Dog Pregnancy - Signs and CareAuthor: Wishbone
Being puppy is the cutest stage of a dog, it's so lovely to see how this little innocent angel moving around, learn to play, eat so well, run around and perform his agilities, and become little cute monster that messes things around. Then we will think about health, petsafe and future. There are still terrible canine over-population problems so it is better to be part of solution rather than to be part of the problem. Responsible owners who want to breed their dogs must pass all required registrations, accreditations, health screening, etc.
A female dog, correctly referred to as a bitch, can only become pregnant if she is bred during her heat cycle. The pregnancy generally lasts about two months or 56 to 69 days from the date of the first breeding, although this period may be slightly shorter or longer. Small breeds may deliver a week earlier while large breeds often deliver later. Over ninety-eight percent of all dogs deliver their puppies without assistance or complications.
For the first three weeks or so of pregnancy, you may not notice any changes in the bitch. Some females will become more demanding for attention, their nipples may enlarge slightly, and some may become hungrier. These are not a guarantee of a pregnancy, but are good signs. Bitches can show the same signs during 'false pregnancy,' a hormonal abnormality, which may occur after a bitch has been in heat. Decreased appetite is usually one of the earliest signs that your bitch might be pregnant. Not all females go through this doggie version of "morning sickness", but a small percentage will eat less during the first few weeks of gestation, usually making up for it later in the pregnancy. Further indication is a sudden decrease in activity, the nipple growth is noticeable, breast material will develop beneath the nipples, which will also increase slightly in preparation for eventual milk production. Behavioral changes such as increase in affectionate behavior or an expressed desire to be left alone. But beware, dont give any vitamin supplements in the first month of her pregnancy, the birth defects will be develop from too much vitamins A, D and calcium, all she need is high quality diet. No vaccinations should take place during pregnancy, they may harm the fetus. Vaccinations are prior to breeding. Always visit the vet to consult for her condition, from approximate 21-25 days, endocrinological tests detects pregnant dog hormone, relaxin. Puppies hearth beat can be detected after 25 days using ECG but its difficult to test their number. X-ray can pick up puppy skeleton from around 49 days and can determine the number of siblings, but X-Ray is not advisable to use because of radiation danger and damage.
In fourth week, the increase in appetite and gaining weight are changes of progress signs of pregnancy, the abdomen will thicken, and gentle examination of the belly will reveal a firm, rather than fat feeling to the area. The bitch should continue to have regular, but not strenuous, exercise to help her maintain her muscle tone and not become overweight. Exercise involves a daily run to make sure all her muscles, including her uterine muscles, are in top condition. She really needs enough sleep on her dog crate, at week 7, its advised to increase her meal about 25% and another 25 % on 8th week. Closer to the delivery date, your bitch will probably start to express her nesting instincts, scratching at the floor or in her bed, and displaying signs of increasing restlessness.
During the first stage of labor the cervix begins to dilate and uterine contractions begin. These contractions are painful and perplexing to the dog. She will appear quite uncomfortable and restless - pacing, shivering and panting. She probably will not eat and she may even vomit. Some dogs whine persistently. Others occupy themselves building a nest. Take her temperature rectally twice a day, the normal dog temperature is about 100.3F - 101.3F. It will normally drop to about 98 degrees Fahrenheit, 8 - 24 hours before the onset of labor and she will refuse to eat or drink anything.
During the second stage of labor uterine contractions begin in force. As this stage progresses the placental water sacks break and a straw-colored fluid is passed. Placentas are expelled after each puppy or sporadically during labor. Pups usually appear every half-hour or so after ten to thirty minutes of forceful straining. As the pups deliver, the mother will lick the puppy clean and bite off the umbilical cord. It is important to let the mother do this, if she will, because through this process she bonds with her puppies and learns to recognize them as her own. The rough licking of the mother stimulates the puppies to breathe and improves their circulation.
Canine Pregnancy GuideAuthor: Rebecca Prescott
In many ways canine pregnancy is not that different from human pregnancy, although it is somewhat shorter, averaging sixty-three days. A dog's diet, as well as their consumption of medicine needs to be monitored during pregnancy, just like a woman's should be, and you may notice changes in your dog's emotions and social behavior. She can even experience morning sickness!
Most dogs will gain 15-25% of their original body weight during pregnancy, although this does depend on the number of puppies they are carrying and some do not put on noticeable weight until the last week before whelping.
Nutritional intake needs to increase during canine pregnancy and lactation; your dog may even double the amount she eats. During lactation she will need a high protein puppy food, and you may want to gradually introduce this during the last two weeks of her pregnancy, or even earlier. If you are concerned about providing the right pregnancy diet to meet your particular dog's needs you should consult your veterinarian.
You should try to avoid nutritional supplements during canine pregnancy, even though these may seem like a good idea. Your dog will naturally produce everything her puppies need to thrive during lactation, and supplements may interfere with this process. This is particularly applicable to calcium supplements. If you use a good quality, high protein dog food, supplements will not be necessary.
A lot of canine medication is safe to use during pregnancy. If you give your dog regular preventative medication for heartworm you should continue this throughout pregnancy and lactation. Some medicines to get rid of other types of parasite, such as hookworms or roundworms, can be used but you should consult your veterinarian before administering these. It is important that your dog does get treatment for these conditions as otherwise she can pass them on to her unborn puppies.
Vaccinations should not be given during canine pregnancy. However, if possible, it is a great idea to have your dog vaccinated just before becoming pregnant as this will ensure she has a high level of antibodies to pass onto her puppies during lactation.
About halfway through her pregnancy you should take your dog to the veterinarian for a wellness check and to confirm the pregnancy. The veterinarian will be able to do this by examining the stomach, but a blood test can be done to provide a conclusive result.
You may want to have a radiograph done three weeks prior to the deliver to count the puppies. Knowing how many puppies to expect will help you to prepare for the delivery. Remember that your dog can become pregnant by more than one male during any one heat stage so you may be surprised at the number of puppies she is going to produce.
During the last three weeks of your dog's pregnancy you may want to isolate her completely from contact with other dogs. This will ensure she does not pick up the herpes virus. While this is usually harmless in adult dogs, it can trigger a miscarriage in your pregnant dog.
You may find she wants to stay close to you during this time anyway. She may dislike being left alone and will probably become more affectionate, if a little irritable. As the delivery date approaches she will start to look for a safe place to give birth, and you should give some thought to where this will be.
As with human pregnancy, it is important to remember that canine pregnancy is a natural process, and your dog has been blessed with the natural ability to carry it through. With a little extra attention to nutrition, and some protection from common diseases, this should be a stress free time for you and your dog.