matter? Help us create a complete guide! ?