If you decide that you want to breed your dog, it is important to know the basics about dog pregnancy. Knowing the stages of pregnancy and the signs of delivery can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful litter. Please make sure that your dog is current on her vaccinations and for some breeds it is important to understand the importance behind hip dysplasia.
How can I tell if my dog is pregnant?
Other than having an enlarged mid section there are only a couple of signs to look for that might indicate that your dog may be pregnant.
Increase in appetite.
The regular gestation period for dogs is 62 days or 9 weeks. Dogs can have somewhere between 1 to 8 puppies in a litter. If you want to know if your dog is pregnant or possibly how many puppies she might have, you can contact our office and set an appointment for your dog to have an ultra sound.
How to care for my pregnant dog
Having our office perform a prenatal check up on your dog can help to set your mind at ease. Making sure, by using the ultra sound machine that your dog is pregnant and a general health exam is a good start. Keeping plenty of clean water at all times is important. Around the second month of pregnancy you will need to add a high quality puppy food to her diet. Keeping her on the puppy food even after the puppies are born is highly recommended. Getting a whelping box prepared for her offers your dog a safe and quite place for her to deliver. And if you should happen to notice signs of parasites such as fleas or ear mites or internal parasites like roundworms, please contact our office before administering any type of drug or supplement to your dog or her puppies.
Labor and Delivery
The following are just a few signs to watch for prior to your dog’s delivery.
Restlessness: Shivering: Loss of Appetite: Panting
Giving your dog privacy and keeping her surroundings quite is the best thing you can do for her. All dogs respond differently to labor, some will breeze through it, some will howl and some will try to run, please note that this kind of behavior is not unusual. Listed below are some signs you need to be aware of that are not normal for dogs during delivery.
If your dog’s pregnancy last longer than 72 days.
If more than 1 hour passes between puppies.
Your dog is in a great deal of pain.
If you notice one or more of these signs please contact our office immediately. If your dog happens to be in labor after hours please call our office at
505-869-2627 and follow the instructions to contact a doctor. It is very important that your dog is seen at this point.
Can dog’s have a false pregnancy?
Yes, dogs can have false pregnancies. It is actually fairly common in dogs. These dogs may even adopt a toy and or produce milk.
Caring for your new puppies
Your dog and her new puppies should be left alone for the first few days. Puppies will begin to open their eyes around 3 days and up to 2 weeks. Around four weeks of age you can begin to offer soft puppy food to them even though they are still nursing. At eight weeks of age the puppies are usually old enough to start adopting out to good homes. Remember starting at 6 weeks of age the puppies are old enough to start receiving their first puppy vaccines. Please visit our web page under topics of interest “canine vaccinations” for a full schedule for vaccinations. Also visit our page on Parvo. This is a very contagious virus and could be avoided with vaccinations.
If you have any further questions or would like to set an appointment for your soon to be or pregnant dog, please contact our office at 505-869-2627.