Dog Pregnancy and Birth

A dog pregnancy is medically defined as the time period between conception and birth or the time in which puppies are developing inside a female dog’s uterus. If your dog is pregnant, you may be excited but a little apprehensive as well. To ensure that your pet has a healthy litter, the following information can help.

Dog Pregnancy and Birth

Basic Information About Dog Pregnancy

Unlike humans who carry their unborn young for nine months, dogs only carry their young for 56 to 70 days. By about the 40th day of gestation, unborn puppies are nearly fully developed. However, they typically do not grow body hair until about the 56th day of gestation.The number of puppies that your dog may have highly depends on its breed and how many times it mated during its heat cycle. While the average litter for a small dog is one or two puppies, a medium-sized dog can have anywhere from six to eight. Furthermore, large breed dogs have been known to have 10 puppies or even more!

Proper Dog Prenatal Care 

The caloric requirements of a pregnant dog will begin to increase at about the 35th day of gestation. It is at this time that her unborn puppies have become more demanding and she will need twice as much food as normal. Most veterinarians recommend that you feed your pregnant dog puppy food throughout pregnancy and nursing.

As soon as you are sure that your pet is pregnant, it is essential that you take her to your vet for a checkup. Your vet will make sure that your dog is healthy and may perform various tests to verify the pregnancy. This may include an X-ray, ultrasound, radiograph, blood test or palpitation.

Preparing Your Dog for the Birth

Dogs are amazing creatures that typically do not need any assistance giving birth. Nevertheless, one or two weeks before your dog’s due date, it is essential for you to set aside a quiet, secluded spot for it to give birth. Additionally, be sure to place some newspapers or old blankets in this area so that your dog can make a “nest”.

When your dog is ready to have her puppies, she will become extremely restless and begin digging at the newspapers or blankets you have provided for her. This is known as “nesting behavior” and is perfectly normal. Labor can last anywhere from six to twelve hours before a pup is born.

Usually, the mother dog will know what she needs to do during birth and will eat away the embryonic sac, cut the umbilical cords and eat the placentas. This is all normal behavior as well. Allow your pet to try giving birth on her own keeping the area as quiet as possible.

When to Intervene

There are times when you may need to take your dog to a veterinarian during labor and birth. If your pet is in distress and cannot produce any puppies, take her to a vet immediately, as she may need a Cesarean. Additionally, if she does seem to know what to do after her puppies are born, perform the following steps before going to the vet. 

How to help your Dog give Birth

  • Gently pull away the embryonic sac from the puppy.
  • Tie the umbilical cord off with a piece of thread about one half to one inch from the puppy’s belly and cut it between the knot and the placenta using sterile scissors.
  • Using a clean washrag, place the puppy in the rag and vigorously but gently rub it until it begins to cry.
  • Put the puppy to a teat and encourage it to suckle.
  • After you are sure that all puppies have been born, take the mother and the pups to the vet for a checkup.

How long does a Dog stay Pregnant?

If your dog is pregnant and you are a bit nervous, you will want to know what to expect. Unlike humans who are pregnant for nine months, dogs only carry their young for anywhere from 56 to 70 days. During this time, make sure that you prepare for the impending arrivals using the valuable information described above.

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