Who wouldn’t love to have puppies roaming around homes with their cute and clumsy feet? But before imagining such an adorable scenario, you will have to take care of the mother dog. Dogs are cute, charming things that look up to their owners all the time, especially when they are pregnant. And knowing the signs a dog is going into labor soon will give you a heads-up regarding the situation the mama dog is going to put you in. Besides, when bringing in a pet or taking care of it, individuals will come across many new responsibilities. All pet owners will have to provide for their pets’ basic medical care along with love and affection. And this becomes three-fold when our pet is pregnant and is about to deliver its babies. Here is all the information that you can get to care for your pregnant dog at home.
When Can My Dog Get Pregnant?
Female dogs get their heat, or estrus cycle, by the time they reach 6 months of age. Although, for some breeds, there might be a slight variation in this timeline. Moreover, the oestrus or estrous cycle is a 20-day cycle where if a female dog mates with a male one, she gets pregnant. This cycle is similar to the menstrual cycle that happens in higher primates. Furthermore, an estrous cycle happens in dogs, elephants, cats, cows, etc. Namely, such a cycle has 4 stages: proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus. During the estrus stage, if a mammal has undergone the act of copulation, there are higher chances of pregnancy. Moreover, many ask ‘can dogs sense pregnancy?’ Well, yes dogs can sense whether they are pregnant or not. Consider it their another gift from nature.
Should Your Dog Mate?
Before concluding a verdict, one should make a wise decision after consulting the vet and taking into consideration their canine’s health, breed, age, medical history, and prevailing medical conditions, if any. Additionally, be aware of procedures like neutering in male dogs and spaying in female dogs if you do not wish your pet to get pregnant.
How Can I Tell When My Dog is Getting Ready to Give Birth?
Most dog owners panic about knowing the whelping signs a dog is going into labor soon will show. But don’t worry, we have got you detailed info of all the signs a dog is going into labor soon will manifest. Canines don’t need our help, except for our love and affection, particularly during delivery. Just like any other animal, they can give birth and take care of their offspring without our intervention. Nature has given all animals this ability, and giving birth comes to them intuitively.
However, it is good to know about some things which will let you give space to your dog or any medical attention to your pet if it’s incapable on its own. Thus, it is essential to understand your pet, its symptoms of going into labor, at what stage it is in, the medical conditions that it requires, and its health in whelping.
Signs of Pregnancy in Dogs
Dogs are secretive about their copulation, and unless you intentionally mate your dog with another one, you might not know if it is carrying. So, these signs help you know whether your dog is pregnant and help you provide better care for it.
If you notice your otherwise active pet taking more nap times, this could be one great sign. Although, those canines which are not on the active side and like to lounge around, it might be a little difficult to notice this. Furthermore, if your loyal buddy is getting tired easily during those usual walks, it might just be a sign of good news.
#2 Loss of Appetite
As a pregnant dog experiences a lot of hormonal fluctuations, changes in appetite could also be one. On some days, our furry friends will enjoy their food; and on other days, they might dislike food that they once loved and might even puke. It is equivalent to morning sickness in humans. However, it might last for a week and might not be common in all breeds.
#3 Behavioral Issues
These loyal buddies would want to stay nearer to their owners and crave more love and affection. Sometimes they would like to stay away from any interaction, devoid of any communication.
#4 Changes in Nipples
Areolas in canines start to get rounder than their usual flatness. Additionally, their breasts look visibly dark red due to increased blood flow. As they reach the end of their term, there are chances that they might leak. And thus, it will be one of the early signs of labor in dogs.
#5 Fluctuation in Weight
Like aversion to food and mood swings associated, there could be visible changes in your pet’s weight too. So many canines will gain weight. And a protruding and enlarged abdomen is a telltale sign of pregnancy.
Dog’s Gestation Period and Litter Size
One cannot exactly predict the gestation period or the dog pregnancy length. Apart from that, this period can vary somewhere between 63 to 70 days; also, it also varies from breed to breed. It is said that mammals produce half the number of offspring as compared to the number of teats she has, but she might not be able to provide for all puppies. Female dogs generally have 10 teats but might have only 5 to 6 puppies in a litter.
What is Whelping?
When dogs give birth, that process is called whelping. Dogs deliver a litter within a span of 10 to 30 minutes between each puppy. A whelping box or room is prepared beforehand for your dog to deliver smoothly. Also, beware that most canines love to give birth in a corner that is quiet and serene.
