Canine Pregnancy Calendar
For many dog lovers there is nothing as happy and exciting as having a litter of puppies. If you think you may be expecting a litter, here's some information to help you and your dam through the experience of being pregnant.
Canine Pregnancy Calendar - OvulationEverything really begins when your dog ovulates. Most bitches are ready to be bred within about two days from this time. If your bitch is bred then, you can expect puppies exactly 63 days post ovulation.
Even if your bitch is bred a little later, puppies will come 63 days after ovulation, not 63 days after breeding. If you are trying to plan this breeding, your vet can test your bitch's hormone levels to tell you when ovulation occurs.
NOTE: Make sure she is up-to-date on her vaccinations before breeding since her vaccine immunities will be passed along to her puppies.
Continue to feed her as normal. Make sure she is getting a steady amount of exercise, but don't overdo it. This should continue throughout the pregnancy.
Do not give your bitch any medications unless they have been approved by your vet. If she hasn't been wormed recently then you should worm her.
During Week 3 (around Day 21), the embryos will finally implant themselves in the uterine wall. This will cause a change in hormones for your bitch which may make her a little queasy for a day or two (morning sickness for dogs). She may not want to eat much during this time. This can be a good indication that your dog is pregnant.
You should limit your bitch from any strenuous activity, but do continue to see that she exercises. Good muscles will make whelping easier for her. It's also a good idea to add a multivitamin to your bitch's diet. However, do not add extra calcium as this could lead to eclampsia later the result of the bitch's calcium levels being out of whack.
You can start increasing the bitch's food at this time and begin changing her food to a good quality puppy kibble which will have more calories than her normal food.
Canine Birth Preparations
This should be a large square box or plastic swimming pool to allow your bitch to stretch out with the puppies. She can deliver the puppies in this box and later they can all sleep and nurse there for several weeks.
It's fine to build your own whelping box, or you can buy one. It's best to make one or buy one that has rails to protect the puppies from being squished.
If you have a friend who has whelped puppies before, consider having them on standby to come and help you. Have a whelping kit prepared with things you will need for the delivery.
You may be able to express milk from the bitch's nipples at this time.
Many people like to have an x-ray taken after day 56 to determine how many puppies are present. This way they will know when the dam is through with the delivery. They can also make sure there are no potential problems ahead with the delivery such as an overly large puppy that might need a C-section.
The Breeder's Guide
Your bitch is probably already nesting and trying to find a place to have the puppies. Encourage her to use the whelping box. By Day 57 you should start taking her temperature 3-5 times per day. Once the temperature drops from 101 to 99 degrees and goes up again, whelping is imminent. Its just a matter of waiting impatiently until the puppies come. Try to stay calm and be supportive of your bitch.
In most cases whelping goes just fine and there are no problems. Keep your vets number handy and be prepared to take your bitch and the puppies to your vet if there are any problems.
If your bitch is in active labor for more than two hours without producing a puppy you should call your veterinarian. Or, if you just have a hunch that something is wrong, get in the car with your dog and go.
Sometimes people just know when theres a problem. But dont forget that dogs have been delivering puppies for thousands of years and most of the time everything goes very smoothly, as nervous as you may feel.
Good luck with your new litter!
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