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Pregnancy

 

What to expect when she’s expecting

Welcoming new puppies into the world can be exciting for everyone, as long as you’re prepared for what’s going to happen.

Going into heat

  • Your dog can fall pregnant as soon as she has her first heat, which should be around eight months of age. If you don’t want puppies in your future, we suggest you spay her around this time.
  • Your dog will go into heat at about eight months and her fertile period will last about three weeks. During this time you’ll need to keep her on a leash if you go out for a walk and keep her away from any unneutered males.

 

Is there a pregnancy test for dogs?

Yes. Your vet can measure your dog’s hormone levels between day 21 and 25, or do an ultrasound from about day 20 to 22.

How long is the gestation period?

A dog pregnancy lasts between 61 and 65 days, but you may not notice the pregnancy until well into her term.

What should I expect?

Days 0 – 7
  • Keep up your usual feeding and exercise regime, but speak to your vet about adding a nutritional supplement.
  • Don’t use any flea treatments or dewormers without first speaking to your vet.
   
Days 7- 14
  • Keep up your usual feeding and exercise regime.
   
Days 14- 21
  • Keep up your usual exercise regime.
  • Watch out for an increase in appetite and consider increasing her meal size.
   
Days 21- 28
  • Your vet may be able to detect the presence of the developing puppies during a physical exam.
  • Your dog’s teats may begin to swell.
  • There may be a thin, clear discharge from the vagina.Limit rough play and particularly strenuous exercise.
  • Speak to your vet about adding a dietary supplement.
   
Days 28- 35
  • Your dog’s weight will begin to increase noticeably at this stage.Introduce a high-quality puppy food and feed small portions more often.
  • At this point you can have your vet perform an ultrasound.
   
Days 35- 42
  • Your dog’s pregnancy should be noticeable by now.
  • Her teats will become darker.
  • Increase your dog’s meal size and times to as much as she needs.
  • Increase the ratio of puppy food in her diet.
  • Prepare the crate, bed or box your dog will use to give birth – make it comfortable and well padded.
  • Place the crate in a quiet spot and encourage your dog to start sleeping there.
   
Days 42- 49
  • Your dog will start to shed fur on her belly.
   
Days 49- 57
  • Your puppies could make their appearance any time from now.
  • Avoid any rough and tumble play or stimulation that could lead to early labour.
  • Your dog will start ‘nesting’ at this stage.
  • Your dog should start producing colostrum, the forerunner to her nutrient-rich milk, and then the milk itself.
  • Make sure your dog eats as much as she needs. Click here
   
Days 57- 65
  • Your dog should become quiet and more introverted than normal.
  • Feed as much as she will eat, but be prepared for the fact that her appetite may drop off as labour comes closer
  • .Start taking her temperature several times a day.
  • Your vet can advise you on a canine thermometer and demonstrate how to do it.
   
Birth
  • Take note of the time of the first contraction.She may start to pant heavily, sweat and pace.
  • The whole process can take up to 10 hours, so don’t panic if it seems to last forever
  • .As contractions become more frequent, you should begin to see the water sac emerge, followed by a puppy and placenta.
  • If your dog wants to eat the placenta, let her do so.
  • Your dog will clean her puppy and chew off the umbilical cord.
  • Don’t be alarmed if the puppy comes out tail first.
  • Your dog may have a slight vaginal discharge that should be green or reddish brown and odourless.
  • This may last up to eight weeks after the birth.
   

When should I call my vet?

  • If your dog vomits persistently.
  • If she acts quieter than usual.
  • If her appetite drops.
  • If she hasn’t gone into labour by day 69.
  • If your dog excretes a greenish fluid prior to labour.
  • If you suspect that there may be more puppies inside, but no more have been born in over four hours.
  • If your dog has strong contractions for more than hour without producing a puppy.
  • If a puppy seems to be stuck in the birth canal.
  • If a placenta is not expelled after each puppy.
  • If your dog is showing signs of distress or unusual or extreme pain.

 

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