Signs a Dog is Going into Labor Soon Would Exhibit
During the stage where your furry friend is going into labor, temperature changes will occur. So, ensure to check your pet’s temperature frequently. The usual temperature to expect will be somewhere around 101 to 103 degrees. And those degrees might drop down to 98 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit before 24 hours. Thus, this will be one of the perfect early signs of a dog going into labor soon for you to hang on. Now, every parent can observe certain stages which will be as follows:
After the temperature drops, there are relatively visible signs of panting, anxiousness, restlessness, panting, might also be detesting food, or vomiting. Nesting behavior is more prominent and visible before a day or two and becomes one of the greatest visual signs of dog labor. Furthermore, this is a prime instinct in canines to pick a warm sheltered place and camouflage it to give birth. During this time, place the whelping box. People might also notice that she is trying to nest in that box. So here you can know the answer to ‘how to tell when your dog’s in labor?’ question.
This dog in the labor stage starts with severe contractions and straining, which look similar to your dog trying to pass stool. Within 1 to 2 hours, it will deliver the first puppy; if not, it’s very crucial to seek medical attention immediately. After delivering, your pet might go into the resting phase, which might last up to 4 hours. Anything beyond is concerning and needs help. However, after each delivery, a canine might not go into the resting phase, and it will deliver puppies successively. Besides, those who are asking ‘how long between puppy delivery?’ vets say that this period can be around 1-2 hours.
After delivering pooches, a dog will discharge its placenta. It will take about 15 minutes if all of the pups are delivered. Your dog might go back and forth between stages 2 and 3, accompanied by contractions and the resting phase until the placentas are re-delivered. One major thing to keep a note of is the number of placentas, and the puppies that are born should be the same. If the placenta continues to be in your canine’s womb, it might get sick. Besides, for those wondering ‘how long are dogs in labor?’ we can say it will vary between 3-12 hours. And that period is subject to change from one breed to another.
During this stage, the dog licks clean all of her puppies and ingests the placenta and umbilical cord. Dogs and cats usually do this to remove the odor coming from newborns, which could invite predators. There are chances some puppies might be in the amniotic sac. Carefully tear and rub the puppy until it cries. Later, place the puppies near their mother for nursing. While the mother is busy delivering babies, help her by cutting the umbilical cord of the previous baby, the mother might chew on it if left for too long. The umbilical cord should be clipped near the pup, an inch away from where it was attached, clipped on the farthest end, and cut the cord using a clean pair of scissors. The licking part is also essential to remove any remains from the pup’s mouth; put a clean finger seldom to their mouth, clean any residue, and place them near their mother.
Extra Care is Needed During Pregnancy
#1 Good Food
Food rich in minerals and other essential nutrients is a mandate for mama dogs. Always go for premium dog food that is rich in fat, high fiber, and vitamins. Consult your dog’s vet and give additional consideration if the mother lacks some nutrients. Their appetite increases two-fold, and they are twice as likely to consume at double their normal rate. High blood sugar and obesity are also common during this phase, which results in withholding, restricting, or altering food and dietary habits. Consulting a vet during this phase could help in the growth of a fetus.
Light indoor exercises would be better for your pet. Avoid altogether any activity that might strain your pregnant dog, like playing fetch, over-stimulating games, or obedience training. Like in any other pregnancy, the mom should be calm and relaxed. However, to keep up her activity levels without draining out her energy, slow indoor walks and lots of affection are best suitable. This way, there will be a decrease in the chances of excessive fatigue and illness.
Only if you consult her veterinarian can we come to know what medication and vaccinations she needs during this time. Commonly prescribed medications include dog’s flea and worm vaccinations. Some of them are safe to be given, but some are not. So beware of them precisely.
Dogs can be secretive about their mating practices and might not catch your eye until there are any visible signs. If your pet does get pregnant, it becomes your sole responsibility to take care of its successful litter. Learning about various signs that a dog exhibits during its labor time can help people to take care of some measures. Besides, it is the least that could be done if they are not spayed. This decision is majorly dependent on your dog’s health and welfare and on their vet. Being aware of your pet’s physical condition helps to create a better environment for the mom-to-be preventing any mishaps during the dog pregnancy. Moreover, you can provide any medical help if your pet requires it at the earliest for its overall well-being.