Your dog is pregnant and you don’t have the slightest clue of how to handle it? Don’t panic: dogs are typically pregnant for about 9 weeks, so you probably have some time to get ready for this exciting journey.
First signs of pregnancy in a dog
First of all, you need to know your dog won’t be showing any sign of pregnancy until at least the 3rd week. If you are doubting whether your dog is expecting or not, there are signs you should pay special attention to. Be aware of:
- Any change in their appetite. Lack or increase of it can be a sign of pregnancy.
- Sudden weight gain: especially in their belly area.
- Morning sickness: yes, dogs get morning sickness as well.
- Change in their behavior: pregnant dogs usually have less energy and lie down for long periods.
- Nest behavior: your dog is getting ready for giving birth, so she will probably look for a quiet place to nest her puppies. She may also carry her blanket and some toys with her.
Remember the best way to diagnose a pregnancy is an abdominal ultrasound. It will only take a few minutes and it’s completely pain-free.
‘If you are having doubts about your dog’s pregnancy, pay special attention to his eating behavior, any change in her weight and her spirit.’
During the 9 weeks of pregnancy, your dog’s nutrition must be on top of your priority list. You need to ensure to make the most out of every bite she takes, because as a result of her pregnancy she may feel too nauseous or exhausted to eat, and their energy needs are super high.
Apart from carbohydrates, protein, and fat, remember to add extra calcium to her diet for puppies’ bone formation. Make sure you have all her needs covered through dog vitamin supplements. Remember she will need extra food and nutrients not only for growing her puppies but also for milk production and subsequent nursing.
Exercise is great for your dog’s health, yet too much exercise can be energy-consuming for a pregnant dog, especially during the last weeks. Take shorter walks with your dog and always consult with your vet.
Taking care of your dog’s nutrition is a MUST. Include all the nutrients needed to her diet and don’t forget to add calcium.
Even though you should ask advice from your vet to provide the best care, we’ll go through a brief review of the dog items you’ll definitely need.
A whelping box for your dog to feel comfortable when she is delivering (you can cover it up in newspapers to simplify its cleaning afterward), dry and clean towels to help clean the puppies, paper towels to come in handy, and a thermometer to check your dog’s temperature and make sure she is fine. Also, you can google beforehand a near pet store just in case you need some help.
The number of puppies your dog will produce depends mostly on their breed (their age, health, and nutrition are super important as well):
A whelping box and relevant items such as clean towels or a thermometer can be very helpful to help your dog whelp.
Small-size dogs tend to have litters of 3-5 puppies, as it’s the case with Pekingese, Chihuahuas, and Yorkshires, to name a few.
Medium-size dogs usually produce litters of 6-8 dogs, like Beagles, Australian shepherds, Border collies, etc.
Large-size dogs have around 8-10 puppies, like Great Danes, St. Bernard, and Bernese mountain dogs.
Having a pregnant dog can be a hard row to hoe: you will need to take care of your dog as you have never done before, making sure she is eating and resting properly, and you’ll have to prepare yourself to help her whelp. However, the reward couldn’t be more amazing: you will spend more quality time with your dog, you’ll be there for her throughout the entire process, you’ll witness the miracle of life, and after she delivers, you’ll multiply your existing love by a lot of puppies. It’s pure maths.