Dog Pregnancy Care
Dogs Pregnancy: If your dog is pregnant, then you must be really excited as you are going to have cute little puppies very soon. As beautiful as it seems, caring for a pregnant dog in the proper way is very essential.
Unlike humans, you need to be extremely cautious with a pregnant dog as she may not understand her situation. It is totally your responsibility to make sure she eats the right food and is in a safe environment with zero chances of accidentally injuring herself in any way.
Is she pregnant?
Of course, you will wonder how you are supposed to answer this question. She is not going to walk up to you like a human and declare she is pregnant. Especially if this is your first experience with a pregnant dog, then you must have a million questions and doubts.
Signs to look out for
To tell if your dog is pregnant, you need to look out for these signs after the mating period.
- Abdomen size
It takes almost four weeks, which is half the gestation period for the abdomen size to increase significantly for you to notice. Though this seems like the easiest way, your dog might lose the care required for the first month. So in addition to this, you need to keep looking out for other signs as well.
However, you can keep a check on the abdomen size to know she is progressing correctly.
- Nipple changes
Around 20-25 days after pregnancy, you can notice that her teats are swollen. Sometimes, there might be a milky discharge as well.
Approximately after a month of gestation, your dog will produce vaginal discharge.
During gestation, the dog undergoes several hormonal changes similar to all mammals. This might cause certain noticeable changes in her behavior. If your dog is usually very active, you might notice that she has become lethargic or lazy most of the time. Activities that previously interested her might not have the same effect anymore.
There can be either an increase or loss of appetite. In the case of the latter, it might suggest complications and it is best to get her checked immediately.
Of course, you can also check in with your vet to confirm the pregnancy. Through ultrasounds or blood tests, the pregnancy can be confirmed.
You will be surprised to know that the gestation period for dogs is quite short. It lasts usually for two months, with an average of 63 days.
Though two months seem easy to handle, you need to know that your dog goes through rapid changes within this time span and you need to be ready for each stage.
While your dog is in the gestation and lactation phase, it is advisable to avoid raw food. Also, do not give her any vitamin supplements without the advice of the vet.
If your dog has a good weight, then you can continue with the same diet and gradually increase it by 50% more during the last five weeks. This is because the puppies start developing rapidly after the fourth week and you need to ensure the mother has a suitable intake.
It is advisable to include puppy food in her diet as it has all the required nutrients that the puppies need for growth.
If your dog seems active even during pregnancy, it is best to limit her space for movement. Make sure she has enough space to walk around but not run as it might cause unnecessary complications.
You can take her for regular walks.
Visiting the Vet
You will need to take your dog for regular check-ups to the vet to make sure the pregnancy is going smoothly. By the end of the first month, the vet can detect the heartbeats and also tell you the number of puppies.
Remember that it is not advisable to vaccinate your dog during gestation. Vaccination and deworming must be ideally done before the mating phase. In case you haven’t done it, consult your vet for other alternatives.
Getting ready for Birth
There are two ways to go about the final stage. Either delivering the puppies yourself or hiring an expert to take care of it. In the case of the latter, the expert will let you know in advance about all his requirements that you must take care of.
In case you are doing yourself, here’s what you have to do.
- You will have to prepare a whelping box where the dog can give birth. Make sure this ‘nest’ is spacious enough to accommodate the mother and her newborns.
- The whelping box must be located in a safe space that is undisturbed. This is because the mother and the newborns will need a suitable environment to rest.
- Make sure the box is lined with newspapers or suitable bedding so that it is easier for you to clean up after birth.
The first sign of delivery is when there is a dark green discharge from your dog which happens when the placenta is detached. After this contractions begin and your dog might urinate frequently. You can expect the puppies to come out within an hour after this.
In case you feel there is a complication and observe unusual behavior from your dog, contact your vet immediately.
Make sure you have a scissors handy to cut off the umbilical cord and clean towels to wipe the puppies.
Wash the entire area and replace it with new sheets.
Look out for Complications
Dogs can take care of the delivery process by themselves and your involvement is ideally not required. However, if you notice these complications, call immediately for your vet.
- No sign of a puppy even after 45 minutes of contractions.
- More than two hours between the birth of each puppy.
- In case the mother does not remove the amniotic membrane, make sure you do it as the puppies can suffocate without oxygen.
- If the mother collapses or starts shivering.
- In case the dog does not go into labor even after 64 days of pregnancy.
Birth is a beautiful phenomenon and bringing in new puppies to the world is definitely a memorable experience. Make sure you are thoroughly equipped to face each stage and it is always better to have someone assist you in case it’s the first time for you.