Pregnancy can be an overwhelming experience for your furry friend.
Similar to humans, a pregnant dog goes through various changes including hormones, weight, appetite, and behavior. Usually, the initial signs of pregnant dogs are not visible until the first month. Hence, you will need to be extra cautious and observe your pet during this time to know its pregnancy.
Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs
Understanding the common signs of pregnancy in dogs can help you in knowing them better and taking good care of them.
During the initial days, your dog will begin to have vaginal discharge and swelling of the teats. You can also check pregnancy by having a look at the abdomen, which usually swells 20-50% in this time.
If you notice signs of pregnancy, contact your veterinarian immediately. The doctor can confirm pregnancy by running some tests, including ultrasound and endocrine tests. Once you are sure, start preparing and taking extra care of your furry friend as it will need more affection from you during this time.
The Behavior of Pregnant Dogs
As we mentioned before, the behavior of your dog will change during pregnancy because of changes in hormonal levels. The dog will become less active and more lethargic. They may not wish to eat certain foods or regular foods.
Beware if your dog loses its appetite or withdraws from food as this can be a sign of complication. Nevertheless, it is normal for a dog to experience morning sickness which can make changes in appetite.
Sometimes your dog might scratch at the floor or begin to hoard food or other items. This is again a normal trait in pregnancy. Also, the dog might get irritable to noise and strangers and need more attention from you.
Caring for Pregnant Dogs
Taking proper care of pregnant dogs is crucial for the health of the dog and her puppies. Make sure that you are feeding your dogs with premium adult dog food rich in protein, fat, and minerals. Usually, the eating needs of your dog will suddenly increase up to one and a half times the normal rate. Hence, make sure that you store some extra food.
Also, do not keep them away from food as they will need extra nutrition for healthy puppies. You can get in touch with your veterinarian in this regard for recommendations on foods for pregnant dogs. Sometimes the dog may eat more frequently in lesser amounts. All of this is normal and should be taken care of.
Now, sometimes you may find that your dog is extremely famished. This might occur during the last few weeks of pregnancy when the puppy is growing fast. The increased appetite may continue throughout the first week of nursing.
However, you can not let them eat whatever and whenever they want as you also need to take care of obesity and blood sugar levels. Nonetheless, this is not the time to put your dog under restrictions. So, the best you can do is contact your veterinarian to check if she has blood sugar problems.
Exercise for Pregnant Dogs
Exercise at this time should not be intense. Make sure to not add stress to the pregnancy by taking her to dog shows or committing to obedience training. Your dog needs calm and none-strenuous exercise during pregnancy. What you can do is take your dog on a short walk or light playtime. Do not overstimulate the dog in any way. However, don't even let her be lethargic.
In the last three weeks of pregnancy, the dog must be kept away from other dogs or animals. At this time, you can indulge them in indoor exercise and outdoor walks. This will prevent them from catching infections or other illnesses that can affect the health of dogs and puppies.
Furthermore, dogs are prone to developing herpes during pregnancy. Hence, indoor exercises will keep them away from such illnesses.
Treatments for Pregnant Dogs
In pregnancy, dogs need special treatments including vaccination as flea, worm, and parasites cannot be administered at home without consulting a veterinarian. There are few treatments for pregnant dogs, and avoiding medications as much as possible can protect unborn puppies.
External and internal parasites like roundworms and fleas do require specific treatments. It is important to consult the veterinarian, as you do not want to expose the puppies to these parasites at birth.
You can continue some treatments at home including heartworm prevention medicine as all medications for these are safe during pregnancy. A lot of roundworm and hookworm treatments should be ensured for newborn puppies.
Pregnancy in Dogs and Whelping
Usually, pregnancy in dogs lasts approximately 63 to 65 days. The birthing process of pregnant dogs is called whelping. It is important to have the pregnant dog examined by a veterinarian at least three weeks before whelping; this will ensure that both mom and puppies are healthy.
During the last few weeks of pregnancy in dogs, your dog might become very attached to the owner. Some pregnant dogs will not whelp until they are with their owner, so be cautious about going on vacations toward the end of the pregnancy. The pregnant dog will also be seeking a quiet and secure place to whelp her pups. A secluded area such as a large closet or bedroom that gets little use will work well for whelping.
Prepare for whelping by having a sturdy whelping box available for the puppies. This should be a low, wide box so that mom can look after her puppies. Layer the whelping box with newspaper to absorb the fluids released during the birth.
Taking care of pregnant dogs is similar to humans. You need to ensure everything from diet to exercise and medications. However, with the help of a veterinarian, you will be able to do things nicely.
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