Care of Pregnant Dog
...Where do I start?
Start by spoiling her of course! Sniff out all you need to know about the care of pregnant dogs so you
can "spoil" her in the most helpful ways.
First and foremost, make an appointment with your vet to confirm that your dog is pregnant and to
have a health check up. Your pregnant dog is going to be counting on you now more than ever to make
sure she gets the best of prenatal care.
Once there is a litter on the way, you owe it to your pet to
learn all about the care of pregnant dogs.
Perhaps you've already confirmed that your
dog is pregnant and you want to find out how you can best help her have a successful pregnancy. If
this is the case, stay tuned and we'll try to help you out with some of the basics on the care of
On the other hand, you may be trying to decide whether it's a good idea to breed your dog and want to get
informed before deciding - that's great!
Even though you love the idea of witnessing
the miracle of nature and hearing the pitter-patter of tiny pooch paws, you also intelligently realize
that now is the time to consider your best friend first. So, it makes sense to get all the dog breeding
information you can lay your hands on to study up on the care of pregnant dogs.
Care Of Pregnant Dog - Pregnancy Cycle
It's about a 63-day journey for your pooch
to arrive at the eventual "birth" day. During these days of gestation you'll need to be there to take
care of your pregnant dog and keep a watchful eye on her.
Take some time to ask yourself if you
can faithfully commit to walk-the-walk with your dog on this journey to motherhood and beyond?
Things can go wrong during dog pregnancy and whelping so you'll want to be ready for anything. Arming
yourself with lots of sound information about the care of pregnant dogs will give you more confidence.
Get everyone in the family to participate in the discussion about whether to breed or not.
Remember those cute little puppies will need a lot of love and nuturing also.
you reach your final decision, check out all the important dog breeding information - especially
factors that determine if your dog is a good candidate for motherhood.
Check out and read some
worthwhile books covering canine reproduction and the care of pregnant dogs. Do yourself and your dog
a big favor and bone up on what's involved in breeding before you start.
But once you've decided to move ahead.... it goes without saying that, you don't want
to breed your dog until you are sure she is in very good health.
Care of Pregnant Dog and Nutrition
You probably already know that the state of a
dog's health is greatly influenced by the nutritional quality of the food she's been given over her
Premium quality food without additives and chemicals is the best bet in my
opinion. If your dog has been raised since puppyhood on a diet of high quality food then your pet is
no doubt ahead of the game "healthwise" which will likely make the care of your pregnant dog smoother.
Good health is vitally
important if you're planning to breed your dog as this will have
a strong influence on the success of a pregnancy.
During gestation and nursing, nutritional needs of the pregnant dog and the developing fetuses, is
priority. This is the time to make sure the diet is optimal, so don't cut corners on her
food quality now.
You'll want to make sure there is no deficiency of vitamins and minerals in the diet - such as calcium or zinc,
because if there is, the mother's body will get depleted by the primary needs of the growing pups.
Food servings will gradually need to be increased, especially with respect to protein, to make sure
your dog has sufficient reserves when the puppies arrive. You'll want
to be well informed on this subject prior to breeding. Check out Dr. Pitcairn's book for more excellent
information and recipes as discussed on the
premium dog food page. His book includes recipes suitable for use during the care of a pregnant dog.
If you don't want to do all the food prep yourself, you can purchase a top quality dog food base to
which you can add your own protein, online. For great information and to learn more about this nutritious,
unprocessed base, go to Sojourner Farms.
In addition to dietary needs, have your vet do a complete physical to evaluate
if your dog's health makes her fit enough for a successful breeding. Also to find out if your dog has
any inheritable conditions that could influence your decision to breed her. Another factor you'll
want to check out is whether your dog is likely to need a cesarean. Some breeding trends have resulted
in dogs with pelvises too small for normal birthing.
Exercise And The Pregnant Dog
A pregnant dog needs regular exercise to maintain fitness and keep the muscles in toned condition, but don't overdo
it. Keep her at about the same amount she has been used to except back off a bit during hot weather.
She'll need to keep up her strength, but you don't want to create any stress.
If she's a little
over weight, this is not a good time to deal with it according to most vets. On the other hand, weight
issues relating to the pregnancy
, are definitely a concern when caring for your pregnant dog,
so make sure the vet monitors this situation as well as her total progress.
In fact I can't stress
enough how important it is to have a trusted vet or knowledgeable breeder available to answer questions
that come up during your dog's pregnancy.
At the same time, become well informed yourself
on all matters which relate to caring for pregnant dogs including: Vaccinations, which are generally not
recommended during pregnancy - best to have them done before or after breeding. However, parasite
control and worms are
important issues at this time. Have a chat with your vet on these
and all matters that you need to know about.
Pregnant dog care - Nearing Due Date
Care of your pet during the
last three weeks before and after birth is a crucial time. Most authorities recommend that you
completely isolate your dog from other dogs during this period. The reason for this is to protect
her from any possible contact with the canine herpes virus which can be very dangerous to mother and
When the anticipated "birthday" arrives, start monitoring your
dog's temperature. When it falls below 100°, from the normal 100°-102°, this will be your clue that
labor is usually about to start so keep a close watch during the remainder of this day and into the
This would also be a good time to alert your vet just in case you need assistance during the
birth. And be sure to check out the DVD shown here to better prepare yourself.
Dog Care And Labor
If your pregnant dog does not go into labor around the expected
time frame, talk to the vet. Likewise, if labor doesn't begin within a day after the temperature falls,
call your vet. In fact, any concerns should be reported.
Although the mother will normally handle
the delivery and cleaning of the pups herself, make sure that she does clean off the membrane from each
puppy to prevent suffocation. Be ready to step in and help if necessary. Also, you will need to take
care of tying off and cutting the umbilical cords. Have your vet instruct you in these tasks prior to
the birth so that you are well prepared and confident.
If you are unsure of anything during
the delivery, you know the drill - call your vet! It's best not to take any chances with these precious lives.
The delivery is over and all is well - well not quite! Now comes the awesome responsibility of caring for those
tiny and fragile new lives.
You will need to monitor their feeding and elimination for signs of any problems. They are especially vulnerable
during the first two weeks of life and will need your undivided attention to keep them protected and healthy.
Being prepared will take the scariness our of this job so go ahead and read this excellent
reference - Puppy Intensive Care: A Breeder's Guide to Care of Newborn Puppies
and you'll coast along just like a pro!
During the weaning period, have fun with your puppies before you send them off to carefully selected loving families who will
treasure and nurture them into adulthood.
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