Giving birth is sure a miracle, a beautiful process of nature. Now, isn’t the idea of getting to see a bunch of tiny paws really, really, heart-melting? However, it is totally understandable that dog owners find dog pregnancy as much stressful and confusing a process as a human pregnancy. Especially, for the dog owners who are new to handling and taking care of pregnant dogs, the whole pregnancy duration might look intimidating.
One good way to keep your confusions in check is informing yourself about dog pregnancy. Let us assure that you’ll find yourself far more informed and less stressed or anxious after going through this dog pregnancy care guide.
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Detecting Dog pregnancy: Dog pregnancy signs
Before anything, you need to know the signs of a pregnant dog. It is important in two dimensions: first, you’ll be able to know when your dog is pregnant and will be able to take the necessary measures. Second, you can save all the anxiousness wondering ‘is my dog pregnant?’
So these are some signs to determine whether your dog is pregnant.
- Swollen nipples: an early sign that screams your dog is pregnant is her enlarged nipples and breasts.
- Increased appetite: If you notice your dog’s hunger is crossing her usual limits, maybe you have some puppy news in the queue.
- Lethargy: When your usually active dog is appearing all lethargic continuously, there may be many reasons behind that- maybe related to health, or maybe it is pregnancy!
- Weight gaining: an increase in weight can be obesity issue or pregnancy; either way, it’s good to get your dog diagnosed
Usually, pregnant dogs display more than two of these signs. So, look out!
If you observe the signs of pregnancy, it is a good idea to take your dog to the vet and get the news confirmed. The signs could sometimes be mistaken and a diagnostic testing with a vet is the most accurate way of confirming dog pregnancy at the earliest.
Pregnant Dog stages: Dog pregnancy signs week by week
Week 1:The eggs get fertilized by the sperms. The fertilized eggs gradually start moving towards the uterus. There would hardly be any noticeable change in your dog.
Week 2: The fertilized eggs move to the uterus and gets implanted on the walls. Your dog might start exhibiting light behavioural changes.
Week 3: The implanted embryos start developing. You might now notice more of mood swings. The mother’s nipples will start to increase in size.
Week 4: By 25-28 days, the spines and facial features will start developing. You will be able to detect foetuses though ultrasound. Mother’s breasts will enlarge and she will be hungrier.
Week 5: Tiny legs and feet develop by this week, giving the foetuses the looks of puppies. Mother’s belly will start to look a bit swollen and you might find her appetite growing.
Week 6: The puppies will keep developing at a faster rate. Mother will grow uncomfortable and may even occasionally throw up. Also, translucent fluid discharge may be expected.
Week 7: Pups would continue to develop. By this period, the dog will grow more lethargic and will be easily tired. You may even be able to feel some movements of puppies in the belly.
Week 8: Mother will start ‘nesting’, that is, she will dig or rearrange her whelping bed to make herself comfortable for delivery. By now, pups have fur and are active in the womb and would position themselves for birth.
Week 9: By the end of this week, puppies will be ready to be born and the mother will be all restless. You might see her doing stretching quite often and her appetite will cut back. Start taking her temperature measurements frequently-the temperature might drop by a degree or two just before she gives birth.
Pregnant dog food
Making sure that your pregnant dog is getting adequate nutrition is a very crucial part of caring a pregnant dog. As stated before, the dog would be feeling a greater appetite by the third week and would grow hungrier later on. It is therefore suggested to offer her smaller meals more frequently than her routine big meals. It will be appropriate to consider your vet’s opinion on your pregnant dog’s diet.
The following dog foods are recommended the most during dog pregnancies:
Royal Canin Starter:
Royal Canin is popular for manufacturing pet food ideally for specific breeds as well as for specific stages of the pet’s life. Royal Canin Starter range is particularly formulated by the brand to meet all the gestation period requirements of the mother. Along with offering lactation support, the food meets the high energy requirements of the mother during the last weeks of her pregnancy. Moreover, the formula has sufficient nutritional supplements to prevent bone and related issues as far as possible.
Arden Grange Weaning Puppy:
While it is certainly recommended as a puppy food, it is also suggested for mothers to-be dogs as well. With its balanced level of protein, fats, vitamins and supplement, this Arden Grange product ensures adequate nutritional supply to keep the mother and the pups in the womb perfectly healthy.
Pedigree mother and Pup starter:
Particularly manufactured for pregnant dogs, Pedigree Mother and Pup range is yet another reliable product for your dog’s pregnancy period and the duration post-delivery.
Pregnant Dog care & Delivery: Tips
Here is a brief of the overall caring tips for making the pregnancy all smiley-time.
- Ensure proper nutrition and adjust the diet as suggested by the vet.
- Avoid extra vitamin supplements unless prescribed by the vet.
- Take her for regular, short walks.
- Any rigorous workout should be avoided.
- Keep away from other animals and dogs to reduce the chances of the mother and the puppies getting hurt.
Final stages of dog pregnancy: getting ready for puppy delivery
Your dog is going to be pretty uncomfortable and restless by the last week. Make sure you are there, all ready for her big day. Some treats now and then might be helpful to ease her discomfort. Keep your vet’s number and the number of a nearby emergency clinic to be handy in case of any complications.
You want a really comfortable place for your dog’s whelping- so you are looking to make the whelping box all cosy, safe, private and warm. Not only will it be comfortable for your pooch, but it will be easy for you to handle the delivery and cleaning. Set up a whelping box few days before the expected delivery so your dog gets time to grow comfortable with it and even to rearrange it as she finds comfortable.
Here is the checklist for her big day:
- Thermometer for regularly checking your dog’s temperature
- Newspaper for the whelping box during delivery- it is far easy to clean up
- Non-skid bath mats for post-delivery bedding
- Clean and dry towels for cleaning the litter
- Paper towels
- Clean scissors to cut the umbilical cords
- A heating pad forkeeping the pups warm- it should be too hot
Commonly asked questions
How long are dogs pregnant?
On an average, dog pregnancy period range from 56-70 days (depending on dog breed and other factors).
Is it safe to deworm a pregnant dog?
Yes, it is safe to deworm a pregnant dog. However, different de-wormers may have different impacts. It is important to consult the vet before deworming.
What are some major pregnant dog behaviour changes?
Dog behaviour during pregnancy would not be the same as her usual behaviour. She might be all moody, relatively serious. Some dogs grow affectionate during pregnancy. Post-delivery, your dog may be much protective with all the ‘I am a mommy’ feeling, sure.
Can I walk my pregnant dog?
Yes, you can walk your pregnant dog as per her routine. However, it is better to make the walks relatively shorter and less exhausting.
How can number of puppies be determined?
The number of puppies can be estimated most accurately by ultrasound. By the fifth week, puppies become easily detectable through ultrasound.
Is it necessary to take my pregnant dog to vet?
For ages, dogs have been giving birth without external aids, just like other animals. So, she will do fine even if you choose to not take her to the vet. However, a bit of assistance from an expert and science would help make the process the least stressful and confusing and far easier to handle. Particularly if you are looking to have healthy litter and mother, it will be a good idea to carry out some blood tests, X-ray examinations etc. to determine any potential diseases.
Ganga K Kurup
An experienced and professional writer, working to search, create and present most appropriate content and information to those in need. Quite in love with animals and every creation of nature and exceptionally happy to share whatever knowledge I have gained from my love and curiosity for the same. I believe in working towards making the world a better place to live- not just for the human, but also for all the other beings with whom we share this planet.