Pregnancy Care for Dogs
It’s always an exciting time when a dog is pregnant. Soon, your home will be populated by cute whippersnappers that bring nothing but joy to anyone. But while this is so, pregnancy also can be taxing and daunting as it is one of the most sensitive phases of a female dog’s life.
If you think your dog is carrying babies inside her tummy, there are certain measures you should follow to make sure that she remains healthy throughout the pregnancy until the most awaited time of birth. You can read below for more!
Signs that Your Dog is Pregnant
One of the most common signs that your bitch is pregnant is shown by her breasts. During the initial stages of pregnancy, female dogs will start to have enlarged breasts that sometimes ooze milk. You could also notice sudden ballooning of her abdomen and her gaining pounds even when under a strict diet.
Sudden changes in behavior such as lethargy, decreased appetite, and even aggression are other signs that your dog is pregnant. Pregnant dogs also like to make nests in preparation for their whelping. Look for places in your home made by your dog that looks like a den. If you discover one, there might be puppies in your dog’s oven.
Of course, even if your dog is showing some signs above, it doesn’t mean they are pregnant. Some of the changes and pain they’re experiencing could link to diseases or even false pregnancy. Now, if you don’t want to rely on pure deduction, go to your vet in case there are glaring pregnancy signs on your dog.
Take Her to the Vet
When you and your dog are visiting the veterinarian regularly, there is a definite probability of early confirmation that she is pregnant. If this happens, the care for your pregnant dog could start immediately which is good.
If you do not have consistent visits to the doctor and you suspect your dog is forming puppies in her womb then it’s time to drive to the clinic. If a dog’s pregnancy is detected as early as possible, you could prepare better and you and your veterinarian could dodge pregnancy complications much more easily.
Ensure She’s Getting the Right Nutrition
If your dog is already on a healthy diet then there is no need to change it. This only applies to the first few weeks, though. With the approval of your doctor, you could opt for bigger meals or an even larger diet. During the last few weeks, there should be an increase in their food intake as she would need double the calories that she’s having.
Your dog’s doctor would also recommend daily intake of prenatal vitamins and other supplements. Pregnancy could take a toll on a dog’s body so additional nutrition such as iron and folic acid is very much essential.
Exercises should also not be blotted out of a pregnant dog’s daily schedule. Along with food and supplements, taking your pregnant dog on walks would not only strengthen her but also the litter that she is carrying. Of course, any pregnant dog exercises that you are planning to do should be consulted with her vet.
Keep Your Distance
Dogs had been pregnant and had given birth long before humans started domesticating them so you should know that momma dogs could handle themselves. There will come a time during pregnancy that your dog will be aloof, and that’s fine. Give them space. Let them stay in their safe space. With this, you are not interrupting some natural development they need to ensure their babies are healthy and normal.
Still, you should keep your eyes on your pregnant dog. Go on with your daily routine, continue giving her food, vitamins, fresh water, and any other things that she might need at the moment.
Everyone at Home Should Work Together
Just like it is to humans, dog pregnancy can be severely sensitive so the support of everyone in the family is very much needed. When there are emergencies, a dog could be taken to the vet quickly if everyone is on the move.
Prepare for Delivery
A dog will be pregnant for up to 68 days or at least nine weeks. During this time, you should be planning for the long-awaited delivery. Start by determining the best spot for your dog’s whelping. There are available whelping boxes that should be secure to the bitch and guarantees convenient clean up afterwards.
Whelping, Labor & Delivering
An alternative to whelping boxes is a makeshift whelping spot made up of newspapers, cartons, rugs, and towels. If your momma dog had already chosen her whelping site then it’s best to not urge her to move as it could disturb her labor and could cause greater discomfort. One evident sign that your dog is close to giving birth is her building her nest and a rapid drop of her temperature.
At the time of labor, get towels ready and make sure that everything is sterile. By this moment, a pregnant dog would be huffing and distress would be apparent on her face and body.
When she is finally pushing the babies out, you could assist especially if she’s clearly struggling or if a puppy is stuck. With a clean towel, you could pull the puppy out gently. Other than that, let the momma dog do her own thing.
When all the puppies are seemingly delivered then it’s time to count them according to the results of her ultrasound. If some of the puppies don’t look like they are breathing, remove them from the nest as they could be suffocating. Wash out mucus that could be preventing them from breathing or pull the puppy’s tongue to provide better airflow. If that’s not effective, call your veterinarian immediately!
Common Things You See During Delivery
If it’s your first time to witness a dog’s birth, there are some unusual things that’ll happen. No worries, though, as most of this is only natural. Below are some of the events that you might likely to encounter:
- Green fluid discharge from a dog’s vagina after the first puppy
- The momma dog eating the puppies’ placenta (if she doesn’t, tear the placenta yourself to free the puppy)
- The momma dog cutting the umbilical cords (if she doesn’t, you need to do the deed with disinfected scissors)
- Stillborn pups
- Lots of blood
Pregnancy and eventual birth are beautiful despite some gnarly stuff. If you survive this process, you would be as proud as your bitch would be!
Pregnant dogs need extra care than usual. You or everyone at home should be hand-in-hand in guaranteeing a safe and healthy gestation period, even if that means keeping your distance and letting the dog go through her natural birthing practice.
Is your dog pregnant? We would love to hear stories about how she’s doing and what are your routines to keep her strong and healthy until the fateful day of labor! Let us hear it in the comments!
About the Author:
Brian Larsen is the Co-Founder and CEO of RejuvaPet, LLC — the creator of RestoraPet and RestoraPet Hemp. He spent nearly 10 years developing these products to rehabilitate and protect pets at the cellular level, for a vastly improved quality of life.