Canine Pregnancy: What Should You Know?
Having a dog is a great responsibility. And this responsibility becomes even more prevalent if your dog is pregnant. Just as a woman who discovers that she is pregnant does her best to take care of herself, and those around her treat her with great carefulness, so does a pregnant dog require attention. It will be helpful to compare a canine pregnancy with a human pregnancy in order to address the most salient aspects.
The following infographic will make the most salient aspects of what you need to know about a canine pregnancy more easy to understand and recall.
Dog Pregnancy Signs
You might not be aware that your dog is pregnant. Therefore if your dog is a female, you need to be aware of certain changes in her so as to ascertain whether she might be pregnant. Pregnant dogs show both behavioral as well as physical changes. You need to be aware of the possible dog pregnancy signs to watch out for.
The nipples will start to change shortly after the pregnancy commences. They tend to become pinkish and more swollen, and so your dog may experience a certain discomfort.
Morning sickness is not that problematic in canine pregnancies and generally affects dogs only for a few days usually around the third and fourth week.
In time her belly will naturally start to swell up. Weight gain is a visible dog pregnancy sign, but it will be monitored during prenatal check-ups to ensure that your dog gets overweight and has difficulty to put off weight once she gives birth.
Your dog will feel these changes, and as a result, it is common to have her demand more care and attention. She may also be quieter than she usually is. If you notice these changes and you suspect that your dog might be pregnant, it is important to schedule a visit to a veterinary clinic so as to make sure. As soon as you notice any of the dog mentioned above pregnancy signs, it is essential to go to a vet so as to start addressing the canine pregnancy symptoms adequately as soon as possible in the pregnancy.
Tests to Confirm Pregnancy
When you go to a vet, he/she will discuss the kind of canine pregnancy symptoms you noticed and then will carry out specific tests in order to confirm whether your dog is pregnant or not.
The most affordable and straightforward test is palpation whereby the vet will check your dog’s belly to see if there are any fetal movements. However this test alone cannot provide certain results, and it is best to have other tests which are more accurate.
This includes a blood test so as to check for Relaxin. This test is ideally carried out after 28 days from the date when breeding or mating took place as otherwise, it may give a positive result which may be false. Often if a negative result is given a second test is carried out after another week so as to make sure.
The most reliable test that you can carry out to verify whether your dog is pregnant is an ultrasound. During this test, the dog might have to be sedated though. If the dog has a lot of furs, you will probably have to clear the area on her tummy so as to make things easier for the vet.
Last but not least there is the x-ray. This is generally carried out to verify the number of puppies in your dog’s belly.
As soon as you get the confirmation that your dog is pregnant, you will need to be cautious on various aspects.
One of the first things a pregnant woman sees to is the proper intake of the right kinds of foods and avoiding certain foods and drinks which may be unhealthy. Thus if your dog is pregnant, you also need to pay attention to what you are feeding her as this may have an impact on her health, and the development of the puppies. A folic rich diet is important both for human pregnancy and for a canine pregnancy. Your vet will be able to prescribe suitable dog food. It is essential to avoid the misconception that your dog needs to eat twice or thrice as much. Your vet will probably advise on a higher intake, but you should not go overboard.
A pregnant dog still needs to be fit. This exercise is very important even though she will look and feel more tired than usual. However, you cannot have her sit or sleep all day long. The usual daily walks still need to be conducted, but they could be slightly shorter than usual so as not to tire her down too much. So small daily walks should be the general rule while she is pregnant.
Dogs prefer to give birth in a quiet place. The main idea behind a whelping box is precise to offer such an environment to your dog while she gives birth. A whelping box can be built quite easily, or you can buy, and it is best to have her get used to it while she is still pregnant.
When it is time to welcome the puppies make sure you remain calm as this will help the canine mum to be to be calm too! Make sure you wear gloves, and once the pups start to come out you will need to clean them properly. Having someone to help you out at this point is recommended especially if there are several puppies! Once all the pups come out and are cleaned leave them with their mummy so that they will snuggle up with her and get used to her and the surroundings.
While feeding her litter the mummy dog will need a lot of energy and nutrients, and this is when it is important to double or even, triple her diet. Obviously, you will need to be cautious about this so as to avoid getting her obese. Your vet should be consulted for the best guidelines in this regard according to your dog’s breed, weight and the number of puppies.
Taking Care of The Puppies
When the puppies are about three weeks old, they can be weaned off their mummy’s milk and be given formula milk instead. This may not always be possible as some puppies will still want to stick to their mum’s milk.
Your vet will also need to be consulted with regards to any tail docking and dewclaws clipping that the puppies may need to undergo.
In a Nutshell
It is important to be aware of canine pregnancy symptoms and any early dog pregnancy signs so as to take proper action immediately. Caring for your pregnant dog well can mean a great deal to her as she goes through this period, and it could ultimately save the puppies in her belly!